Gathering Parent Information – Interviews vs. Questionnaires

 What’s the best way to get information from parents about their child’s speech/language developmental history?  Is it better to conduct an interview or give them a questionnaire to fill out?

I’ve found that the most reliable way to get information from parents is through an interview; either in person or over the phone.  Parents often have difficulty understanding the questions on a questionnaire without examples or explanations.  Their answers may be partially complete or difficult to interpret.  In some cases, the literacy level of the parents can also make it difficult for them to complete the forms we send home.  In my experience, it is helpful to send home the paperwork, and then call the parents to see if they need clarification or assistance in answering the questions.  That way we are sure that they understand what information we are looking for and their responses are as complete and clear as possible.  It also helps ensure that we get the questionnaires back and gives us another opportunity to make personal contact with the families of the children that we serve.

Written by: Scott Prath

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