Approaching Parents with Concerns
After conducting assessments in your classroom, your data may present red flags for a particular child. As an educator, you should only be taking objective and unbiased data when you are observing children. Part of keeping bias in check, is remembering that it is never the educator’s role to make assumptions or a diagnosis. This should only be left to medical professionals.
When concerns are raised based on data, this is a great opportunity to check-in with your director about what the next steps should be. Your director may choose to have you discuss it with the parents alone or ask to be included in this discussion. Either way, the meeting should be held in private as this is confidential information.
Breaching confidentiality can have many negative consequences including:
- Negative stigmas against the child
- Adverse effects for the child’s development and access to treatment from stress or stigma
- Loss of trust from the family or other families at the center
- Conflicts between families or the business and the families
- Negative effects on the family’s reputation
- Negative effects on the business’s reputation and income or even legal actions being taken
This may be something that parents have a difficult time hearing or perhaps they will not be surprised due to their own observations at home. Regardless, you will want to present the information in an objective and thoughtful manner. It is not necessary or professional to discuss any potential diagnosis but instead to simply state your findings and recommend developmental screening.
This can also be an extremely nerve-wracking experience for you as an educator. The better prepared you are going into the meeting, the less nervous you will feel presenting your observations.
Each state may have different requirements surrounding what you have to inform the parents of. It may be that your state requires you to provide the information to the parents and obtain their signature stating that they were informed. It is best practice to check with your local licensor or director to understand the steps involved in this process.