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Caring for the Little Ones - What do You do when a Parent is in Denial About a Child's Special Needs?

by Karen Miller
March/April 1998
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Article Link: https://www.childcareexchange.com/article/caring-for-the-little-ones-what-do-you-do-when-a-parent-is-in-denial-about-a-childs-special-needs/5012076/

Helen Young, child development center director of the Clayton/Mile High Early Head Start in Denver, emphasizes developing a sense of partnership and collaboration with parents. "We validate the parents' feelings. We make them an active part of the team, rather than presenting ourselves as the experts." Helen and her staff use a simple screening tool, The Ages and Stages Questionnaire by Diane Bricker, Jane Squires, and Linda Mounts (Hall & Brookes Publishing Company). Parents are active participants in the implementation of this tool so they are right there getting information first hand. They have a number of local agencies to refer parents to, and lots of helpful resources on hand to share with parents. Even with all this support, Helen reports, parents are sometimes reluctant to see the red flags that point to a special need. So they keep coaching and giving information, respectfully gaining the parents' trust.

"Please prove me wrong," is a phrase Amy Weaver, owner of Daily Discoveries Infant and Child Care Center in Gambrills, Maryland, uses. Amy is herself the parent of a special needs child, and recalls how she devoted her life to proving the professionals wrong, so she is able to empathize fully with the denial ...

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