DOTs - What are They?! - Early Intervention Technical Assistance Online Learning Portal

DOTs – What are They?!

They are part of your quest to find better ways to involve families and caregivers in sessions!

Talking with families about their children’s development can be challenging as you wonder… how much is too much information? What are the topics that matter most to families? What developmental skills cross domains and are essential for learning? Developmental Observation Topics (DOT’s) provide a guide for you as you support families to enhance their children’s learning and development.

DOTs are part of the Parents Interacting with Infants (PIWI) model which emphasizes the importance of promoting competence, confidence and mutual enjoyment for parents and children through their interactions.   Interactions are enhanced when parents are good observers of their children and tuned in to their development and interests. “…the child’s primary caregivers—be they parents or grandparents or foster parents—structure the experiences and shape the environments within which early development unfolds.” (From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development, n.d.)

DOTs provide a structure for you to ask questions and reflect with parents so that they can share with you what they know about their child’s interests, abilities and feelings; offer ideas for learning opportunities that their child will enjoy; and observe how their children respond during interactions. DOTs are focused on an aspect of children’s development, are organized to support parent observations and provide a framework for discussions, activities and learning opportunities. As parents understand and observe these developmental topics they become competent and confident supporters of their child’s development and gain greater appreciation of the important role that they play.

As a provider, you can use DOTs as you plan sessions with caregivers. What topics have parents asked you about?  Maybe they wonder why their child is so hesitant when in new places. Perhaps they are asking you what they can do to support their child’s expression of feelings. Good news! You can find guided DOTS available on these topics and others at the link below! You can find the Parents Interacting with Infants (PIWI) course under “Service Delivery” on the Professional Development page.

As you review the DOTs, comment below on the topic and strategy that you plan to try first! And please remember to stop back to share how it went as you and a family incorporated a DOT into a session. What other topics have parents asked you about for which a DOT could be helpful?

From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2016, from NCBI: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK225548/

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