Uncovering Family's Intentions
Families don’t always realize all the great strategies they’re using to help their child develop.

The family and EI professional discuss the strategies from Interacting and Observing Naturally. Strategies are described in the way the family used them. For example, instead of discussing how the family shows their child what to do (i.e., modeling), the family and EI professional discuss the times when the family:

  • Pointed to a picture in the book and then waited
  • Scooped water in the bathtub with a bucket and said “now you do”
  • Picked up a piece of snack and put it in the child’s mouth and
  • Said, “ba-ba” when handing their child their bottle.

That way, the family’s strengths are clear, at the forefront of the conversation, and honored as they are naturally used.

Why uncover family's intentions?
  • To understand the developmental strategies used by and matter to the family, including their reasons for using each strategy and how effective they think the strategy is.
  • To uncover authentic, family-stated phrases that potentially reflect family priorities.
  • To learn how the family thinks about child development.
  • To recognize the family’s next developmental steps for their child without the professional specifically asking about concerns.

In this discussion, Kate and Stephen reflect on their experiences Uncovering Family’s Intentions. They identify the essential practices to this approach and the importance of seeing through the eyes of the family.


What are We Looking For?

We (family and professional) are focusing on the choices the family made when interacting with their child. By centering this conversation on the family’s strategies, the family and EI professional can uncover:

  • Why the family chose the strategy?
  • How the family figured out the strategy?
  • How effective the FAMILY thinks the strategy is?
Magnifying glass outline
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Why Uncover AFTER Interacting and Observing?

Families don’t always realize all the great strategies they’re using to help their child develop. Those strategies provide the jumping off point to uncover the family’s thinking. Without the families’ particular strategies, the conversation would focus on hypotheticals, such as “Do you (or How do you) show your child what to do (i.e., modeling)?” This can be problematic as…

  • This question may make a family think that they aren’t modeling as they should be, or aren’t modeling correctly, which can decrease family confidence and competence.
  • Using words like “modeling,” professionalizes the conversation rather than discussing a strategy in the way the family actually used it. It can also suggest that what families know and do isn’t good enough. They need professional language.

What MINDSET do families and professionals have to uncover family’s intentions?

  • The strategies a family uses reflects their underlying priorities for their child’s development.
  • Questions are asked from a place of wondering and curiosity to fully understand the family. Questions are NOT to judge or interpret from a professional lens.
  • The information gleaned from the family can create a more individualized plan that truly reflects the family.
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