Strengthening Families of Children with Developmental Concerns: Parent Perceptions of Developmental Screening and Services in Head Start
Source:Ethn Dis. 21(3 0 1):S1-89-93.
Community-Based Participatory Research
Early Childhood Development
Early Intervention (Education)
Head Start Program
Pubmed Central ID:PMC3715307
Funding:1P30MH082760/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
P30 MH082760/MH/NIMH NIH HHS/United States
U48DP001934/DP/NCCDPHP CDC HHS/United States
The authors investigated perceptions of parents with children in the Head Start program about the processes of detection and intervention for developmental concerns.
Descriptive, qualitative study.
A large, urban Head Start agency, operating 14 centers and annually serving more than 1200 predominantly Latino children. During 2008–2009, a collaborative partnership with academicians from UCLA was created to evaluate their model of developmental screening and referrals.
Participants and Procedures
We conducted 5 focus groups with a total of 30 parents of Head Start children with developmental concerns. Parents were asked about where they go for information when they have concerns, how they perceived the developmental screening process and services, and how children and families have changed after being in the Head Start program. Focus groups were recorded, transcribed and translated into English, then coded in ATLAS. ti using the domains above and sorted into themes for analysis.
Parents perceived the screening process as both diagnostically and therapeutically important, with multiple benefits ranging from closer parent-teacher relationships to improved parenting and understanding of developmental interventions. Families focused their discussion on the importance of social-emotional and behavioral development, with school readiness and improved expressive language as important but secondary outcomes.
For families of children with developmental and behavioral risks or concerns, a structured developmental screening process in a preschool setting, such as that provided by Head Start, may serve as a vital gateway for identifying and addressing concerns and promoting social-emotional learning, parent engagement, language development and school readiness.
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