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Just Being Kids

Ippensen, Lorrie; Jozefiak, Jennifer


Duke University

Just Being Kids,JFK Partners, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and Early Childhood Connections, Colorado Department of Education, Denver Colorado, 2001, 50 minutes, $75.00 non-profit purchase.

The video Just Being Kids was produced by Larry Edelman as a collaborative production of Early Childhood Connections, Colorado Department of Education and ENRICH Outreach, JFK Partners, and University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. It was made possible by funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs and supported by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities. Just Being Kids was developed with attentiveness to the vision for pediatric practice. This vision has been shaped by the principles specified under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as well as by responses of families of children who receive support services, and finally by feedback from practitioners who provide early intervention services. The key components of this vision are reflected in the four major themes of this video. They are: 1) supporting children's learning and development; 2) enhancing families' capacities to support their children's learning and development; 3) working with families to achieve meaningful outcomes; and 4) providing supports and services in everyday routines, activities, and places.

The video Just Being Kids is an educational tool for trainers, educators, and team leaders. It is designed to provide guidance for the development of training programs emphasizing early intervention supports and services. Creative examples of support services delivered in everyday routines, activities and places are captured through six personal stories of families and their children.

The stories conveyed in the video are real stories told by real people: the child, the family, and the primary service provider. The primary service provider, whether a physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech and language pathologist, child development specialist, etc., represents the entire transdisciplinary team of which he or she is a member. The primary service provider works closely together with the family to prioritize objectives and develop appropriate interventions to produce meaningful outcomes. The interventions and outcomes depicted within the six video segments are unique to each individual child and his or her family. Examples of interventions include: supporting the child to play at the playground, enriching the bath time experience, supporting the child's ability to make choices in order to participate in play and family routines, enhancing the child's ability to participate in a community experience of grocery shopping, supporting a child's ability to walk independently, and supporting a child's ability to use a spoon independently and communicate actively and effectively at home and at day care.

Although each video clip is specific to one child and family, there are several major points related to providing supports and services in everyday routines, activities, and places that are illustrated throughout the entire video. It is emphasized that supports and services need to be meaningful to the family and that it is necessary for service providers to continually listen actively to the family regarding their culture, typical activities, life-style, and schedules. Furthermore, in order to fully enhance the child's participation and learning, it is important for the service provider to “be there,” to observe and participate in the family's situations first-hand. The video encourages providers to assist families to recognize the learning opportunities that exist when interventions are incorporated into every-day routines for the child. Additionally, it is recommended that early intervention activities be enjoyable and engaging for the child, supporting the child's active participation and changing along with the child. Effective interpersonal communication skills, modeling, demonstration, coaching, and teaching are other major points illustrated within the video. Finally, major points regarding transdisciplinary teamwork are demonstrated. These include: taking advantage of each discipline's creative perspective to support the entire development of the child, providing consultation and support to the primary service provider, videotaping complex situations in order to share information with others for collaborative problem-solving.

Accompanying the video is a facilitator's guide offering suggestions about how to use the video during training sessions. The guide suggests the six stories could be shown individually. Therefore to assist in the selection of which story to use with which audience, the guide offers background information on the stories including a brief summary paragraph, specific characteristics, and major points of each. Discussion questions to encourage reflective thinking and enhance learning are provided in a list of general questions as well as more specific questions pertaining to each story. Additionally, other learning activities are available within the guide that could serve as individual exercises, in pairs or small group activities, or in large groups. The questions also raise issues for a provider to keep in mind when developing a plan of care for a child and family.

The facilitator's guide also contains several other components. For example, handouts regarding key features of quality early intervention supports and services are found within the guide. Each of these features are explicitly described and include: family-centered services; cultural competency; services provided in everyday routines, activities, and places; participation; developmentally appropriate practice; functional, meaningful outcomes; transdisciplinary team; and coordination. Another section of the guide provides a set of six principles established by Early Childhood Connections, the Colorado Department of Education Part C initiative, written to guide how early intervention supports and services should be provided. Supplemental information about Early Childhood Connections, as well as about ENRICH Outreach and JFK Partners of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center is also located within the facilitator's guide. Furthermore, an extensive bibliography based on “natural environments” is found at the end of the guide.

We strongly recommend the use of this video and facilitator's guide to anyone wishing to learn real-life implications and examples of early intervention services carried out in a way that seeks to achieve excellence in pediatric practice across multiple disciplines. This video package is an exceptional teaching tool that is well organized. Instructors could easily use this package to facilitate creative training programs that would encourage practitioners to accept the challenge of providing excellent pediatric care. The producers recognize that providing supports and services in everyday routines, activities, and places may represent significant changes and therefore challenges in many settings and across disciplines. However, this video offers a vision of what services can look like and how providing services in the natural environment also provides the opportunity for each discipline to creatively enrich a child's life.

Lorrie Ippensen

Jennifer Jozefiak

Duke University

© 2004 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.