When it comes to forensic interview protocols for children with disabilities, it’s essential to ensure that their unique needs are taken into consideration.
Here are a few general guidelines to consider when conducting or reviewing a forensic interview:

  1. Individualized Approach: Recognize that each child with disabilities is unique, and tailor the interview protocol to their specific needs. At the same time, assure compliance with protocols. Consider their communication abilities, sensory sensitivities, and cognitive functioning.
  2. Accessibility: Ensure that the interview space is physically accessible and accommodates any mobility devices or support equipment the child may need. Provide any necessary communication aids, such as visual supports or assistive technology.
  3. Communication Support: Adapt the interview techniques to accommodate the child’s communication abilities. This may involve using visual aids, simplified questions, or alternative communication methods like sign language or augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. Assure the interviewer is experienced in assistive technology in order to properly conduct the interview. Whenever possible the child should be alone with the interviewer – with video taping and other team members observing remotely.
  4. Sensory Considerations: Be mindful of the child’s sensory sensitivities. Use appropriate lighting, minimize background noise, and consider any sensory accommodations they may require, such as weighted blankets or fidget toys.
  5. Supportive Environment: Create a comfortable and safe environment for the child. Allow them to have a trusted support person present, such as a family member, therapist, or advocate, if it helps them feel more at ease.
  6. Flexibility and Patience: Recognize that the interview process may take longer and require breaks, especially if the child has attention or processing difficulties. Allow the child to take breaks when needed and be patient throughout the process.
  7. Training and Collaboration: Ensure that interviewers and professionals involved in the process receive proper training on interviewing children with disabilities. Collaborate with experts, such as child psychologists or disability specialists, to enhance the effectiveness of the interview.

When analyzing a forensic interview of any child, particularly a child with a developmental disability, it is essential to assure an objective and evidence based process was followed. These interviews take time and skilled providers to conduct.