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Early Intervention Essay

In 1986, the U.S. Congress created laws that provided special services for infants and toddlers. These services were urgent and significant for children with disabilities and development delayed. It was needed to enhance children development and minimize their potential for developmental delay. These range of services provided for infants and toddlers are what is referred to as Early Intervention. Early intervention involves children ages 0 to 3 who are at risk of a developmental delay or have disabilities. It provides services for children and their families to enhance daily opportunities for learning provided in children’s natural settings. In addition, these services are designed to identify and meet children’s needs in five developmental areas: physical, cognitive, adaptive, communicative, or social and/or emotional development. (First Sign, 2010)

Services are made available through a federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA provides states and territories with specific requirements for providing early intervention services to infants and toddlers with special needs.Each state is provided grants from the federal government to provide comprehensive services and develops its own policies for carrying out IDEA and its requirements. Lastly, a complete evaluation of the child is necessary to decide whether he or she is eligible for Early Intervention programs. Services vary by state, but may include: Educational services, Physical therapy, Occupational therapy, Infant Development Programs, Speech therapy and Family counseling.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that children are given a multidisciplinary evaluation and assessment in order to determined the child’s capabilities and abilities and whether the child is eligible for Early Intervention services. If the child is eligible for the services, a team of early interventionists will develop a written plan called the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). IFSP contains information about the services necessary to facilitate a child’s development and enhance the family’s capacity to facilitate the child’s development. This written plan is very important and parents plays an important role in it because they help the team of early interventionist develop it. The IFSP demonstrate that the family is a child’s greatest resources. Children needs the support of their family. The best way to support children and meet their needs is to support and build upon the individual strengths of their family. Therefore, the IFSP is not just a plan for the child but a plan for the whole family. The family is a major contributors in children’s development.

Families, most particularly parents, are essential participants in early intervention. It is very important that parents are not only there for the child but work together with the early intervention staffs. They have to understand that they have roles as partners and that they are decision makers in the early intervention process. It has been shown through studies that early intervention is effective when parents become central to decision-making and are active participants in the intervention. The articles that are going to be used in these this paper provide similar information; they are all similar because each articles stresses the importance of paternal involvement,

The article “The Role of Parents in Early Intervention: Implications for Social Work” discuses the importance of parental involvement in early intervention. It states that “parents need to play an important role in early intervention services to have significant effects on children’s developmental and social- emotional well being.” There have been evidence that shows parent involvement is a critical for developmental intervention.

There are three important reasons why parents should play a more active role in the services that their children receive thus enhancing parent involvement in early intervention. The first reason being based on an ecological theory of child development which suggest the idea that parents are the most important influence in children’s lives and that learning occurs throughout the course of their daily routine activities in their natural environment. Therefore, early intervention must focus on maximizing learning opportunities that children have with their parents and other caregivers in natural settings. The second reason being that parents are constantly present in their children lives therefore they have many opportunities to influences children learning and development. Lastly, the third but most important reason why parent need to play a more active role
in the services that their children receive is related to recent research findings regarding its effects on the success of early intervention. Researchers have been investigating whether the effectiveness of early intervention is related to the effect they have on parents’ interaction with their children.

The article “Assessing parental perceptions of self-efficacy and involvement in families of young children with hearing loss” highlights the need for parental involvement for young children with hearing loss. Like the first article mentioned, this article addresses the significance of parental involvement. This article doesn’t just focus on the importance of parental involvement like the first article but it focus on the importance of self efficacy on children development and the lack of involvement of involvement and efficacy with children with hearing loss. In addition, it address the development of a new measure to asses parental involvement and self-efficacy called the Scale of Paternal Involvement and Self Efficacy (SPISE). Results showed that by having an understanding of how parents perceived their knowledge and accept their parental responsibilities and thereby be more involve in their children development can determined whether early intervention is effective.

Two important component to children success in early intervention are parent’s self efficacy and parent involvement. According to Bandura, (1989) parental self efficacy is defined as ‘parents’ perceived estimations of competence in the parental role and confidence in their own abilities to perform each task.’ It was shown that level of self efficiency can influence how parents interact with their young children. Bandura suggested parents with low self efficacy may likely behave in ways that produce a lack of response from their children and parents with high self efficacy are more likely to put their knowledge and skills to use and thereby produce more positive interactions with their children. Parental involvement in early intervention is based on the belief that environmental influences will affect early development. Parents are the most important influence in children’s lives and that learning occurs throughout the course of their daily routine activities in their natural environment. The amount and type of parental involvement is often the missing factor when it comes to explaining success in children with hearing loss.

