01 02 03 Institute for Effective Education, University of York: Reviewing the evidence on special education interventions 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

Reviewing the evidence on special education interventions

The goal of this report from Topics in Early Childhood Special Education was to synthesise the available research evidence on responsive interaction intervention (RII) for children with or at risk for developmental delays. RII is a naturalistic intervention approach to promote caregivers’ responsiveness to their children’s behaviours with the ultimate aim of improving the children’s emotional, language, and cognitive development.

 Through a search of articles from 1990 to 2010, the authors identified 26 studies (31 articles) employing group experimental or quasi-experimental designs that met the inclusion criteria for the synthesis. Strategies reviewed included teaching the caregiver to increase communicative responsiveness to the child’s behaviours (eg, imitating the child’s utterances, providing linguistic mapping) and being emotionally responsive to the child’s behaviour (eg, acknowledging the child’s signals, providing contingent responsiveness with warm and sensitive behaviours).

Overall, the results of the reviewed studies indicated that implementation of RII resulted in significant positive changes in adults' responsiveness to their children, and children's emotional and social-communicative skills. Although the most frequently reported child outcomes were in the social-communication domain (eg, expressive and receptive communication skills), the most consistently significant positive outcomes for parent and child outcomes were in the emotional domain (eg, secure attachment, self-soothing).

Source: Responsive Interaction Interventions for Children With or at Risk for Developmental Delays: A Research Synthesis (2013), Topics in Early Childhood Special Education33(1).

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