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Publication Detail
Families' Access to Early Intervention and Supports for Children With Developmental Disabilities
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Sapiets SJ, Hastings RP, Stanford C, Totsika V
  • Publisher:
  • Publication date:
  • Journal:
    Journal of Early Intervention
  • Status:
  • Language:
  • Keywords:
    Autism Spectrum Disorders, disabilities and development delays, intellectual disabilities, research methods, survey methods, young children
  • Notes:
    © 2022 by Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Early intervention (EI) provision is critical for families who have children with developmental disabilities (DD), but existing evidence suggests accessing EI is not always straightforward. The purpose of this study was to provide a comprehensive description of access to various EI supports (e.g., professionals, services, interventions) for families of young children with suspected or diagnosed DD across the United Kingdom and to investigate perceived ease of access to support, unmet need for support, and barriers and facilitators of access to support. Overall, 673 parental caregivers of children aged 0 to 6 years with suspected or diagnosed DD (e.g., developmental delay, intellectual disability, autism) completed our survey anonymously. Across education, health, and social care, services accessed the most were pediatrics ( N = 569, 84.5%), speech and language ( N = 567, 84.2%), and general medical practice ( N = 530, 78.8%). However, only 18.9% ( N = 127) accessed packaged interventions. More than three-quarters ( N = 508, 75.5%) reported an unmet need for early support, indicating a mismatch between the availability and capacity of services and demand for support. Parents also reported common barriers (e.g., obstructive services and unhelpful professionals) and facilitators (e.g., supportive and competent professionals, enabling parent factors) of access. Implications for policy, practice, and research are discussed.
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