The first and second article are similar in a way, both article address the importance of parental involvement in early intervention. Both of these articles give valid reasons on why parents need to be involve. Both articles agreed that parents are the most influential persons in children development and thereby need to be the most involve in their child early intervention program. Another article that support the importance of paternal involvement is the article “Parents implemented early intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review”. This article differs in the ways that parents need to be involved but this article is still similar to the first and second article. Whereas the first two articles talked about how parents need to be involved in early intervention by interacting with their kids, this article addresses how parents need to be involved by implementing invention strategies that are designed to help their children with autism. In order for parents to implement invention strategies, parents should be trained. “training parents as co therapist allows consistent. handling, and ensures that intervention is appropriate in enhancing children’s social relationship.

“Parents implemented early intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review” focused on children aged 1-6 years old who has autism. It discussed the impact of autism and what early intervention can do for children when parents implement intervention strategies. Children with ASD poses challenges for families therefore parents need to be active in the early intervention program so they can help them develop skills.

The articles “Assessing parental perceptions of self-efficacy and involvement in families of young children with hearing loss” and the article “Parents implemented early intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review” have similar results that were found in their studies. It has been show through numerous studies that parental involvement has been very effective in early intervention. Studies have shown that paternal involvement had led to positive outcomes in children’s development. In article one, studies have shown that parents who are involved in their children’s early intervention program have better communication with their children. In article two, studies shown that the most successful children were those with high level of family involvement. These two articles have proven that paternal involvemnt has been positive and effective in early intervention.

The articles that have been addressed in this paper have similarities in that they all have a small section in the article where it focus just on mother’s involvement in the early intervention. These articles have not mentioned father involvement in early intervention. In the “Parents implemented early intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorder: a systematic review” article, there were controlled studies of parent training for young children with autism spectrum disorder. In one study, mothers played an active role in the TEECH services that their child was receiving; they act as co therapists. Results showed that when mother played an active role it lower maternal depression. The article “The Assessing parental perceptions of self-efficacy and involvement in families of young children with hearing loss” focused on mother’s efficacy. In a sample of mothers and young infants with normal hearing, Teti and Gelfand found that maternal self efficacy linked the negative relationship between mother depressive symptoms and their behaviors reflecting responsiveness to their infant.

This meant that mother’s beliefs on parenting effected how they parented their child and that mother with higher self efficacy but depressed were more responsive to their infants. The article “The Role of Parents in Early Intervention: Implications for Social Work” focused on mother and child interaction. A study examined how interventions affected mothers’ style of interacting with their children, and whether changes in mothers’ style of interaction were related to the developmental outcomes their children attained in intervention. ‘Results indicated that neither the amount of services provided to children nor range of family services parents received accounted for improvements in children’s development during early intervention. However, the effect of intervention on mothers’ style of interacting with their children was significantly related to children’s developmental improvements.’ (Mahoney, Boyce, Fewell, Spiker and Wheeden, 1998) All these articles have proven that mother involvement is not only is important but can also be effective.

One article that was found called “Family predictors of maternal and paternal involvement in programs for young children with disabilities” discusses not only mother involvement in early intervention but focuses on father involvement as well. This article discusses how Family characteristics such as family demographics, social support, emotional well being, martial adjustment, family functioning and coping affect they way father and mothers interact in their children early intervention programs. Findings for mother’s involvement showed that experiences less stress and had good coping strategies tend to be more involved. Findings for father’s involvement showed that fathers became more involved in their children program when they had good coping strategies. Also it was found that fathers participated in their children early intervention programs indirectly; they may not show up to meetings but they would communicate effectively with service providers or seek services for their children.

Even though this article differs from some of the articles, it does have a similarity with article one. As mentioned in article one, parental involvement is based on the ecological theory which says that parents are the most important influence in children’s lives and that learning occurs throughout the course of their daily routine activities in their natural environment. This article also state that the impact on child’s development is based on an ecological context.

Family involvement in early intervention is important. The articles gives strong and valid reasons on why parents to be involved. After all, parents knows their kids the best and thereby they should have an active role in early invention.


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