What Early Intervention Looks Like in Child Care Settings: Stories From Providers

Jenna M. Weglarz-Ward, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Rosa M. Santos, University of Illinois at Urbana
Loretta A. Hayslip, University of Illinois at Urbana


As more families enroll their infants and toddlers with disabilities in child care programs, early intervention (EI) services are being delivered in these natural environments. This article presents the findings of a study on infants and toddlers with disabilities in child care settings from the perspectives of professionals. Twenty-four child care and EI providers participated in eight focus groups across one state to discuss their experiences with EI services in child care settings. Using thematic analysis, major themes emerged, including Participant Experiences With EI in Child Care with six unique codes. Results suggest that the great variability of experiences across children, professionals, and programs contributed to an uncertainty of professional roles and responsibilities, challenges to communication among providers, and alignment to professional recommended practices. In addition, differences in specific location of services (i.e., in a separate room) and delivery model led to EI visits being viewed as disruptive and carrying over strategies into child care routines difficult. Recommendations for future research, policy, and practice are included.