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Interviewing Children with Disabilities


Child Maltreatment 2007, data from the National Child Abuse and Neglect ... Fifty-five percent of the children experiencing maltreatment were under the age of 7 ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Interviewing Children with Disabilities

Interviewing Children with Disabilities
  • Kelly Bober,
  • ChildSafe Center
  • Winchester Frederick County Child Advocacy Center

Child Abuse How big is the problem?
  • Approximately 794,000 children in the US found
    to be victims of child abuse or neglect in 2007.
  • 59 percent suffered neglect
  • 10.8 percent were physically abused
  • 7.6 percent were sexually abused
  • 4.2 percent were emotionally or psychologically
  • Less than 1 percent were medically neglected
  • 13.1 percent of victims experienced "other"
    types of maltreatment
  • (i.e. abandonment, threats of harm to the child,
    congenital drug addiction)

Child Maltreatment 2007, data from the National
Child Abuse and Neglect Data System
How are we doing in Virginia?
  • In 2007, there were 46,511 children reported as
    possible victims of abuse and neglect.
  • 6,487 of these were founded reports
  • Fifty-five percent of the children experiencing
    maltreatment were under the age of 7
  • 76 were under the age of 12.
  • The average Virginia rate was 3.3 per 1,000

2007 Virginia Rates of Substantiated Child Abuse
Information from Measuring Child
Historical treatment for disabled
  • Ancient Greece
  • Left for vultures
  • Thrown off cliffs
  • Left in the woods
  • Roman Empire
  • Drowned
  • Stoned
  • Killed in coliseum
  • Ancient Aztec
  • Put in zoo
  • Used as sacrifices
  • Renaissance Period
  • Disabled because mother had sex with the devil
  • Shunned and avoided
  • Except blind, epileptic, auditory hallucinations

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Historical Treatment
  • Colonial US
  • Bleeding
  • Ice baths
  • Shocking brain
  • 1900s
  • Hidden
  • Left to die/abandoned
  • Circus
  • Asylums
  • Possessed by devil
  • Parents were witches

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How far have we come??
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U.S. Statistics
51.2 millionNumber of people who have some level
of disability. They represent 18 percent of the
population. Of all people with disabilities,
32.5 million, or 12 percent of the total
population, had a severe disability. 11Percenta
ge of children 6 to 14 who have a disability,
about 4 million children. 72 Percentage of
people 80 and older with disabilities, the
highest of any age group. 20Percentage of
females with a disability, compared with 17
percent of males. On the other hand, among
children younger than 15, boys were more likely
than girls to have a disability (11 percent
versus 6 percent).
More statistics
1.8 million Number of people 15 and older who
report being unable to see. 1 millionNumber of
people 15 and older who report being unable to
hear. 2.6 millionNumber of people 15 and older
who have some difficulty having their speech
understood by others. Of this number, 610,000
were unable to have their speech understood at
all. 14.3 millionNumber of people with
limitations in cognitive functioning, or a mental
or emotional illness that interferes with their
daily activities. This includes those with
Alzheimers disease and mental retardation. This
group comprises 6 percent of the population 15
and older.
Rates of victimization for people with
  • Over 90 people with developmental disabilities
    will be abused sexually at some point in their
  • People with disabilities are victims of a violent
    crime 1.5 times more often than people without
  • There was no significant difference in the rate
    of reporting crime to the police between disabled
    (43 reported) and non-disabled victims (47

More rates of victimization
  • There was a difference in the rate of police
    response in cases involving disabled victims
    (74) versus the rate of response in cases
    involving non-disabled victims (84)
  • People with cognitive disabilities were more
    likely to be victimized than those with other
    types of disabilities.
  • 1/5 of those who were victimized felt that it was
    because of their disability.

