Infant Development Program: Family Resources
Building Positive Relationships Through a Strengths-Based Approach
The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) Infant Development Program (IDP) works closely with families and caregivers to develop positive relationships in order to support learning and development in their young children through high quality early intervention experiences. This positive, strengths-based approach utilizes a parent education model and coaching strategies to facilitate parent learning. Coaching is “an interactive process of observation and reflection in which the coach promotes a parent’s or other care provider’s ability to support a child’s participation in everyday experiences and interactions with family members and peers across settings.” (Source: Coaching Families and Colleagues… Infants and Young Children, 16(1), p. 33.)
Early Intervention in Natural Environments
Early intervention takes place in the child and family’s natural environments. All children must experience living, playing, and communicating in typical environments in order to become fully included in the community.
“Natural environments” are locations or learning environments typical for same-aged infants or toddlers without a disability. The experience involves interaction between parents/caregivers, the child, or others who facilitate learning opportunities within the context of the family. Activities within natural learning environments may include—but are not limited to—meal times, bath time, family visits, community outings, and celebrations.
Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that “to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the child, early intervention services must be provided in natural environments, including the home and community settings in which children without disabilities participate.” (34 CFR §303.12(b))
Principles for Providing Early Intervention Services in Natural Environments
- Infants and toddlers learn best through everyday experiences and interactions with familiar people in familiar contexts, during daily routines.
- All families, with the necessary supports and resources, can enhance their children’s learning and development.
- The primary role of a service provider in early intervention is to work with and support family members and caregivers in children’s lives.
- The early intervention process, from initial contacts through transition, must be dynamic and individualized to reflect the child’s and family members’ preferences, learning styles and cultural beliefs.
- IFSP outcomes must be functional and based on children’s and families’ needs and family-identified priorities.
- The family’s priorities, needs, and interests are addressed most appropriately by a primary provider who represents and receives team and community support.
- Interventions with young children and family members must be based on explicit principles, validated practices, best available research, and relevant laws and regulations.