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The Early Intervention Guidebook for Families and Professionals: Partnering for Success

reviewed by Kristina Higgins & Cheyl Mixon - April 29, 2017

coverTitle: The Early Intervention Guidebook for Families and Professionals: Partnering for Success
Author(s): Bonnie Keilty
Publisher: Teachers College Press, New York
ISBN: 080775773X, Pages: 224, Year: 2016
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The Early Intervention Guidebook for Families and Professionals: Partnering for Success by Bonnie Keilty presents an approach to the process of early intervention that can be useful to families, students, and early intervention professionals. It takes a holistic approach to early intervention. The book consists of chapters that focus on each part of the early intervention process and vignettes that provide examples of what early intervention can entail. As a guidebook, this text assists professionals and families in understanding the process of early intervention. It also provides information and tips throughout to enhance these stakeholders in their own family-professional partnership through collaborative reading and use.

The book’s language and explanations serve as helpful guides in maneuvering the numerous factors that make up the unique paths families must travel in meeting their child’s developmental needs. Detailed charts, vignettes, examples, and explanations demonstrate the appropriate practices and policies of the early intervention team. The volume also shares examples of what one might expect versus what is most appropriate in a partner’s roles. The family stories shared through the vignettes help frame the provided information to make it palpable for any reader. The text heavily emphasizes the partnerships formed among the families, service coordinators, and various professionals who make up the family-professional partnership.

The Early Intervention Guidebook consists of common elements throughout all of its chapters. The primary goal of early intervention is to ensure the best developmental situation possible for the child by meeting each family’s unique needs. This is accomplished through a strong family-professional partnership. Discussion about this partnership includes establishing a common purpose, focusing on each person’s strengths, and having flexibility within this relationship. This type of discussion occurs in depth in each chapter as it relates to its specific content. These common elements add to the cohesiveness of the volume as a guide for families and professionals within different stages of early intervention. Furthermore, each chapter contains tips, charts, and resources that families and professionals can collaborate on to further enlighten their own experiences in early intervention. National policies and regulations are discussed in conjunction with each chapter relating to early childhood intervention like portions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Due to the text’s global focus on what early intervention encompasses, state-level policies and regulations are not included.

The first three chapters of the volume offer foundational information for any reader entering an early intervention program. For example, Chapter One introduces a comprehensive definition of early intervention and details the process from a child’s birth through to the third year of life. It further describes the components involved in the early intervention process. Chapter Two reiterates recommended practices from the Division of Early Childhood throughout all of the remaining chapters. It also highlights the important factors that affect the relationships among the various partners who are involved. Specifically, it details the significant impact these relationships and their dynamics have on reaching the family’s desired outcomes for their children. Further, it reminds professionals who are reading the text of the importance of not doing something for the family, but with the family, by respecting and listening to their needs. Chapter Three emphasizes the importance of knowing the families and identifying what they are currently doing to support their child. It goes on to share vignettes regarding two families with children who have varying levels of delay. These vignettes demonstrate the expectations or routines of these families and their impact on the child’s development. One of the goals of this chapter is to share how family-professional partnerships should use family routines as vehicles for intervention activities and for seeking out opportunities to further engage the child in them.

The next several chapters are designed to walk readers through a sequence of working as a family-professional partnership. They also include steps that are relevant to the early intervention process. For example, Chapter Four discusses the importance of the service provider’s role in keeping everyone in the family-professional partnership connected. It lists the potential expectations of partners and the coordination of services in meeting the needs of families. The intent is to avoid duplication of services provided by partners and to fine tune each person’s role. Similarly, Chapter Five focuses on assessments and next steps to help families see the progression as small steps to the desired goals. Finally, Chapter Six offers a blueprint for a plan of action. An effective plan involves selecting outcomes based on the desires of families and deciding on times to check the child’s progress.

The remaining chapters discuss partnerships, communities, and long-term goals of early intervention processes. The partners continue to work together in flexible ways that recognize the need to change strategies to fit various routines as they are required. The chapters acknowledge the family’s community and how strategies may be used within it with slight modifications. Among its key ideas, the book discusses the long-term goals and future goals of family-professional partnerships. The vision of the family, transitioning out of early intervention, and supporting families to be confident advocates for their children are a few of the concluding ideas that are presented. The text concludes with a final chapter on how this resource guide can best be utilized by families and professionals. Both of these groups can glean a great deal of information through book studies and discussions on various components of the volume. Several appendices are also provided and they could prove to be very helpful. They include a list of acronyms, a glossary, checklists, internet resources, and common questions for families or professionals.

Keilty’s The Early Intervention Guidebook presents an overall approach to the early intervention process. It discusses the nuances of the family-professional partnership throughout the early intervention process. The text also provides real-life examples to illustrate how early intervention works. Aptly titled, this volume is meant for use as a guidebook for families in the early intervention process, professionals who work in the context of early intervention, or students who are interested in working in this field. Families and professionals can use its chapters at their discretion depending on the part of the process they are currently involved with to maximize their experience with early intervention.

Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: April 29, 2017
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 21951, Date Accessed: 1/25/2022 2:53:07 PM

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About the Author
  • Kristina Higgins
    Tarleton State University
    E-mail Author
    KRISTINA HIGGINS, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Child and Family Studies at Tarleton State University and a Certified Family Life Educator. Her main areas of interest include early childhood education, parenting and family life education, early numeracy, and the use of technology in mathematics education. Recent publications can be found in Educational Technology Research and Development, Contemporary Educational Technology, Social Welfare: Interdisciplinary Approach, and International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, and these publications focusing on using technology in the mathematics in the classroom with students who have learning difficulties. Currently, Dr. Higgins is a Principal Investigator on a grant-funded research project involving parenting and enhancing early mathematics skills through an activity-based intervention program.
  • Cheyl Mixon
    Tarleton State University
    E-mail Author
    CHERYL MIXON, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Child and Family Studies at Tarleton State University. She is a certified teacher and has taught preschool through first grade in Texas public schools. Her areas of interest include early childhood education and development, early mathematics and professional development of early education professionals. Dr. Mixon is currently engaged in the grant-funded research project with Dr. Higgins and is also the Principal Investigator in a research project on preschool teachers’ math instructional beliefs, confidence and practices.
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