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Parent Education and Family Support

Early intervention programs have aimed at improving parent-child interactions for many years to increase developmental outcomes for children (Seitz & Provence, 1990). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1990) focused on families and services provided in the childs natural environment.  The focus has since evolved to also include an interactive relationship between  supporting professionals and the family (Turnball, Blue-Banning, Turbiville, & Park, 1999).  Parent education should include a variety of activities designed to specifically target the special needs of each individual family.  Parent education should include goals for future outcomes of the activity, how to provide an environment for the child designed to facilitate development, and linking stimulation strategies to the intended goals.

The Hanen Approach, Milieu Therapy, and Active Learning are all early intervention programs that have a large focus on parental involvement.  Unfortunately, there is limited recent research to provide data on the effectiveness of parent education.  The information provided has been based on clinical observations and experiences.  For home-based therapy, there is also little research available identifying optimal intervention approaches.  Parents and speech-language pathologists can use the information provided as a foundation for what is available, but take into account that much more research is needed to back up the clinical observations and research data that are presently available. 

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