Paul, D., & Roth, F.P. (2011). Guiding Principles and Clinical Applications for Speech-Language Pathology Practice in Early Intervention. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 42, 320-330.
This clinical forum note describes four guiding principles in early intervention. Early intervention is defined as services provided to those from birth to 3 years who have, or are at risk for, communication, speech, language, hearing, feeding, swallowing, and/or emergent literacy problems. The services encompass screening/assessment, goal setting/intervention, consultation, service coordination, transition planning, and advocacy. SLPs play a central role in early intervention.
Principle 1 encompasses the idea that services are family centred, and culturally and linguistically responsive. Such services support family involvement in the child’s development, and positive interactions. Principle 2 highlights the need for services to be developmentally supportive and promote children’s participation in their natural environments. Principle 3 refers to services that are comprehensive, coordinated, and team based. Domains of development are interdependent during early childhood requiring comprehensive and coordinated services. Finally, Principle 4 says that services are based on the highest quality evidence available. This evidence may be external and drawn from published research findings or internal including policy, informed clinical opinion, and patient preferences.
There is much to agree with in these principles. Optimal implementation remains a challenge in many settings, but is a good target!