Early Intervention Strategies for Success

Sharing What Works in Supporting Infants & Toddlers and the Families in Early Intervention

Early Intervention Strategies for Success, Tips, Insight and Support for EI Practitioners


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  • Three New EI Videos! – Your “Must Watch” for the Day(current)

Here in VA, we are so excited to release our new video series entitled Early Intervention: A Routines-Based Approach! These videos were professionally produced, are less than 7 min each, and are available for FREE on our professional development website or on our YouTube site. I’m going to give you a quick description of each video below. I encourage you to watch them, use them, and of course give us feedback! After the embedded videos, you’ll also find 3 ideas for how you can use them for staff development. Enjoy!

Early Intervention: A Routines-Based Approach – Part 1: Traditional vs. Routines

This 5 min video is the first in the series and features an experienced early interventionist sharing her personal journey from a traditional, clinical approach to one focusing on family routines and activities as the context for effective early intervention.

Early Intervention: A Routines-Based Approach – Part 2: What Intervention Can – and Should – Look Like

This video is about 7 minutes long and features three early interventionists discussing and demonstrating what intervention looks like when it is provided by collaborating with families during their natural routines and activities. Examples of parent-provider collaboration during a trip to a restaurant and visits in families’ homes are shown.

Early Intervention: A Routines-Based Approach – Part 3: Changing the Mindset

This video is under 5 minutes and focuses on insights from the three early interventionists about how they evolved their practices toward a more effective, routines-based intervention approach.

Three Ideas for Using these Videos

If you are a program supervisor or trainer, here are a few ideas about how you might use these videos for staff development:

Idea #1: Group Staff Development – Plan a staff development activity across 3 staff meetings. Watch one video each meeting and reflect together on where individual and program-wide practices are on a continuum of traditional to routines-based intervention.

Idea #2: Training Activity – Have participants bring contact notes or descriptions of recent intervention visits. Collect the contact notes and shuffle them. Watch the first two videos and break the participants into small groups. Each group gets three randomly-chosen contact notes to review and discuss. They can compare and contrast the visit activities with the practices shown and discussed in the videos. You might also ask them what suggestions would they have for that interventionist for the next visit to try to use more routines-based practices. No one has to “fess” up and own the contact note but everyone can learn from them. Wrap-up the activity with the third video.

Idea #3: Individual Staff Supervision – Use these videos with individuals in your program who are struggling with adopting these practices. Rather than doing this as a group activity, watch the first video together with the individual and reflect together on the person’s current practices. Ask him to watch the 2nd video by himself and reflect on it in writing. You could create a compare and contrast handout for him to use during the week to reflect on his visits and what practices he uses. You could also tie this to a discussion and compare/contract activity using the 7 Key Principles: Looks Like/Doesn’t Look Like (PDF, New Window) document from the ECTA Center. Review the reflection together and watch the third video. Come up with a plan for “changing the mindset” with suggested readings, maybe have him join visits with others who are using routines-based practices, etc. Follow-up on the plan in supervision and provide lots of support along the way.

What other ideas do you have for using these videos for staff development??

Special heartfelt thanks to the early interventionists and families who shared their experiences with us!!

25 comments on “Three New EI Videos! – Your “Must Watch” for the Day

  • Amy Cocorikis says:

    Wow, Dana these are great! I love how the practitioners talk about their “evolution” in the field of early intervention. I just finished creating a full day face to face workshop on effective home visiting and one of the topics is “Traditional Therapy Sessions in Homes vs. Home Visiting in EI”, so these couldn’t have come at a better time! Thanks for creating and sharing such powerful resources!

  • Amy Cocorikis says:

    Dana, just wanted to let you know that I used these videos in a workshop with an audience of both new and seasoned practitioners this past week. There was such rich discussion and an exchange of ideas! We also identified our need for next steps…creating a sample script to use with families, using role plays to practice and of course we’d all love more videos of home visits that help us identify “how tos”! Thanks, again!

    • Thanks so much for the feedback about how you’re using the videos, Amy! It’s so interesting that what you all have identified as needs are almost exactly the same needs we talk about here in VA! We all need those concrete resources to help us learn what good practices look like. There’s nothing like seeing it in action!

  • ron gill says:

    After so many years of providing early intervention services, it’s difficult to change the methodologies one is accustomed to. This was refreshing to see and hear as I embark on a different concept and philosophy of providing services. Thank you!

