Gathering Detailed Information

One local parent was told by a teacher ‘Your son spends a lot of time in his own world’.  It was not until later that this parent understood that for her child, this was an early warning sign of an emerging mental health problem.


Typically, neither parents nor school and child care providers are trained mental health professionals and, as such, should not attempt to diagnose mental health disorders. However, because of the amount of time that children and youth spend at home and in school, it is most likely that these adults will notice the signs and symptoms that signal the need for professional mental health assessment and/or care.

When discussing a child’s behavior, the more specific and detailed information you can provide, the more useful the information will be in accurately assessing the child. The following list of Information Gathering Questions  can help you obtain information that is detailed and clear.

Click here to view a sample information gathering conversation between a parent and a concerned teacher. While this is only an excerpt of a longer conversation, it does illustrate how probing questions can help to clarify the issues of concern.

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