1:40 - 2:00 pmSaturday, September 17
LK 120
Drawing play: communicating with children about their environment through drawing at well visits
LK 120
Drawing play: communicating with children about their environment through drawing at well visits
Stanford Clinical Informatics Fellow
Drawing Play is a project that explores how children can become active participants in their well child visits. It is a unique collaboration between the Departments of Pediatrics and Communication at Rutgers... Read more

Description

Drawing Play is a project that explores how children can become active participants in their well child visits. It is a unique collaboration between the Departments of Pediatrics and Communication at Rutgers University and takes place at the Eric B Chandler Clinic, a federally qualified health center that primarily cares for an underserved Hispanic community.

Pediatricians are tasked with guiding the long term health and safety of children and have a unique opportunity to talk to them about their environment. However, doing so is challenging for a number of reasons, from the time required, to a child’s cooperation, and ultimately to the method and level of communication employed. Research suggests that children’s ability to retrieve information about their experiences may be more readily accessed by stimulating their perceptive senses than by semantic stimulus. Starting with drawings could open a child-centric dialogue about matters that are important to them.

There is a long history of various drawing methods used by pediatricians and child psychologists among others, each of which has specific aims and means of interpretation. The use of drawing to communicate with children in a health setting has been studied since the 1920s starting initially with childhood development and aptitude with the Draw-A-Person test to Draw-a-Family test in the 1950s. In the 1970s they progressed into understanding family dynamics from the child’s perspective with Kinetic family drawing. These methods have also been used and extensively studied for understanding child abuse. More recently childhood drawing has been extended to understand childhood perceptions of the environment around them.

Drawing Play is a pilot implementation-research program that has engaged a number of children in drawing at their well child visits. Our team has been working to evaluate the effects of this intervention in comparison to the baseline visits without these drawings. While children between the ages of 6-12 are waiting at their annual well child visit they are given crayons and a clipboard and are asked to draw where they like to play. When they are seen by the healthcare provider the drawing becomes the starting point for discussion. The idea is to welcome the child to participate and share their thoughts in an environment that may be both daunting and frightening to them. Furthermore by starting with the drawing it is reminder for both the healthcare provider and the parent that the child’s voice and ideas are important to engage throughout the visit. More pragmatically, the information gleaned from the drawing can also provide a more richer depiction of the types of physical activity a child enjoys, which is important for providing healthy guidance.

We hope to share our simple but important strategy for inviting children to participate in their healthcare and provide some evidence supporting this intervention from our pilot study.

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