Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Changing Face of Early Intervention

I'm excited to be a guest blogger over at ASHA today.  ASHA is an acronym for the American Speech-Language-Hearing-Association, which is the national organization that represents and coordinates nearly 128,000 of us speech-language therapists, audiologists, and speech-language-hearing scientists. I'm pretty sure that only a few of us actually read the blog but hey, it's fun to post over there anyway. 

In my post, I talk about the changes that are occurring in our early intervention program. Before you check it out, let me set the stage just a bit. I've been working with kids under the age of 3 in our early intervention program for over ten years now, and for the majority of those years, I did therapy in one way.  I brought toys into a child's home, sat on the floor, and worked my "magic" with the child.  At the end of the session, I'd give his parents suggestions for doing what I just did and be on my merry way. I'd come back the next week, repeat the process, give out some new suggestions, and feel pretty good about the work I'd done.  And it worked...pretty well, most of the time, anyway.

Over the past year, though, our state's Birth-to-Three program has encouraged us to look at our practices and think about how we could take them to a deeper level.  They asked us to explore new ways to work within all kinds of family routines (not just play), to look carefully at how adults learn, to find ways to teach families (not just children, but families), to carefully and systematically give our knowledge about child development away to parents, and to help parents explore ways to integrate this knowledge into their daily routines. In short, we were asked to work with parents just as much as (if not more than) we worked directly with the child. These new-fangled ideas came out of research indicating that parents are much more powerful in their young child's life than are therapists and that our biggest source of power in early intervention comes not from working only with the child, but in truly partnering with that child's parents.

To be honest, it's been a challenging year. It wasn't easy to look at what I had been doing for ten years and realize that maybe, just maybe, I could have been doing it better. It elicited all kinds of emotions and reactions and feelings. It was--and continues to be--hard to step outside my comfort zone. And it was--and continues to be-- even harder to do this alongside my peers, each of whom are having their own varied and highly individual reactions to the challenging work that has been placed in front of us.

And yet for all the challenges this year has brought along with it, there have also been hints of excitement, and inspiration, and understanding, and growth. This, then, is what my post is about. You can find it here.

Wondering what the process of getting into early intervention is like? 


  1. The Speech Therapist that my daughter has been seeing for the last 5 months, I think, spends more time with me during our 45 minute appts. She has taught me how to help my daughter and I think that is the best way to go. She shows me different activities and ways to communicate to my daughter so I feel like I am the one making the difference. My daughter is 2 years and 5 months old and we just came to the realization 2 days ago that she has Hyperlexia. I am still trying to find more information out there about this. My email is aprile.mazey(at) and if you know much or have worked with a child that has this, I would very much like to know more. Thank you!

  2. Hey Becca,
    Thanks for the comment on my ashasphere post about motivation. :) I love your blog and am happy to find it! I work in EI, too, and love the "no toy bag" therapy model! It WAS a hard transition, but I do see faster progress now than I had before, yay!

    Happy almost Friday!

  3. Change is always hard. Sounds like it's for the positive though!
    Dropping by from Mom Loop

  4. I'm a new follower from Blog Frog! I'm really excited about reading your posts. You never know who you will run across in life that might need this information! It's encouraging and educational for me.

  5. Helpful post regarding early intervention programs. Early intervention seems it is able to provide the support needed by affected children. Great read.