What are the strengths of these children and families?


It is always important to explore the strengths of a child with any disability or developmental delay.

  • By asking a family about what a child is good at, and what their positive traits are, one is able to frame recommendations for intervention and treatment in the context of these strengths.
  • Asking about what a child likes can be used when discussing next steps.
  • Finally, in addition to exploring the strengths of the child, it is helpful to think about the strengths of the family and how these can be used when discussing options and next steps for treatment.

It is always helpful for clinicians to take the time to note and explain changes and improvements in functioning and positive features of the child to parents.

Matthew’s Strengths
A boy playing with blocks

Some of Matthew’s strengths include:

  • He attained his motor milestones appropriately
  • He enjoys interactive games
  • His parents describe him as a quiet and sweet boy
A happy little girl
Claudia’s Strengths

Some of Claudia’s strengths include:

  • She takes some interest in other children
  • She responds to her name at times
  • Her parents have demonstrated appropriate concern for Claudia and have asked relevant questions

How might you have approached this differently if these families had a different cultural background?

It is important for clinicians to understand how different child-rearing practices and cultural norms may influence key decisions parents make regarding their child obtaining evaluations and treatment, future planning, and acceptance of the child’s diagnosis. Clinicians can approach parents openly and honestly by asking them about their unique style of parenting and how the information or recommendations provided are received.
In reflecting on this case, consider:
  • What cultural beliefs or practices should be considered when gathering or sharing information?
  • How would you open a discussion about respecting family culture?
  • How might additional information about the family change your approach?
  • In what ways might your approach change when working with families that have limited English proficiency?

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