Linda Boshart, Early ACCESS Regional Liaison
Early ACCESS Vision: Every infant and toddler with or at risk for a developmental delay and their families will be supported and included in their communities so that the child will be healthy and successful.
Early ACCESS Mission: Early ACCESS builds upon and provides supports and resources to assist family members and caregivers to enhance children’s learning and development through everyday learning opportunities
Early ACCESS is Iowa’s system for children and families from birth to age three years who have some kind of special concern. Services are provided in the child’s natural environment, which means that providers go where the child is, such as the home, childcare center, or grandparent’s home. Early ACCESS service providers have training in various professions – early childhood education, speech-language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, nursing, social work, psychology, and others.
Early ACCESS service providers, parents, and other caregivers work in an interactive manner to assure that the child makes the optimum growth in his or her development. In order to do this, emphasis is placed on family guided routines based intervention (FGRBI) and caregiver coaching. Early ACCESS services do not look like school aged or therapy-based services that have been scaled for infants and toddlers. Rather, services involve supporting families in building repeated learning opportunities into daily routines. The research-based evidence is unmistakable – child outcomes won’t improve if children don’t receive increased opportunities to learn and develop new skills.
Early intervention practice is advancing and evolving throughout the country as well as in Iowa. To enhance Early ACCESS service providers’ skills in FGRBI and caregiver coaching, Iowa is participating in the Iowa Distance Mentoring Model (DMM) of professional development. Participants in this model of professional development video record home visits to be reviewed with a peer partner and an expert coach from Florida State University, attend face-to-face training to hone their skills, and provide support to other cohort peers.
A short video of an Iowa family and their service provider demonstrating what FGRBI looks like during an Early ACCESS home visit can be viewed at: http://dmm.cci.fsu.edu/IADMM/videoexamples/KrisKiyah.html