Facilitating Toddlers’ Social Communication from Within the Parent-Child Relationship: Application of Family-Centered Early Intervention and Mediated Learning Principles

  • Hannah H. SchertzEmail author
  • Kathryn Horn
Part of the Autism and Child Psychopathology Series book series (ACPS)


Two complementary theoretical orientations, family-centered early intervention and mediated learning, provide guidance for parent-mediated intervention for toddlers on the autism spectrum. Early intervention for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families has evolved toward a set of practices that are family-centered, relationship-based, situated in natural environments, and embedded in natural experiences. Mediated learning emphasizes competency-oriented principles that promote “learning to learn” through focusing, organizing and planning, giving meaning, encouraging, and expanding. This chapter describes the integration of early intervention principles within a mediated learning framework to cultivate developmentally important social communication competencies for toddlers with autism. The aim of this approach is to embed relationship-based learning in naturally occurring interactions and to build on prior learning and personal interests as a means of promoting learner self-efficacy, motivation, and active engagement in the social learning process. This integrated framework provides a structure to guide both parent and toddler learning by actively facilitating parents’ conceptual understanding and confidence for supporting toddler social engagement.


Mediated learning Early intervention Parent-mediated intervention Active engagement Autism Toddlers 



We would like to acknowledge the support and assistance of our research colleagues Samuel L. Odom, Kathleen M. Baggett, Penny Githens, Stacia Mitchell, and Martha Lee. The conceptual framework for this chapter evolved in part through research on the Joint Attention Mediated Learning project with funding support from the Institute for Education Sciences, US Department of Education, #R324A120291.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Curriculum & InstructionIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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