Professional Development in Early Childhood Intervention: Where We Stand on the Silver Anniversary of PL 99-457

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We describe historical foundations of professional development (PD) in early childhood intervention (ECI) and where we stand on the silver anniversary of PL 99-457. To advance its scientific basis, we assert that it is important to define what is meant by PD; identify structural and process features of PD hypothesized to be effective for supporting improvements in intervention quality and effectiveness; specify theories of action or change related to how specific features of PD are assumed to affect practitioner behaviors and, in turn, child or family outcomes; and conduct experimental studies that provide evidence to support or refute specified theories of action. We describe progress being made in each of these areas and discuss several challenges and future directions related to advancing the scientific basis of PD in ECI.

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