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Caregiver Coaching Strategies for Early Intervention Providers: Moving Toward Operational Definitions

Friedman, Mollie MS, CCC-SLP; Woods, Juliann PhD, CCC-SLP; Salisbury, Christine PhD

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0b013e31823d8f12
Original Study

Early intervention (EI) providers increasingly coach and collaborate with caregivers to strengthen and support caregiver–child interactions. The EI providers learning to coach other adults benefit from knowing what, exactly, they should do to support caregivers. This article serves two purposes. First, it proposes an operationally defined, theoretically based, and reliably used set of definitions (behaviors) that describe coaching strategies that providers can use to support caregiver learning. Second, it suggests possible applications of these definitions for EI providers, administrators, and researchers. We discuss underlying theories of adult learning and the process by which the definitions were developed. Preliminary evidence regarding the utility of these definitions is presented by using videotape data of provider coaching practices in home visits from three different studies. Descriptive data from these programs and home visits illustrate how the coaching definitions can be used to distinguish implementation differences and how they could be used to support professional development efforts for EI coaching and consultation.

Florida State University, Tallahassee (Drs. Friedman and Woods); and University of Illinois, Chicago (Dr. Salisbury).

Correspondence: Mollie Friedman, MS, CCC-SLP, Florida State University, 127 Honors Way, Tallahassee, FL 32306 (

This article was supported, in part, by grants from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs–-Project LIFE: Leadership in Family-Centered Early Intervention Personnel Preparation grant (H325D070023) and Kidtalk-Tactics Model Demonstration Center on Early Childhood Language Intervention (H326M070004)—to FSU, Juliann Woods, coprincipal investigator, and by a demonstration project from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (H324M030128-05) to the University of Illinois-Chicago, Christine Salisbury, principal investigator.

The opinions expressed are not those of the U.S. Department of Education, and no official endorsement should be inferred. Gratitude is expressed to the staff and families at FSU Communication and Early Childhood Research and Practice Center and the UIC Child & Family Development Center for their cooperation and support of the authors' efforts in this project.

The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

©2012Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.