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Refugees Have Different Perceptions of Child Development

HealthDay News

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TUESDAY, Aug. 16, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Refugees have different perceptions regarding child development, which may influence recognition of developmental concerns, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in Pediatrics.

Abigail L.H. Kroening, M.D., from the Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., and colleagues conducted 19 interviews and two focus groups involving 16 Bhutanese-Nepali, Burmese, Iraqi, and Somali participants; seven community collaborators; and six providers from the Center for Refugee Health. Interviews were recorded, coded, and analyzed.

The researchers identified 21 themes in four domains, which included values/beliefs about development/disability, practices surrounding development/disability, the refugee experience, and specific feedback to the Parents' Evaluation of Developmental Status screen. Most participants reported that there was no word for "development" in their primary language, and awareness of developmental milestones was limited. Physical disabilities were recognized but were not perceived as problematic. Limited education, poor health care knowledge, language, and traditional healing processes were perceived barriers to identification of delays. Community navigators, trust in health care providers, in-person interpretation, visual supports, and education about child development were identified as facilitators.

"Refugee perspectives on child development may influence a parent's recognition of and response to developmental concerns," the authors write. "Despite challenges, standardized screening was supported."

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