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Preparing Occupational Therapists for Effective Family-Centered Best Practice in Early Intervention

Elenko, Beth PhD, OTR/L, BCP, CLA

doi: 10.1097/IYC.0000000000000150
Original Research/Study

The State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate's occupational therapy (OT) Program has worked over the last decade and a half providing advanced training in early intervention (EI) through 3 OT programs for practicing and preservice occupational therapists. There are many challenges in the preparation of entry-level practitioners to work effectively using family-centered best practices. This article describes a family partnership experience (FPE), which is part of SUNY Downstate's advanced training in EI. This article outlines the evolution of our FPE through 3 advanced training programs. In these FPEs, the OT students spend time with families who receive EI during their daily lives. Students complete assignments to identify the families' priorities and concerns, understand roles and routines, and assist families to access community resources. Through this FPE, students learn about the family's perspective. This article presents quantitative and qualitative data of the FPE through students' report in course evaluations, pre- and post–self-assessed competency, and informal interviews over the 3 higher education OT programs.

Occupational Therapy Program, SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, New York.

Correspondence: Beth Elenko, PhD, OTR/L, BCP, CLA, Director, SEI Program, Occupational Therapy Program, SUNY Downstate, 450 Clarkson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11203 (

SUNY Downstate's Occupational Therapy Program received grants from (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education [2003–2009] Grant #H325A030062, Early Intervention Certificate Program for OTs [EICP-OT], and U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education [2008–2013] #HR325A030062, Early Intervention Specialization Program [EISP]). Currently, the OT program is in academic partnership with the New York City Department of Mental Health and Hygiene (NYCDOHMH), Bureau of Early Intervention (BEI).

The author declares no conflict of interest.

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