Developing responsiveness through competence-building with early childhood special education interventionists.
Contemporary research promotes the need for frequent responsive interactions among interventionists, children with special needs, family members, and staff in early childhood settings. This responsive approach to intervention requires Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) personnel to develop specific competencies. While most ECI preparation programs in North America continue to focus on competence-building in the areas of teaming and instruction, Griffith University has designed a postgraduate training program driven by a responsive intervention model. This model is adapted from a parent-mediated responsive teaching intervention model developed by Mahoney and Perales (2003). Early childhood working environments are complex and multi-faceted. In these demanding environments, ECI professionals often take on roles and responsibilities that require skills rarely gained through initial disciplinary training. The Griffith program concentrates on some basic ABCs - a set of Attitudes, Beliefs, and Competencies. In order to be responsive, ECI professionals need to possess particular attitudes, be informed by a specific belief paradigm, and be equipped with a number of specific competencies. While "competence-building is a lifelong, developmental process" (Bennett & Watson, 1993, p. 309), Griffith postgraduates are assisted in developing intentional responsivity through a combination of an understanding of responsive theory and practice, self-awareness of ways of working responsively, and continued self-monitoring of practice across coursework activities. This paper provides an opportunity to present an overview of the content and processes embedded within coursework that promote responsiveness competence-building in order to achieve best practice with families, children, professionals, and service systems. This emerging perspective to training and practice is aimed to provide graduating interventionists with the necessary theoretical frameworks and workplace competencies to effectively serve the diverse needs of young children with special needs and their families in Australia.
ISEC 2005: Inclusive and Supportive Education Congress