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Child Care Health Dev. 2002 Jan;28(1):65-71.

Communicating a diagnosis of developmental disability to parents: multiprofessional negotiation frameworks.

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Department of Psychology, University of Malta, Msida, Malta.


It is a hard task for professionals to give and parents to receive the bad news about a child's developmental disability. This study describes how findings about four preschool children, with difficulties suspected to lie within the autistic spectrum, were negotiated with parents by two multiprofessional groups, one in a Medical (Site M) and one in an Education setting (Site E). Each assessment was undertaken over half a day, the professionals jointly interacting with the child and family. All assessment discussions were audiotaped and each participant was interviewed after the assessment. Conversation analysis showed the activation of three major social-interaction frameworks: professionals at both sites applied a parent-friendly frame, but this was complemented by a hopeful-diagnostic-formulation frame at Site M, and a defocusing-of-bad-news frame at Site E.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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