  • Dana,
    Thank you for these wonderful videos! I am a Consultant with a state-wide early intervention training and technical assistance program and appreciate the clear, concise messaging they provide. These videos are so relevant to the work we are currently doing around coaching. We are planning to use the videos during a few local training sessions but also have ideas about how we might share them with a larger state-wide audience. I would love to connect with you by e-mail to talk more about that possibility.

  • Lena says:

    Most of the parents see early intervention as teaching the child through using toys and activities that intereventiost plans. Sometimes they even do not want to participate in the session,but rather have this time for themselves. How to deal with this, how to make them work with their child?

    • Great question, Lena. Parents often don’t know how EI is supposed to look because they haven’t been in a program like this before. They probably assume it’s like how a doctor’s visit works – parents get out of the way so the doctor can examine/work with the child. If you can talk with the parent about how routines-based EI works and how important their active participation is at your very first visit, that will help. Try to set up the relationship so that the parent knows that you are there to work with her, rather than just work with the child. You may have to help the parent understand that EI visits are practice visits for her, opportunities to problem-solve with you, come up with strategies, and practice those strategies during the visit so that she knows how to do them between visits.

      For families you’ve been working with for a while, try asking if you can join them in doing something they enjoy on your next visit. Tell them you’d like to see how the child walks/talks/behaves during a typical family activity. If the parent agrees, then come to the next visit ready to talk about the activity and observe so you can problem-solve together. Ask to join an activity that goes really well, or one that is troublesome for the family. All families have challenging routines – sometimes those are great places to start collaborating.

      Check out these other posts for some more ideas:
      Being Playful vs Playing with Toys…What’s the Difference?
      Adult Learning Principle #4: Active Practice and Participation are Key!
      Watch Me! – Using Modeling as a Caregiver Teaching Tool

      Good luck!

      • Lena says:

        Thank you, Dana, for your advice! I will try to start my new EI cases from talking to parents and telling them what EI is like now. wIth the current one looks like parent is too comfortable with me working with the child. She does not like to do anything with her child at all, everything is done by the baby sitter.

        • Yes, sometimes starting fresh with new families is the easiest way to go when you are making a change to your practices. For your current family, I wonder if you can work with the babysitter too? Sounds like he or she is an important person in the child’s life. Good luck, Lena!

  • This is very informative and a lot of strategies are elicited in for an EI specialist.

  • Roberta Rosenblum says:

    Very interesting

  • Paula Shorter says:

    Awesome teachings about the evolution fro a medial model to a family model.
    How do you address the benchmark assessments that have to be done? How are you notes reflective of your activities? How do you incorporate the ISP for the child?

    • Thanks for the questions, Paula. You ask big questions, but I’ll try to answer briefly. We still do initial team assessments in VA that are a little more formal and use what we call “anchor tools” like the ELAP and HELP. We try to gather as much functional assessment info as we can through informal conversation with the parents, though. We aren’t at the point yet where we go observe the child in daily routines or other environments before or during the assessment, unless the opportunity spontaneously arises during the assessment (which typically occurs in the home). Our contact notes must reflect how we coached the parent during the visit and include a place to reflect the joint plan, which focuses on how the parent wants to use intervention strategies during daily routines. We have emphasized the idea that visits should offer parents many opportunities to practice using strategies with their children so they are more confident and more successful with using them between visits. At each visit, no matter what routine or activity is happening, we try to help parents embed strategies in their interactions with their children that address IFSP outcomes. I would say that we still engage families often during play routines, but we are working hard to encourage our practitioners in VA to think more broadly and join other routines as well. Just like many states, our striving to use routines-based intervention is a work in progress!

  • Malka Haim says:

    As a new provider to EI. This information is very helpful and interesting. Thank you for the videos.

  • Debby Hirsch says:

    I really enjoyed watching these videos.I feel they give new and innovative ideas regarding coaching. They show the evolution of clinician to parent based support for children

  • I have seen how much more progress is made by children whose parents are active participants in their learning. Motivated and engaged parents are the most powerful force for their child’s growth.

    • Great points, Susan. I’m wondering what strategies you are using to motivate and engage parents, especially parents who are slower to warm up or more reluctant to share information or allow us to join their routines?

  • I have been inactive for a few years as an EI. Watching these videos have been excellent sources of refreshing ideas, strategies, and motivations of working with children and their families through parent based support.


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