Family Centered Services
What exactly does this mean?
It means our families are the most important part of services. Families are the most important members of the team; we cannot evaluate children without their input and we look to families to set goals. They are with the child all day, every day, and therefore they support their children by using the recommended strategies decided on by the team. Family Centered Services recognize that the child’s family is the center of the child’s life and we look to them as the experts on the child’s strengths and needs, daily routines, and personality. In order for the child to do well, the family needs to be doing well. So, our job is to support the family.
What Does Research Say?
Family Centered Services is an exciting shift from the traditional approach of the professional working directly with the child while the family is on the sidelines, watching the process. We know children build skills at a faster rate when the parents are directly involved and strategies are part of the child’s daily routines. ELP staff members typically coach parents, providing ideas and strategies that will support the family as they build on their child’s strengths to reach their developmental goals.
The Coaching Model
Most early intervention programs in Alaska use the coaching model. Providers follow best practice models to support families. Research has shown that children achieve goals faster when parents are the primary providers of interventions. Coaching is not telling parents how to play or how to direct their child; coaching is “giving parents a chance to examine what they are doing in light of their intentions” (Flaherty, 1999). It is a conversation between the caregiver and the professional to build on each other’s strengths to increase a child’s skills so s/he is successful at home, in child care, in the community, and eventually in school and life. Coaching is used to improve existing skills, teach new skills, and encourage a parent’s self-awareness of how skills are being taught and how their child uses her skills across all environments.
At the Community Connections Early Learning Program, we provide a wide range of services, in partnership with families and the community to support the development of young children age birth to 3 years.
Our array of services include: Infant Massage, Parenting, Developmental Screenings, Developmental Evaluations, Vision and Hearing Screenings, Developmental therapy, Speech therapy, Motor therapy, Playgroups, and Home visiting.