Understanding Systems, Processes and Practices

Topics covered in this course include: family systems, the Early Start system, making decisions using evidence-based practice, the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) process, and supporting families using coaching and other help-giving practices.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the critical role of the family and family support in the care and development of young children with disabilities.
  • Describe Early Start program eligibility, program requirements, and procedural safeguards.
  • Research, appraise, and identify appropriate evidence-based early intervention practices.
  • Explain the IFSP process, including required components and timelines.
  • Describe the practices related to and benefits of coaching and relationship-based approaches to early intervention services.

Topics Covered

Topic 1: Family Systems

  • Family systems theory
  • Family characteristics and roles
  • Family interactions and supports
  • Impact of stressors and protective factors on family functioning
  • Family support resources

Topic 2: Early Start System

  • Federal statute and regulations
  • California statute and regulations
  • State and federal system components and partners
  • Performance plan and annual performance report
  • Eligibility: developmental delay, established risk
  • Procedural safeguards: parents’ rights, mediation, due process, complaints

Topic 3: Making Decisions Using Evidence-Based Practice

  • What is evidence-based practice?
  • Process for evidence-based decision-making
  • PICO (Person-Intervention-Comparison-Outcomes): Defining a research question
  • Research Resources
  • Relevance, validity, and reliability

Topic 4: The Individualized Family Service Plan Process

  • Definitions
  • Phases and timelines
  • Family concerns, priorities, and resources
  • Transition at age 3

Topic 5: Supporting Families Using Coaching and Other Help-Giving Practices

  • The impact of help-giving practices on family functioning and early intervention effectiveness
  • Types of help-giving supports and services
  • Principles of partnership
  • Steps of coaching: initiation, observation, action, reflection, feedback
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