How do you keep your early intervention knowledge and practices current? It’s not always easy!
Keeping up with current practices and thought in the field can be very challenging for interventionists for lots of reasons – lack of time, expenses involved with journal subscriptions, etc. Here are a few links, ideas, and suggestions to help you keep up!
I know, reading research articles can be a bit dry, but they are really some of the best ways to keep up with current literature in your field and your areas of interest. Since individual journal subscriptions can be pricey, see if your agency will sponsor a subscription. Look into memberships to professional organizations that include journal subscriptions (like DEC, ASHA, etc.). Visit journal websites like Infants & Young Children that offer a selection of free articles. If you are affiliated with a university, you may be able to access journals for free through your university library. Visit our EI Professional Development Center site where we have posted links to lots of free articles. Search using Google Scholar for the article or topic – you’d be surprised how often the article you need is actually already posted online!
TIPS! – Print out the article you want to read and keep it in your car or briefcase to read between visits or download it to your ereader. Even if it takes you several weeks to read it, that’s okay! Start a journal club at work to share articles with colleagues and talk about what you learn!
It’s always hard for me to resist a good book about early intervention! You might be able to access these books through your office, local university or community library, your local T/TAC (for VA EI providers), or you can almost always find them new or used online for great prices. Here are a few of my favorites:
The Early Intervention Guidebook for Families and Professionals (Keilty, 2010) – I’m reading this one now and I love how practical it is. Bonnie Keilty was an early intervention provider (here in VA!) and you can tell that she’s “been there” as you read.
The Early Childhood Coaching Handbook (Rush & Shelden, 2011) – This was the last book I read and found it to be practical and very informative about the evidence-base behind using coaching interactions. I have their book, The Early Intervention Teaming Handbook on my short list too.
Routines-Based Early Intervention (McWilliam, 2010) – I’m also reading this book too and love the emphasis on the family. It also has great resources for writing outcomes and helpful info for different natural environment locations (home visits and child care). I find that I use this one as a resource alot and tend to skip around to find what I need. I love a book that I keep coming back to!
DEC Recommended Practices (2005) – Check this book out to find out about the components of good practice. The DEC is working to update these recommended practices now so keep an eye out for a revised version.
YEC Monograph Series – This series of smaller books is a great way to learn about recommended practices related to specific topics, like natural environments, supporting dual language learners, making informed decisions, supporting children with autism spectrum disorder, etc.
I also wanted to share with you about a book I just finished reviewing by one of the guest authors here on our blog: My Toddler Talks: Strategies and Activities to Promote Your Child’s Language Development (Scanlon, 2012). I really enjoyed this one and found it to be an easy, engaging read. It’s written for families but EI providers can benefit from the insights too. The author, Kimberly, describes easy-to-use tips and play strategies that caregivers can implement in their daily interactions with their little ones. The book focuses on play routines, but the tips, modeling techniques and strategies can be incorporated into any daily interaction with a little practice. The tips and “do not list” are perfect for parents, childcare providers, and others who are looking for simple guidance on what they can do right now to positively affect a toddler’s language development. Be sure to check out the article Kimberly posted too! Lots of great resources!
TIPS! – Keep the book with you so that you can read a bit here and there between visits! Start a book club at work to discuss and share insights! You can also start a book sharing club where you and your colleagues share favorite EI books to cut down on costs and share the wealth of knowledge!
I truly believe that it is the responsibility of each early interventionist to take responsibility for his/her own professional development and commitment to keep up with current information. We owe it to ourselves and especially to the children and families we are lucky enough to support!
What are your favorite books and journals? How do you keep up with current information?