Rates of abuse in disabled children
  • Of all children who have been physically abused,
    about 17 have a disability
  • Of all children sexually abused, about 15 have
    disabilities (Crosse-A report of maltreatment of
    children with disabilities, US dept of Health)
  • A child with disabilities is 2x more likely to be
    sexually abused and more than 2x more likely to
    be physically abused. (Tyska, 1998)

The perpetrators
  • Family Members
  • Friends and Family Friends
  • Staff or faculty
  • Personal care providers
  • Transportation providers

Why the increased risk?
  • Communication problems make disclosure difficult
  • Dont know that they can report or how to report
  • People in authority are often the abusers
  • Taught to be compliant
  • Unable to protect themselves due to impaired
    ability to escape, avoid or defend themselves
  • Isolated (often abuser is central figure)
  • Doesnt recognize that behavior is abusive
  • Lack of education on personal safety, sexuality
    and abusive behaviors

14 Categories of Disabilities(federal
guidelines used to determine special education
services identified by the National Dissemination
Center for Children with Disabilities)
  • Autism
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Deafness
  • Developmental Delay
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Mental Retardation (50-55 to 70 mild, 35-45 to
    50-55 moderate, 20-25 to 35-45 severe, below
    20-25 profound)

14 Categories of Disabilitiescontinued
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Other health impairments
  • Specific learning disability
  • Speech or language impairment
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment including blindness

Preparing for the interviewDo your homework
  • Educate yourself about the disability
  • Review Medical Records
  • Review school records, IEPs, Psychological
  • Consult with educational specialist, speech
    therapist, occupational therapist, psychologist,
    therapist, medical professionals
  • Take a thorough history from Non-offending

Things to ask family and professionals
  • Does disability impact
  • How child communicates (verbal, sign,
    communication boards, Braille
  • Memory
  • Receptive or expressive language
  • Physical abilities
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Processing
  • Attention span

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More things to ask
  • Is child taking medication, have they been given
  • Does child require helping devices (glasses,
    hearing aids, communication boards), are they
    accessible for the interview?
  • How does child do with changes in schedule, new
    people, new environments?
  • How does the child react to stress?

Preparing for the interviewConsider the setting
  • Will your space accommodate physical needs
  • Reduce distractions
  • Provide privacy and safety
  • Consider lighting and sound quality
  • Allow for appropriate materials (children with
    cognitive disabilities may do better with
    demonstrations than with narratives)
  • Paper, crayons, markers, anatomical diagrams,

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Some thoughts about positioning and demeanor
  • Eye level
  • Touch
  • Eye contact
  • Personal body space
  • Tone of voice
  • Pacing of interview
  • Simple language, not baby talk

Special Tips for using an Interpreter
  • Meet with your interpreter beforehand
  • Dont use family members or school personnel
  • Use only court certified interpreter
  • Does child use ASL, Finger spelling, Signed
    English, informal gestures
  • Instruction for interpreter
  • Placement of interpreter in room

Rapport and Developmental Assessment
  • Use Rapport as a tool to
  • Make child feel comfortable
  • Introduce yourself and familiarize child to the
  • Establish ground rules for the interview
  • Model for child the type of questions to be asked
    and encourage the child to use narrative skills
  • Assess childs narrative abilities

Cognitive Competence in Children Adapted from
Walker-Perry, Saywitz
  • Assess childs understanding of difficult key
  • Relationships
  • Numbers
  • Prepositions
  • Pronouns
  • Quantifying
  • Measurement
  • Representational shifts
  • Source monitoring
  • Truth/Lie Assessment

Evaluate childs communication style
  • Information omitted from narratives
  • Sensory descriptions
  • Response to different question typology
  • Selection bias
  • Echolalic speech
  • Articulation Difficulties
  • Stuttering
  • Over Use of I dont know
  • Over use of Yes to yes/no questions
  • Tics, clicks and other sounds
  • Responses vs. answers

Most Importantly
  • Assess both childs abilities and disabilities.
  • Use the abilities to get the most reliable
  • Highlight and use the childs strengths rather
    than lingering on the childs weaknesses.

Disclosure Phase
  • If the child makes a disclosure, use the
    information you gathered during rapport to ask
    the most developmentally appropriate questions.
  • Remember that the most accurate information will
    always be information provided by the child in an
    uninterrupted narrative.
  • Use childs abilities to help you gather
    information, drawings and dolls can often be used
    to show what can not be expressed verbally.

  • Disabilities are not always global
  • Dont talk down to your victim, (use simple
    language, dont use baby talk)
  • Your victim is a person with a disability, THEY
  • Focus on the childs abilities rather than his or
    her disability.