The Triangle

The Triangle is a simple way of representing the three domains that assessment should take account of:

  • The child's developmental needs
  • The parents' or caregivers' capacities to respond appropriately
  • The wider family and environmental factors

Each domain relates to the others. Any child's development is significantly shaped by both their particular experiences and the interaction between a series of factors. Some factors like genetic inheritance or temperament are often thought to be intrinsic to individual children. Others, like particular health problems or an impairment, may be a mixture of intrinsic and circumstantial. Meanwhile others may relate primarily to a child's culture, and to the physical and emotional environment in which they live.

Click on the triangle headings below to display more detail.

In order to illustrate the way in which the Assessment Triangle can be used during the assessment of any given incident, one event in the life of a girl called Mairi has been unpacked in detail. Mairi's complete timeline of events is also available.