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Interview - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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In addition to observation , another method of gathering information is interviewing …. Interview.

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In addition to observation, another method of gathering information is interviewing…...



During the intake process, information is collected about families’ concerns through interviewing. Additionally, this method of information gathering is used to ensure the validity of results obtained during the developmental screening and evaluation. For example, families may be asked if children’s behaviors displayed during testing are typical of their behaviors exhibited during routines and activities at home.



Before an interviewbegins, the interviewer should let families know that …

  • All information will be kept confidential and not shared with anyone without their verbal and written consent.
  • The information will be used to help the early intervention team develop and implement an intervention plan.
  • If they feel uncomfortable answering any questions or responding to comments by the interviewer, they do not have to reply.

The best interviewsare respectful and conversational, creating an open and honest communication environment in which families feel valued. Families of children with developmental challenges often experience a myriad of emotions. They might be frightened by the future, want answers to questions and be angry at anyone involved in their children’s care. Only in an open and honest communication environment can families trust an interviewer enough to share sensitive information about their children and families.

Let’s take a look at a few ways to communicate with family members that are most likely to be helpful, effective, and respectful.



To engage in an effective and respectful interview and gather information to make informed decisions……

  • Avoid , yes-no and single response questions.
  • Encourage thoughtfulness by allowing families the time to think about answers to questions.
  • Respect moments of silence.
  • Instead of asking “wh” questions, ask families to tell or describe a routine or activity (e.g., “Tell me about how he wakes up in the morning.”).
  • Ask one question at a time.
  • Respect families’ decisions and cultural beliefs .
  • Actively LISTEN to families.

LISTENING to families is critical. Families of children with disabilities have often told their story to many people. It is important to follow families’ leads in relation to how and when they want to tell their story. Please avoid asking unnecessary questions that will not be useful for planning or implementing early intervention.

As you interview,LISTEN to families and pay attention to how they listen to you. Active listening is an important part of the early intervention process, especially during the initial interactions with families. These first contacts provide opportunities for you to LISTEN to families’ concerns and priorities, and begin to develop an understanding of what is important to them.

There are many different ways to listen to families, including observing and reading body language and facial expressions. This non-verbal communication can provide valuable information about families’ comfort in sharing information with you. Additionally, you can assess their comprehension of the information you are sharing with them (i.e., what they may or may not be understanding).


Remember…Active Listening means:

  • Being attentive
  • Reflecting what has been said “you mentioned that…”
  • Asking for clarification “Tell me more about….”
  • Summarizing with statements like “I think what I heard you saying was…”
  • Remembering open body language (uncrossed arms)

Avoid Barriers to Active Listening


stops families from sharing important information


makes families feel defensive


avoid making comparisons between children

Mind Reading

do not interrupt families and complete their ideas as if you know what they are thinking

Changing Topic

follow the families’ lead, do not change topics of conversation


do not promise that things will be better or tell families “not to worry”


avoid blaming and beginning any sentence with “You need….”


do not assume that you know more about the child than the family


do not discount anything families say or tell them their concerns are not important


give families time to share their ideas, feelings and concerns


Every interaction you have with FAMILIES either helps to build abridge of understanding or a barrier to a trusting and respectful relationship. Early intervention is based on family-centered principles; you must respect all cultural beliefs. It is your responsibility, as an early intervention professional, to be sensitive to cultural differences and their impact on child rearing practices, family structure and child development.

Click here to read about

working with families from diverse



Interviewing can also be used to link assessment information to intervention planning. After being deemed eligible to receive early intervention services and supports in Louisiana, a more comprehensive interview,the Family Assessment of Concerns, Priorities and Resources (CPR), is conducted with families to gain more information about the families’ daily routines and activities. This information is utilized to determine what routines and activities are “working” for families and which ones they would like to change, resulting in the development of an intervention plan. Go to the website and click on the information for providers and go to chapter 5 of the practice manual to learn more about the CPR.


Learning about families’ concerns, priorities, and resources

is a critical aspect of the EarlySteps assessment

process. The interviewer, typically the Intake Coordinator,

talks with family members and other caregivers to learn


Children’s development

Families’ activities

Families’ routines

Families resources.

You can use the information from the ASQ to assist in

completing the CPR.

Please note that the focus for children's development in the

CPR collects information from child and family routines.

Family Assessment of Concerns, Priorities & Resources (CPR):


The next two sections of the CPR are designed to gather information about how children function in everyday activities and routines.

In early intervention, the term “routines” refers to what children and families do on a daily basis (e.g., eating, waking up, getting ready for child care, dressing, play, winding down when they get home from work, going grocery shopping, bathing, dressing, and getting ready for bed).

Routines and activities may be similar or differ dramatically across families. With the CPR, families discuss how children participate in daily routines and activities and if they are not satisfied with these routines and activities, they talk about how they would LIKE them to be….


For example, families may discuss the difficulties they experience participating in community activities, like attending church on a regular basis because their children become too upset in the nursery. Additionally, families may request assistance with mealtimes, because their children have feeding difficulties and it takes a long time to eat.

Some questions about family resources on the CPR may seem intrusive to families; however, it is up to the families to decide if they are comfortable with answering these questions or not. Answers to these questions may help the early intervention team better understand the challenges faced by families, identify their existing resources and what resources are needed to best support their children. Information obtained during the CPR interview is used to develop and prioritize outcomes for children and families and intervention planning.

routines based interview rbi
Routines Based Interview (RBI)

EarlySteps has modified the Routines Based Interview (RBI) to obtain information for the CPR. Robin McWilliam, PhD, developed the Routines Based Interview (RBI) to gather meaningful information from families about children’s development, families’ activities and routines, and children’s participation and interaction during these activities and routines for intervention planning. Click on the link below to read a document about the “power” of the RBI written by Dr. McWilliam.

Please review the VEE diagram on the next slide, which displays the why, what and how of interviewing families to gather information and make informed decisions…..


Interviewing Families



  • Why am I interviewing?
  • Health history form
    • To collect unknown facts about child’s heath/medical history
  • Comprehensive Development Assessment forms:
  • To collect unknown facts about
  • child’s developmental history
  • Family Assessment of Concerns Priorities Resources Form
    • To collect information about how child and family during daily routines and priorities for intervention planning
  • Howwell am I interviewing?
  • Are my questions
  • Necessary and Relevant?
  • Sensitive?
  • Acceptable to family?
  • Open Ended?
  • Conversational?

Whatare the known and unknown facts about child & family?