Sunday, February 10, 2019

American Academy of Pediatrics Report on Early Intervention

In October 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Children with Disabilities developed a clinical report published in PEDIATRICS, entitled “Early Intervention, IDEA Part C Services, and the Medical Home: Collaboration for Best Practices and Best Outcomes.” This report was reaffirmed by the AAP in May, 2017. In this report, the Council provides an overview of IDEA, Part C and compares it to the concept of a medical home in pediatrics. The Council also defines “best practice” early intervention models as being family-centered, using a coaching interaction style to build the capacity of caregivers, and promoting child learning within the context of natural learning environments rather than trying to create learning opportunities in artificial intervention settings. The report goes on to inform pediatricians that serving children in both traditional settings in which providers work directly with the child and early intervention programs that focus on building the capacity of caregivers to promote child learning in natural routines and activities can be confusing to families and cause mistrust of the practitioners unless well-coordinated and the differences understood by families.

The AAP report is consistent with DEC Recommended Practices including, but not limited to:

Environment 1
Practitioners provide services and supports in natural and inclusive environments during daily routines and activities to promote the child’s access to and participation in learning experiences.

Family 5
Practitioners support family functioning, promote family confidence and competence, and strengthen family-child relationships by acting in ways that recognize and build on family strengths and capacities.

Family 6
Practitioners engage the family in opportunities that support and strengthen parenting knowledge and skills and parenting competence and confidence in ways that are flexible, individualized, and tailored to the family’s preferences.

Instruction 4
Practitioners plan for and provide the level of support, accommodations, and adaptations needed for the child to access, participate, and learn within and across activities and routines.

Instruction 5
Practitioners embed instruction within and across routines, activities, and environments to provide contextually relevant learning opportunities.

When first published, we at the Family, Infant and Preschool Program (FIPP) sent a copy of the report to pediatricians and family physicians in our catchment area. We also included a letter informing the physicians that FIPP services are provided in a manner consistent with the AAP Council on Children with Disabilities report. We continue to share this report with physicians and families to help ensure their expectations of early intervention services are consistent with the AAP and DEC Recommended Practices.

How are you and your program ensuring that pediatricians and families are aware of this AAP report?

Other report and position statements are available from the AAP Council on Children with Disabilities on topics including fetal alcohol syndrome, nonoral feedings, autism spectrum disorders, motor delays, sensory integration therapies, and assistive technology.

If you are interested in writing a blog about a particular resource or topic, contact Dathan Rush ( or M’Lisa Shelden (

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