Regarding age/developmentally appropriate information:

  • I think it’s always good to first ask the child and the family what their understanding is so far regarding their diagnosis, treatment plan, and fertility.  It’s so important to first make sure you can promptly dispel any grossly incorrect or misunderstood notions.
  • Acknowledging that the topic can be uncomfortable and scary and emphasize that the goal is to make it less scary by providing information and options so we can all make a plan that feels good for everyone.
  • Mirroring their body language and their spoken language can help everyone to feel more at ease in the discussion (ie: using the same words they do when able/appropriate while including medically relevant information).
  • Using photos/diagrams can be helpful and pointing to the parts of the body you are talking about as they come up.
  • Asking everyone if you can ask possibly uncomfortable questions before you start.  Allowing as much control as possible is so key.
  • Offer book suggestions when relevant
  • Use dolls when appropriate
  • Pause frequently to ensure they are following and see if they have questions.
  • For older children/teens, discussing preferences on family planning
  • Advocate for the patient/family if they need more time to consider & make a plan to follow up.  While understanding the importance of urgently initiating treatment, delaying by 1 day vs making a decision that impacts your life in this way also needs thoughtful consideration.

Those are the first things that come to mind anyway not working with the pediatric population myself.

Thank you all for the discussion,

Mikala B, LCSW

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