Post-Disclosure of a Child’s Developmental Diagnosis

Where Do We Go from Here?


  • Tammy Pearson University of Northern British Columbia


Applied interventions, Evaluation Report, Post Disclosure, Qualitative Methods, Recommendations


Concern for the well-being of their child typically motivates a parent to obtain a developmental diagnostic assessment. During a family meeting, the parent receives a final assessment report, including practical recommendations supporting the family and the child’s developmental trajectory. Factors that influence how parents apply the recommendations have not been well identified. This study used a qualitative method which supports the researcher’s social work discipline as an effective theoretical framework. Relevant social work theories and social constructionism rooted in a subjective epistemology framed the research design – Interpretive Description. This structure provided an examination of multiple factors that influence how parents implement recommendations. Rather than pursuing a singular truth, such as one “right way” to do something, social work seeks to uncover truth claims and draw upon multiple ways of knowing to determine the best way to intervene within a particular context. A total of 17 parents participated in the study regarding their experience implementing recommendations developed by one of the multidisciplinary teams in northern British Columbia. Parents’ accounts identified protective factors that support the application of the clinical recommendations and risk factors that limit the parents’ ability to implement the practical interventions. Having the coordinator contact the parents after the family meeting, connecting the parents to a key worker, and sending the report prior to the scheduled family meeting were identified as protective factors. Conversely, no follow-up from a professional, the absence of a key worker, and receiving the report at the family meeting were noted as risk factors. The overarching theme was “Where do we go from here?” The sub-themes were post-disclosure, the final evaluation report, and recommendations.


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