Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Implementation II: Show Me the Research

Question: We have a supervisor who wants to see the research that better outcomes are occurring for children with using this method of service delivery (referring to my routines-based early intervention in natural environments).

Answer: I would like to see the research that better outcomes are occurring for children who get the current method of service delivery.

One might argue that the change model should produce the evidence. That the onus isn't on the homeostatic model but on the one requiring effort and psychological unrest. Another way of looking at this we learned a long time ago with respect to the research basis for inclusion. The model with the backing of theory, rational thought, and moral certainty does not have the onus of proof. The atheoretical, irrational, and morally questionable (i.e., not empowering families and other caregivers adequately) model has the onus of proof.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Implementation I: Writing Outcomes for Family-Level Needs

The next few blog entries will be about implementation issues that have arisen in one state I've been helping.

Question: Instead of writing 10 IFSP outcomes, some teachers [home visitors] are using [the daily contact log] to document concerns such as needing help finding day care, putting plastic on the windows, looking for a toddler bed, etc. The need/concern is documented, and the teacher follows up with the concern on the next visit.

Answer: These kinds of concerns are family needs, which are supposed to be part of early intervention and on the IFSP. What makes the askers of this question think that these needs shouldn't be outcomes? Do the have some child needs they also don't write outcomes for? Our accountability is at the level of outcomes, so we need important activities to be listed as outcomes, not hidden away in the child's record for which there is no accountability.

If the need came up during the Routines-Based Interview and the family selected it as an outcome, obviously it is written as an outcome. If a need comes up in the course of home visiting, it does not necessarily need to be added as an outcome. If much time and energy is going to be put on resolving the issue or if it becomes a big deal for the family, it should be added as an outcome, if the family chooses. Professionals should encourage not discourage this. Home visitors should be working on outcomes, so if something is not an outcome and they're spending much time on it, they are not doing what they should be doing. Similarly, if it's important to the family, we need to see that there is truly a goal to be accomplished, so an outcome gets written.