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Virtual Kit: Itinerant ECSE Services Through Coaching/Consultation

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Whether you are an early intervention service provider working with families and childcare providers or an itinerant early childhood special educator providing services within regular education preschool settings, the use of collaborative consultation or coaching as a primary method of service delivery is fundamental to positive outcomes for the children you serve.

Providing early intervention and special education services to young children and their families in home and community settings is a complex task. Effective inclusion requires planning and coordination to ensure children not only have access to a variety of learning activities and settings, but also have the supports needed to ensure individual needs are met and children are able to participate in programs as fully as possible (DEC /NAEYC, 2009).

A common recommendation within the professional literature regarding itinerant services is the use of collaborative-consultation to ensure the model's effectiveness (Buysee & Wesley, 2001; Dinnebeil et al., 2006; Dinnebeil et al., 2009; Hanft, Rush & Shelden, 2004; Horn & Sandall, 2001; Sandall, McLean, & Smith, 2000). While there is not yet a research-base specific to the efficacy of a consultative approach to special education services provided by itinerant early childhood professionals, Dinnebeil and her colleagues (2009) have identified the consultative approach as a "promising practice" based on supporting research in the areas of early childhood coaching, the effectiveness of distributed learning opportunities across daily activities, and the research supporting behavioral consultation. Similarly, Rush and Sheldon (2005) describe the use of coaching as an "evidence-based" service delivery strategy supported by research in adult learning principals. An itinerant ECSE professional's goal is to apply adult learning principals of consultation and coaching to support a child's caregiver's use of interventions within that child's daily routine and everyday learning opportunities.

The itinerant professional spends less time with individual children than children's families, early childhood teachers, and/or child care providers, therefore it is makes practical sense that a child's primary caregivers participate in the design, selection, and implementation of intervention strategies across a child's day. (Dinnebeil et al., 2009; Hanft, Rush & Shelden, 2004; Jung, 2003; McWilliam & Scott, 2001; Wolery, 2005). Consultation is an essential element of an itinerant service delivery model and can be used to address:

  1. children's physical access within settings;
  2. support for children's social inclusion;
  3. support for children's active engagement in activities;
  4. identification of and implementation of children's Individual Family Service Plans (IFSP)/Individual Education Program (IEP) goals; and
  5. modifications of supports (Horn & Sandall, 2001).

Time spent in consultation and/or coaching can ultimately provide children with more opportunities for intervention and practice than a pull-out service delivery model (Dinnebeil et al., 2009; McWilliam, 1995).

Show me now! (I need this tomorrow.)

These websites will help you find an evidence-based practice or the evidence base for your practices.

What does this look like in practice? (I have a little more time to read about this.)

What does the ECRC have on this topic?

Buysse, V., & Wesley, P. (2009). Consultation in Early Childhood Settings. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Dinnebeil, L. A., & McInerney, W. F. (2011). A Guide to Itinerant Early Childhood Special Education Services. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Dinnebeil, L., Pretti-Frontczak, K., & McInerney, W. (2009). A consultative itinerant approach to service delivery: considerations for the early childhood community. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 40, 435-445.

Hanft, B. E., Rush, D. D., & Shelden, M. L. L. (2004). Coaching Families and Colleagues in Early Childhood. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Klein, M. D., Richardson-Gibbs, A.M., Kilpatrick, S. & Harris, K. (2004). Project Support: Itinerant Consultation Handbook, California State University.

Milbourne, S. A., & Campbell, P. H. (2007). Cara's Kit: Consultation guide. Philadelphia, PA: Thomas Jefferson University.

Nelson, C., Lindeman, D. P., & Stroup-Rentier, V. L. (2011). Supporting early childhood special education personnel for itinerant service delivery through a state-level technical assistance project. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 32(4), 367-380.

Rush, D. D., & Shelden, M. L. L. (2011). The Early Childhood Coaching Handbook. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

Sandall, S., Hemmeter, M. L., Smith, B. J., & McLean, M. E. (Eds.). (2005). DEC Recommended Practices: A Comprehensive Guide for Practical Application in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education. Longmont, CO. : Sopris West.

Sandall, S., & Schwartz, I. (2008). Building Blocks for Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing.

For additional resources related to the topic go to the KITS Early Child Resource Center and click on ECRC catalogue, or call (620) 421-6550 ext. 1638 for personal assistance.

How can I find training materials on this topic?

What if I still need help?

Contact KITS by e-mail to request assistance or by calling 1-800-362-0390 ext. 1638.

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Buysee, V., & Wesley, P. W. (2001). Models of collaboration for early intervention. In P. M. Blasco (Editor), Early Intervention Services For Infants, Toddlers, and their Families (pp.258-291). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

DEC/NAEYC. (2009). Early childhood inclusion: A joint position statement of the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina: FPG Child Development Institute.

Dinnebeil, L., McInerney, W., & Hale, L. (2006a). Understanding the roles and responsibilities of itinerant ECSE teachers through Delphi research. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 26(3), 153-166.

Dinnebeil, L., Pretti-Frontczak, K., & McInerney, W. (2009). A consultative itinerant approach to service delivery: Considerations for the early childhood community. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 40, 435-445.

Hanft, B. E., Rush, D. D., & Shelden, M. L. (2004). Coaching: families and colleagues in early childhood. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Horn, E., & Sandall, S. (2001). The visiting teacher: A model of inclusive ECSE service delivery. Young Exceptional Children Monograph, 2, 49-58.

Jung, L. A. (2003). More is better: Maximizing natural learning opportunities. Young Exceptional Children, 6(3), 21 - 25.

McWilliam, R. A. (1995). Integration of therapy and consultative special education: A continuum in early intervention. Infants and Young Children, 7(4), 29-38.

McWilliam, R. A., & Scott, S. (2001). Therapy ain't tennis lessons. Retrieved 3/28/03, from http://www.fpg.unc.edu/~inclusion/IT.pdf .

Rush, D. D., & Shelden, M. L. L. (2005). Evidence-based definition of coaching practices CASEinPoint (Vol. 1). CASEinPoint.

Sandall, S., McLean, M. E., & Smith, B. J. (Eds.). (2000). DEC recommended practices in early intervention/early childhood special education. Longmont, Colorado: Sopris West.

Wolery, M. (2005). Child-focused practices. In S. Sandall, M. L. Hemmeter, B. J. Smith & M. E. McLean (Eds.), DEC recommended practices: a comprehensive guide for practical application in early intervention / early childhood special education. Longemont, CO.: Sopris West.

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