Children with special needs often require additional supports in child care settings. The provision of technical assistance (TA) and consultation to child care teachers is an established method for addressing this need. This study expands on existing research by bringing the perspective of different adults (parents, technical assistance consultants, teachers, and child care center directors) together to better understand the experiences of all parties involved in TA cases for children between the ages of three and five. The concerns most frequently leading to the consultation were social-emotional-behavioral (50.5%), developmental (32.3%), medical (28.3%), and environmental risk (14%), and one quarter of parents reported that their child had more than one of these concerns. Parents’ evaluations of the outcomes of the consultation were predicted by the parent’s race, level of education, and whether they saw a behavioral concern as the initial reason for the consultation. Open-ended comments provided more insight into each group of adults’ experiences, some of which included frustration about feeling involved/included in the consultation (for parents) and parents’ not being involved in and/or engaged with the consultation (for other adults). The study’s findings emphasize the importance of all adults working as a team to ensure the best possible care for children with special needs.
Key Take Away Points
- How parents evaluated of the outcomes of the consultation were predicted by the parent’s race, level of education, and whether they saw a behavioral concern as the initial reason for the consultation.
- Adults working as a team is critical to ensure the best possible care for children with special needs.
- Parents reported not being included in consultation.
- Adults reported that parents were not engaged in the consultation.
Cyleste Collins, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Associate at the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development. Dr. Collins' work includes examining the characteristics of homeless and doubled up families in Cuyahoga County, examining families' experiences with foreclosure, and evaluating the Cuyahoga County’s Invest in Children special needs child care program, and evaluation of local programs focused on reducing health disparities in vulnerable populations. Robert L. Fischer, Ph.D. is a Research Associate Professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences of Case Western Reserve University. He is also Co-Director of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at MSASS, and leads the Center’s efforts in regard to evaluation research. Nina Lalich, M.S.P.H. in Biostatistics, is an Analyst/Programmer at the Center. She provides data management and statistical analysis in support of the Center’s research and evaluation efforts. She is currently involved in the evaluation study of Cuyahoga County’s Invest in Children program. She has also participated in studies of welfare recipients and welfare leavers. Prior to joining the Center, Nina was a Public Health Service officer with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
This study was funded through the Office of Early Childhood/Invest in Children of Cuyahoga County, Ohio, with support from The Cleveland Foundation. The authors also thank Starting Point for their staff's assistance with this study. The authors are grateful to the staff of the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development for their assistance in the research. In particular, Jessie Rudolph, Curtis O'Neal, and Paige Hardy provided substantial assistance. We are grateful also to the TA agency, child care centers, parents, and others who responded to our survey and assisted in other ways.
Collins, Cyleste C.; Fischer, Rob; and Lalich, Nina
"Enhancing Child Care for Children with Special Needs Through Technical Assistance,"
Journal of Family Strengths: Vol. 14
, Article 9.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/jfs/vol14/iss1/9