Medicine & Dentistry-Pediatrics
University of Alberta
Summary of research:
1. This project involved the development and evaluation of an opportunity for medical students to learn interpersonal skills for interacting with children with developmental concerns and with those children’s family members. Students have identified, both in the literature and in our own focus groups, that they feel uncomfortable in interacting with this population and want better skills so they can be more sensitive to the child’s and family’s needs. The DSDD curriculum has been developed and evaluated with improvement in students’ confidence that they can talk both candidly and sensitively with parents about children’s developmental disabilities and have some comprehension of the challenges involved in accessing health and developmental supports. We are currently entering our fifth year of this elective course and working on identifying key experiences that affect student beliefs and behaviours as we have had to change the clinical setting in which the elective occurs. This work will help with generalisation of the learning, potentially to many other areas of disability. 2. We are updating our evidence based developmental milestone framework to include new and important normed milestones in speech-language, cognition and social-emotional development. We are also working on equivalent effective tools for older age groups as these are currently not available: one for school age children and one for the three stages of adolescence.