Lesson 7: INTERVIEWING CHILDREN AND TEENAGERS
A number of issues arise when evaluators interview children. This section focuses on the uniqueness of interviewing children for these evaluations, emphasizing the important developmental considerations in planning the child interview, and delineating some age appropriate interviewing techniques. When working with children, most clinicians use a play setting because it is recognized that play allows children to more clearly express what they know and feel. Most children are not able to use language to communicate their feelings as effectively as adults. The first step in interviewing children is getting clarity about your purpose. It is recommended that you make a list of any possible biases that you may have regarding the issues involved in the child’s life. By being aware of what you know and feel about the situation prior to starting interviews, you can make an effort to keep the biases from tainting your judgment. Then determine what you need to learn from individuals so that you can begin a framework for your questions. Parental interviews should provide information about the child’s history as well as clarify each parent’s view of the child. It is best to view children within a frame work of total life experience. If possible, it helps to know the social, physical, and cultural aspects of the child’s life.