Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Gail Bass


Child Rearing; Disabled Children; Early Intervention (Education); Infant; Parenting


The purpose of this study was to investigate family-centered advocacy in early intervention, specifically the development of a parent handbook for families of young children who are eligible to receive early intervention services in Wyoming. Early intervention programs provide services for children with disabilities ages birth to three and their families under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2004), Part C. The resource handbook was designed for parents and community partners so that they may better understand and utilize early intervention in the community where they reside. The parent handbook was designed to be as a written reference of services for parents that allows them access to information regarding their child's programming and intervention. Involving family members in assessment, evaluation, goal and strategy development, and direct intervention will help to ensure their satisfaction with their child's programming and the best possible intervention for the child. Parents can be involved to a greater extent when they are familiar with definitions, processes, and expectations regarding early intervention.

It was determined through multiple facets that a need existed for a handbook for parents entering the early intervention system. This need was established following discussion with early intervention personnel, administrators and parents at STRIDE Learning Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming. In addition, a review of early intervention literature and research reinforced the need identified by the involved professionals. This author's background is in pediatric occupational therapy, specifically the birth to three population, as well as family service coordination and thus the literature review focused on family-centered provision of services. The parent handbook was designed to be an advocacy tool for families so that they may have a reference to understand the process and product of the services they receive.

Through the review of research it was found that provision of a family-centered plan of care is of utmost importance in early intervention practice today. Federal legislation as well as best practice literature from a variety of disciplines supports the call to support family-centered practice. Occupational therapists can play a critical role in facilitation of these types of services by promoting function through adaptation, compensation and remediation techniques while providing family support throughout the entire process.

The Early Intervention Parent Handbook is designed for use at STRIDE Learning Center in Cheyenne, Wyoming. The handbook, which was written in parent friendly language, answers frequently asked questions parents have when their child and family enter early intervention. Additionally, the handbook provides a glossary of special education terms, a list of community resources used by families and a copy of Wyoming Part C Infant/Toddler and Family Rights