Understanding early intervention services in Ireland: a conceptual evaluation
OShaughnessy Carroll, Clare
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In Ireland the provision of early intervention services for children with disabilities is changing. With the policy and legislative contexts driving this change, these services need to be informed by evidence and underpinned by conceptual constructs which are grounded in praxis within the Irish context. These constructs can support the implementation and evaluation of best practice EI services in Ireland. Underpinned by an interpretivist paradigm, this study used a qualitative case study design with a Grounded Theory methodology, and developed a substantive theory which is represented by a conceptual model. Data were collected from multiple perspectives within one early intervention disability service in Ireland. In total, 31 indepth interviews with young children with disabilities, parents and professionals were included and data were collected and interpreted in a coherent, systematic and rigorous way. The conceptual model acknowledges that synergistic interdependent relationships exist in the EI context. When considering outcomes to service delivery professionals need to consider how rewarding and enabling the service is to all involved in the relationship. Balancing interdependence within the complex relationships is crucial to support positive outcomes. Finding this balance requires an acknowledgement of the constructs within the relationship and conversations about process and outcomes for individual families. This balancing act is core to EI practice and regard must be given to the driving and restraining factors within each partnership. The goal of the partnership is one where the rewards exceed the costs. In order to meet this goal, attentive consideration needs to be given to the profile and influence of each individual within the relationship. The concept of the relationship trajectory is paramount and how the position of the individual on this trajectory influences their interaction, expectations and level of involvement needs to be considered. This study proposes considering the relationship stages as momentous in the development of early intervention relationships between partners.
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