The Role of Mentors in Early Intervention Referrals: Overlooked Views of Pediatric Residency Training Directors
Objectives There continues to be a pressing need to increase referrals to family-centered early intervention (EI) for more eligible infants and toddlers with inadequate consideration for the role of senior, mentoring professionals. Methods To address a dearth in our understanding, a subset of Pediatric Residency Training Directors shared views on EI, referral, and relevant training efforts. Results Participating directors primarily reported limited understanding of EI. Greater knowledge of family-focused EI correlated with its perceived helpfulness (r = .420; p = .021), which positively correlated with referring a child to EI. Despite 67% of the sample viewing pediatricians as ‘most important’ in screenings and EI referrals, residents were perceived as only somewhat aware of EI referral and services, and only somewhat aware of differences between clinic options and Part C EI. Although nearly all respondents noted minimal EI exposure during training, only 43% felt this amount was ‘inadequate/insufficient’. The sample was fairly evenly divided in being ‘extremely’ or ‘somewhat’ interested in communicating with state EI leaders. Conclusions for Practice This preliminary analysis describes perceptions among senior medical professionals who may influence referrals via mentoring, training, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Findings inform next steps in terms of research, improving education for directors and residents, and collaborative information-sharing to bolster family-centered EI referrals to improve child and family outcomes.
KeywordsEarly intervention Referral Family-centered service Pediatric Residency Training Directors Child Find
Special thanks to Dr. Kathryn Wolff Heller, Dr. James E. Coyle, Dr. Moshe Markowitz, and Dr. Kevin Marks for their thoughtful and detailed feedback on the survey questions. Much appreciation is extended to the Pediatric Residency Training Directors who participated in this study.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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