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How Professionals Collaborate to Support Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities in Child Care


As it is common for infants and toddlers with disabilities to receive their early intervention (EI) services in child care programs, this mixed method study examined the experiences of child care and EI providers (e.g., occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech-language pathologists) in collaborating to support infants and toddlers with disabilities in child care settings. Through an online survey and in-person focus groups across a large state, findings indicated that although professionals may interact with each other during EI visits at child care, meaningful collaboration such as including child care providers in Individualized Family Service Plans and embedding intervention strategies into daily routines was minimal. Participants noted many barriers including liability concerns; information sharing; funding and time for collaboration; and minimal training and understanding of child care and EI programming. Participants provided suggestions to support future collaboration including building relationships through shared training, substitute staffing to attend meetings, and clear program and state policies.

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The contents of this review were supported by funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration of Children and Families (90YE0163, Project Officer Ann Rivera) and U.S. Department of Education (H325D110037, Project Officer Dawn Ellis). However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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Correspondence to Jenna M. Weglarz-Ward.

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Weglarz-Ward, J.M., Santos, R.M. & Hayslip, L.A. How Professionals Collaborate to Support Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities in Child Care. Early Childhood Educ J 48, 643–655 (2020).

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  • Infants
  • Disability
  • Child care