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Learning from parents' stories about what works in early intervention

Authors

  • Maria J. Pighini,

    Corresponding author
    1. Faculty of Education, Institute for Early Childhood Education and Research (IECER), The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
    • Correspondence should be addressed to Maria Pighini, IECER, The University of British Columbia, Neville Scarfe Building 308C, 2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada. (E-mail: mari.pighini@ubc.ca).

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  • Hillel Goelman,

    1. Educational & Counselling Psychology and Special Education, Faculty of Education, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
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  • Marla Buchanan,

    1. Educational & Counselling Psychology and Special Education, Faculty of Education, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
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  • Kimberly Schonert-Reichl,

    1. Educational & Counselling Psychology and Special Education, Faculty of Education, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
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  • Dana Brynelsen

    1. Infant Development Program of British Columbia, Halfmoon Bay, Canada
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  • This research was supported in part by a Contribution Agreement with the Social Development Partnerships Program (Social Development Canada), Government of Canada. The authors wish to acknowledge Dr. Judith Duncan, Associate Professor of Education, University of Canterbury, New Zealand, for her invaluable contributions in critiquing this manuscript. This manuscript is based on data from Maria J. Pighini's unpublished doctoral dissertation (2008) entitled “A multiple case study of children and families in the Infant Development Program of British Columbia.” Awards for Ph.D. dissertation received from The Society for Community Research in Action (APA Chapter #27) and The Human Early Learning Partnership (UBC).

Abstract

Using a multiple case study approach, this ethnography examined the experiences of parents of children deemed at risk for developmental delays or disabilities who had received early intervention (EI) services (birth to age 3 years) in a large urban location in Western Canada. Participants (11 adult parents and 7 children) were drawn from six families. Methods of data collection included focus groups (FG), face-to-face interviews and file reviews. Member check and expert reviews were conducted throughout data collection and data analyses as part of the validation process in this ethnography. Qualitative content analyses followed by thematic analyses highlighted the implementation of family-centred practices (FCP) as a main theme. Parents identified how EI professionals using FCP embraced collaborative practices. FCP resulted in parents leading the EI process for their children. More specifically, EI professionals shared strategies and information to support parents in gaining a deeper understanding of their children's individual developmental characteristics. Parents expressed how empowering this level of understanding was for them as they learned to articulate what were their children's needs for developmental, health and educational services. Recommendations for future research include inquiring about parents' experiences for families of diverse constellations and/or residing in smaller urban or rural communities.

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