Using a model of transactional developmental regulation to evaluate the effectiveness of an early intervention programme for pre-school children with motor impairments

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SummaryThis study investigates how early intervention programme benefits may operate beyond the traditional parameters of child developmental progress by exploring family outcomes too. Sameroff and Fiese's (1990) model of transactional developmental regulation is applied to provide a conceptual framework for the evaluation of an interdisciplinary intervention programme for pre-school children with motor impairments. Qualitative and quantitative methods were combined by using standardized assessment of child progress and interviews. Fifteen children, 11 mothers and five staff participated in the study. Triangulation of data was carried out to obtain evidence of remediation (child progress), re-education (parent learning) and redefinition (changes in parental perceptions and expectations of their child's difficulties that allowed parents to apply usual, rather than special, caregiving practices) as described in Sameroff and Fiese's model. Findings point to the effectiveness of the programme as indicated by evidence of child developmental progress, parental re-education and redefinition. The study suggests that redefinition may be at least as important a programme outcome as remediation or re-education, challenging established notions of the goals of pre-school programmes for disabled children. Implications of a broader-based, family-focused approach are discussed.

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