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Coaching With Parents in Early Intervention: An Interdisciplinary Research Synthesis

Kemp, Peggy MS; Turnbull, Ann P. EdD

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0000000000000018
Original Research/Study
ISEI Article

The purpose of this article was to synthesize intervention studies using coaching with parents in early intervention with a focus on (a) definitions and descriptions of coaching with parents; (b) characteristics of families and coaches; (c) parameters such as settings, contexts, dosage, and professional development related to coaching; and (d) child and family outcomes. Through a search of articles from 2011 to 2013, the authors identified 8 studies that met search criteria. Results indicate that there is no common definition/description for the term “coaching with parents in early intervention.” Furthermore, the use of the term “coaching with parents” spans a continuum that on the one end can best be described as relationship-directed process and on the other end an intervenor-directed process. This continuum continues to create confusion for practitioners in appropriate use of coaching with parents. In addition, although positive outcomes are noted for infants and toddler who experience disabilities and their families, it is difficult to discern the direct impact of coaching with parents. The studies, as a whole, tend to give broad descriptions for the use of coaching but little information on how to individualize given specific child and family outcomes. Finally, the intended outcomes of coaching with parents are not fully articulated. Given these results, this synthesis has found the need for increased research efforts in the area of coaching with parents with focus on clarification of the term “coaching” and the parameters that affect its effectiveness.

Beach Center on Disability, University of Kansas, Lawrence.

Correspondence: Peggy Kemp, MS, Beach Center on Disability, University of Kansas, 1200 Sunnyside Ave, Lawrence, KS 66045 (

The author declares no conflict of interest.

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.