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Learning from parents' stories about what works in early intervention.

Pighini M. , Goelman H. , Buchanan M. , Schonert-Reichl K. , Brynelsen D.

2014

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 3years) 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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