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Evaluation of the Feasibility and Perceived Value of Integrating Learn the Signs. Act Early. Developmental Monitoring Resources in Early Head Start

Abstract

Many children with developmental disabilities are not identified before age 3 years of age, preventing them from being able to fully benefit from early intervention services. Early childhood educators, particularly those in Early Head Start (EHS) programs, are important partners in the early identification of children with developmental delays. Learn the Signs. Act Early. (LTSAE) is a program of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that provides free developmental monitoring resources to increase the early identification of children with developmental delays and disabilities. This paper presents findings from the first evaluation of the use of LTSAE resources in EHS, which was conducted across four states and 11 EHS programs from fall 2018 through spring 2019. Surveys (n = 448) and interviews (n = 39) with EHS management, staff, and parents indicated that LTSAE resources were valued and accepted, and their use in EHS considered feasible. Importantly, families and staff reported the LTSAE materials provided shared language to help them more effectively discuss development. These findings inform EHS and other early education programs that wish to enhance developmental monitoring, screening, and referral.

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Funding

This manuscript was supported by Cooperative Agreement OT13-1302 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the CDC.

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Authors

Contributions

All authors contributed to the study conception and design. Material preparation, data collection and analysis were performed by JP, FS, ET, AEB, RS-H, CJ, SV, and GC. The first draft of the manuscript was written by JA and all authors commented on previous versions of the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Julia Abercrombie.

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The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical Approval

Institutional Review Boards at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Indiana University, University of Iowa, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison approved, exempted, or determined that the project did not constitute research.

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Abercrombie, J., Pann, J., Shin, F. et al. Evaluation of the Feasibility and Perceived Value of Integrating Learn the Signs. Act Early. Developmental Monitoring Resources in Early Head Start. Early Childhood Educ J (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-021-01247-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-021-01247-5

Keywords

  • Early identification
  • Early Head Start
  • Family engagement
  • Developmental monitoring
  • Developmental screening
  • Early childhood education