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Key Principles in Service Delivery

Developmentally Appropriate Care

  • Provide support

  • Exhibit patience

  • Have reasonable developmental/age-appropriate expectations

  • Use slow, simple instructions

  • Break down tasks into smaller steps when needed

  • Assist child in focus and attention on instructions

  • Provide consistency and structure

  • Provide choices, when possible

  • Give time to practice and for information processing

  • Promote socialization with other children/siblings

  • Incorporate therapy activities into daily routines

Family-Centered Care

  • Remember professionals come and go, family are constant

  • Support family/professionals—collaboration throughout continuum of care

  • Honor family traditions and diversity

  • Acknowledge family strengths and methods of coping

  • Recognize developmental needs of child and family

  • Consider emotional and financial support needs of child and family

  • Create flexible, culturally sensitive, family-responsive care systems

Culturally Competent/Sensitive Care

  • Recognize culture-identified definitions of “family”

  • Appreciate that family choices may be based in cultural traditions

  • Integrate cultural knowledge into facility policies and procedures

  • Work within and use the support of community helping networks

  • Design and implement services to meet the unique needs of individuals and families

  • Direct service by culturally preferred choices, not culturally blind or culturally free interventions

  • Seek to provide equal and nondiscriminatory access to services

Using Natural Environments

  • Provide services in settings that are familiar to the child/family and represent the places where they carry out their routine daily activities (home, child care centers and preschools, playgrounds, libraries, shopping centers, restaurants)

  • Incorporate the people and things that are a part of the child’s natural environment (siblings, grandparents, neighbors, etc.)

  • Provide practice with a focus on function and socialization

Communicating With Children

  • Allow time for the child to feel comfortable; take a position at the child's eye level, and speak in a quiet, confident voice

  • Avoid actions the child may perceive as threatening (e.g., sudden advances, extended eye contact)

  • Try communicating through the parent/caregiver or through transition objects (dolls, puppets, stuffed animals) with shy or withdrawn children

  • Use simple words; short sentences; and clear, specific, positively oriented directions and suggestions

  • Be honest and encourage expression of concerns and fears

  • Provide opportunities for older children to talk when parents are not present, when appropriate


  • Steps in the process

    • Identify and clarify problem

    • Consider alternative solutions

    • Select, implement, and monitor solutions

    • Evaluate solutions

  • Collaborative consultation—process by which regular and special education teachers or teachers and specialists work toward common goals with shared responsibilities

  • Methods for including consultation on IFSP or IEP

    • Consult with child at specified time

    • Consult with teacher/family at specified time

    • Consult as a support to direct intervention

    • Consult listed as an objective/benchmark to support a specific IEP goal

    • Consult listed in the "specially designed instructions" section or as an aid/support to personnel

Special Intervention Considerations for Children and Adolescents—Key: Indications—Contraindications—Take ...

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