General Principles Of The Developmental Approach

Although there are many specific aspects of the developmental approach, a few general principles are applicable to all age groups of children and their families. Communicate with the Child

Children are best approached in a positive and gentle manner, with an awareness that the first impression sets the tone for the encounter. Review the emergency record for patient name and age so that an introduction and a developmentally structured interaction may be planned. An awareness of the child's age-related communication skills and perspective will result in a more meaningful evaluation. Whenever possible, look at the child from his or her own eye level. Use the child's motor skills, vocabulary, and specific life experiences as reference points. Hunger, discomfort, fear of separation or pain, and feelings of loss of control should be directly addressed. Recognize that the emergency department is a strange and threatening environment and, whenever possible, isolate the child from the sights and sounds of other patient care experiences that may heighten their own anxiety. Most importantly, be honest with children regarding expectations for their experience so that trust can be established.

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