Whether you realize it or not, you are making choices throughout the day that help your child develop. The way you interact with your child, your child’s objects, and the way your house is laid out all help. You may or may not have done some things on purpose, or thought about them as strategies, but they do help your child develop.

You can interact and observe in two ways.

The first way is to “Do It Yourself,” or DIY, by interacting and “observing” on your own.

Or, you can join forces with your EI professional, where you interact and your EI professional observes.

DIY: Interacting and Observing Naturally

You interact with your child all the time. Although, you may not realize all the strategies you’re actually using. That’s where the observation comes in. While it might seem odd to think you are “observing” yourself, you can “see” what strategies you are using by thinking about what you did. You can do this while you’re in the moment or some time afterwards when you have time to think about it. When you’re thinking about what you did…

Ask yourself about the ways you interacted with your child:

  • How did I know what my child needed? What did I do?
  • How did I respond to what my child “said” or did?
  • How did I make or keep things interesting for my child?
  • How did I help my child pay attention?
  • How did my interactions match what my child can do?

Ask yourself about your child’s objects and the way your house is laid out:

  • What toys, utensils, or other objects did my child use? Which ones did I use?
  • What helped my child see, use their hands, and/or interact with me or others?
  • What helped my child move around?
  • How did I physically help my child?
  • How did I make things easier or harder for my child?
- Identify when to keep going and when your child has had enough. Identify and respond to your child’s emotions. - Repeat or add to what your child is doing or saying. Show new or different ways. - Encourage trying then help when needed.

Remember your interactions and objects don’t need to be anything special. It’s simply what you already do, already have in your home, and how your home is already laid out that you’re thinking about!

Joining Your EI Professional:
Interacting and Observing Naturally

Getting Ready to Interact While Your EI Professional Observes:

Before you schedule a time with your EI professional, ask yourself…

  • When do you want the EI professional to come/observe? Some families said they wanted professionals to see a variety of times of day and days of the week to get a true picture of family life. To do this, you can:
    • Schedule for a time when a couple of different kinds of interactions are happening in your day (e.g., casual, focused, one adult, multiple adults, siblings, no siblings).
    • Ask your professional to come at different times.
    • Video record different times. Make sure the video recording doesn’t get in the way of interacting with your child as you usually do.
  • How can this time be as natural as possible? Try not to change anything about how your interactions usually occur. If other children, family members, or friends are usually there, then they should still be there when your EI professional comes. Whatever objects you usually use should be used.

Interacting While Your EI Professional Observes: When Your EI professional comes, please remember…

  • Your EI professional will be a “fly on the wall.” They won’t be participating and will try to stay out of your interactions with your family.
  • Do not worry about explaining what’s occurring or why it’s occurring. That can be discussed later.
  • You do not need to continually interact with your child. The professional knows that’s not how everyday life usually happens. If you want to go do something else for a minute, like answer the phone or the door, or get yourself a drink, that’s fine. You do whatever it is you usually do, how you usually do it. Your professional will see plenty of strategies.