Resilience is defined as a being able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions; capable of withstanding shock or aversive situations without permanent deformation or rupture.
For more than 200 years, our country has demonstrated resilience in the face of adversity, change, tragedy, and prosperity. The reason for this has been because we, the people of the United States, have taken our citizenship seriously. As such, we have planned, educated, advocated, and implemented the changes we wanted to see in our government and our country, changes that enhanced the quality of life for all citizens. We have elected officials who understood and were accountable to the balance of power created by our constitution, and who were expected to meet ethical standards reflective of principles of democracy far older than our country. As citizens, it is our responsibility to ensure that these values and principles are guiding the design and adoption of laws and policies that benefit all.
In times of instability, or change, our worst offense is complacency to an ongoing situation that requires action(s). Complacency is defined as a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often, while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like.
Our field of early childhood intervention (ECI) is currently experiencing such instability, as is the field of disability and health care services for our most vulnerable population. As professionals in ECI, we must demonstrate resilience and fight against the complacency that will allow legal and policy decisions to erode programs and services that have supported infants and young children with disabilities and their families; programs and services that were built to enhance children's development and improve their families' quality of life. These include the Affordable Care Act, which allowed for health insurance coverage for all regardless of preexisting conditions, and the Medicaid program. Although Medicaid has been seen by many in our country as insurance for the poor, it is much more: It is the core funding mechanism for community-based health and long-term services to children and adults with disabilities, regardless of income level. In fact, both Parts C and B of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act utilize Medicaid funds to support the delivery of early intervention (EI) and school-based therapy services for eligible children. Part C, in particular, will be eroded in many states with the proposed reorganization of the Medicaid program. Medicaid has also supported medical care at home for children who have complex needs, regardless of income level; allowing them to remain at home with their family, as opposed to living in a hospital. These programs must not be weakened. If so, there will be many families and children who will experience negative effects on their lives. Our country will have many long-term social and economic consequences.
Our field is resilient, and it will continue to be, as long as we in the field do not become complacent to the negative changes being proposed that will affect those we serve.
Our first article focused on the role of families in their children's learning. Brook Sawyer and Philippa Campbell studied the teaching behaviors of EI providers who provided home visits to families. A sample of 265 home visits was videotaped and then rated using the Natural Environments Rating Scale–Revised. Findings suggested that incidental learning opportunities were frequently available for the child during the home visits, but the providers generally did not use these opportunities to teach parents. Differences in teaching behavior of the providers were associated with caregiver engagement, caregiver education, child disability type, and provider discipline. Recommendations for teaching parents and their children during home visits are provided.
Our second article by Patricia Blasco, Sybille Guy, Sage Saxton, and Susanne Duvall presented longitudinal data on 279 children born at high risk for developmental delay because of low birth weight (LBW). These children were followed as they aged, and information was collected on both their developmental capability and their EI enrollment. Findings suggested children born LBW receiving EI services had lower overall developmental standard scores than those not in EI. Another finding was that an equal number of children across all categories of birth weight were not receiving any EI services. Implications for the identification and enrollment of the children in EI are provided by the authors.
Harriet Able, Tracey A. West, and Chih Ing Lim used focus group methodology to identify EI practitioners' ethical concerns in daily practice. Eighty-two ECI professionals shared experiences in reaction to an EI case study that described conflicting parental and professional views about a child's services. The participants were then asked to describe their experiences with service delivery, policy implementation, ethical challenges, and the resolution strategies they used. The authors provide guidelines for ethical reflection and problem-solving strategies based on Codes of Ethics from professional organizations.
Li Luo, Patricia Snyder, Cinda L. Clark, and Xiumin Hong examined the use of teaching practices in China. Twenty preschool classrooms on Mainland China were observed using the prepublication version of the Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool for Preschool Classrooms (TPOT-P; Fox, Hemmeter, & Snyder, 2008). Teachers also completed the social-emotional teaching practices survey. The observations documented that the majority of teachers did not use key teaching practices associated with the Pyramid Model, nor did they develop individualized behavior plans for children with the most severe challenging behaviors. There was also no correlation between the observed implementation of the Pyramid Model and the teacher's self-report of their use of these. Implications of these results and considerations for future research are provided.
Our last article is an international submission from South Africa about the perception of caregivers about collaborations within their child's ECI program. Thilendree Kyarkanaye, Shakila Dada, and Alecia Samuels asked 64 caregivers to complete a questionnaire in their primary language about collaborations within the ECI teams in their child's program. The results suggested that caregivers understood the concept of collaboration in their intervention teams, yet collaboration was undervalued when compared with family-centered practices. Recommendations for improvement of caregiver's understanding of collaboration are outlined by the authors.
As always, I would like to thank the authors for their contributions and those Editorial Board members who provided the comprehensive reviews that resulted in the articles in this issue. I am also pleased that we have articles representing other countries, new authors, and members of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.
—Mary Beth Bruder, PhD
Fox L., Hemmeter M. L., Snyder P. (2008, August). Teaching Pyramid Observation Tool for preschool classrooms: Research version. Unpublished instrument and manual, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.