In order to meet effectively the needs of children at risk, building trust with them and their families is essential: that means establishing solid, trusting relationships. This trusting relationship will encourage the child, family and the community social pediatrics team to be open to exchanging feelings, information and experiences, which is key to decoding the child and his/her overall circumstances. It will also ensure that everyone is on board and ready to take action to help the child grow up healthy, both physically and mentally. Establishing, Exchanging, Decoding and Action make up the EEDA method, which is the basis for the community social pediatrics model developed by Dr. Gilles Julien.

Establishing

This involves getting to know each other, entering each other’s world, starting to feel comfortable with each other and establishing a basis for working together that is conducive to assistance and support.

In actual practice, this means:

  • Welcoming the child and family in a friendly, informal and non-judgemental atmosphere.
  • Making the child and family feel comfortable and open to discussion through warm physical contact, sharing food and offering small, token gifts.

Exchanging

This involves opening up to others with no preconceived notions around facts, ideas and attitudes regarding the child. It means sharing views on beliefs and habits, and accepting different ways of doing things to better explain the context and the challenges, and to explore possible solutions.

In actual practice, this means:

  • Leading the discussion among participants.
  • Gathering information on the child’s developmental and genetic history.
  • Exploring the child’s needs and sources of toxic stress.
  • Identifying strengths in the child, family and community.
  • Asking questions and developing hypotheses.
  • Making a comprehensive and complete health history.

Decoding

This involves using an integrated approach to analyse everyone’s understanding and experiences in order to decode the meaning of a problem and decide what steps to take next.

In actual practice, this means:

  • Decoding the information gathered.
  • Examining the child.
  • Determining potential diagnoses based on the information collected.
  • Confirming possible solutions with everyone attending the meeting.

Action

This involves setting up “mechanisms that treat, calm and restore balance” given the sources of toxic stress and the needs that were identified when information was shared and a common understanding was reached on the issues involved. It means taking action based on needs which all parties – including the child, family, and the child’s social and institutional network – understand, accept and prioritize. A range of adapted resources are used. The child’s community is mobilized to come up with a support system the child can rely on.

In actual practice, this means:

  • Summarizing the steps that need to be taken.
  • Prioritizing actions and solutions.
  • Developing an intervention plan.
  • Clearly spelling out the integrated plan tailored to the child’s needs.
  • Ensuring that all professionals actively participate in implementing solutions.
References
  • Julien G. (2004). Soigner différemment les enfants, L’approche de la pédiatrie sociale, Les Éditions Logiques : Québec.
  • Julien G. (2004). Soigner différemment les enfants, Méthodes et approches, 2e éd. Les Éditions Logiques : Québec.