Prior to the interview

To adequately accommodate a child with a physical disability, information about how the child is affected by the disability and what physical accommodations are necessary should be gathered beforehand. Attention must be paid to:

• Arranging transportation and parking

• Physical access to the building and interview room

• Waiting area and bathroom accessibility

• Timing of the appointment (morning vs. afternoon)

General guidelines for interviewing typically developing children about abuse also apply for interviewing children with disabilities:

• Use short sentences with only one idea per sentence.

• Ask yes/no questions as a last resort.

• Avoid using double negatives.

• Avoid asking “why” or “if”; instead, ask concrete questions such as who, what, where, how.

• Clarify terms the child uses.

• Use the child’s words for body parts.

• Allow the child to express feelings, or to express no emotions at all.

• Allow for long silences.

• Interview in a comfortable room with minimal distractions.

• Avoid infantilizing the child, e.g., “baby talk.”

Shelton, K., Bridenbaugh, H., Farrenkopf, M., & Kroeger, K. (2010). Project Ability: Demystifying disability in child abuse interviewing. Oregon:   CARES Northwest. Retrieved from: