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Children's Medical Services - Special services for children with special needs
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Module Two: Lesson Three

Support-Based Home Visits

Three types of support have been identified as a basis for family-centered home-based early intervention (McWilliam & Scott, 2001) as described below.

Emotional Support In a study of family-centered service providers, five characteristics were identified: positiveness, responsiveness, orientation to the whole family, friendliness, and sensitivity (McWilliam et al., 1998). These characteristics define both how to behave with families and what to talk to them about. They can be considered the distillation of emotional support.
Material Support Material support consists of two general categories: (1) equipment and materials and (2) financial support.
Informational Support Informational support consists of four kinds of information most families want: (1) child development, (2) the child's disability, (3) services and resources, and (4) what to do with the child.

A far-reaching idea behind EINE is that "therapy" and "special instruction" are really the provision of support. The modern interventionist gives families information about what to do with the child. He or she also provides the other types of information, ensures they have materials to accomplish their goals, and is encouraging and in other ways emotionally supportive. Fortunately, many home visits do provide support to families but perhaps have not framed it in quite this way. The support-based approach to home visiting therefore defines the structure for good service delivery. It puts therapy and special instruction into a logical context.


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