Special Instruction and Early Intervention
Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004) describes an array of early intervention services, including special instruction, that are available to support families of eligible infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities. The purpose of these services is to support parents and other caregivers as they interact with their children in ways that enhance the child’s development and participation in daily activities and routines (Childress, 2004; Trivette & Dunst, 2000).
Generally, early intervention services, including special instruction, focus on active caregiver-professional partnerships that are grounded in family-centered practices and guided by family priorities and outcomes written into each child’s Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP; Part C, IDEA, 2004, Sec. 303.18). Collaborative early intervention visits with the family focus on identifying how to integrate learning strategies into family routines and how the caregiver can independently implement these strategies throughout the week when the early interventionist is not present (Sandall, Hemmeter, Smith, & McLean, 2005; Ridgley, Snyder, McWilliam, & Davis, 2011). Intervention is provided in the child’s natural environment, including places where the child and family naturally spend time (e.g., home, childcare center, local park) as well as in settings that are natural for the child’s peers who do not have disabilities. Materials, activities and routines that are familiar to the child and family are used during visits and provide the context for individualized, meaningful intervention that appropriately addresses the child’s strengths and needs (Copple & Bredekamp, 2009).
Within the framework of early intervention, special instruction is provided in accordance with these recommended practices as well as with the Agreed Upon Mission and Key Principles for Providing Early Intervention Services in Natural Environments (http://ectacenter.org/~pdfs/topics/families/Finalmissionandprinciples3_11_08.pdf).
Source: Division of Early Childhood, Council for Exceptional Children