Everyday Early Intervention: Sharing your family’s lifestyle and culture

father holding infant

For early intervention to be effective, it needs to be individualized around the needs and routines of your family. To do this, it is important that you share your lifestyle, culture, and preferences with early intervention professionals. By sharing information, early intervention professionals are better equipped to help draft meaningful individualized family service plan (IFSP) goals and identify strategies that can be embedded in your family routines to meet your goals.  

Consider your day-to-day life. Think about activities that work well for your child. What seems to work well? Why does it work well? Now, consider the activities that are hard for your child. Why may the activity be hard? You may share these hard activities with your early intervention professional to brainstorm together strategies to address challenges. Below, we provide some examples.  

ActivityInformation about you and your familyWhat you could share with your Early Intervention provider(s)
A picture of a big extended familyYour child does well at home when with your immediately family members. However, when you think about holidays or special gatherings, your child gets overwhelmed.  You may want to share with your early intervention professional that, while your immediate family is small, your extended family is large. You like to celebrate holidays together; the gatherings are often loud. You need strategies to help address your child’s discomfort.  
A picture of your carYou often chauffeur your older children to and from school and sports throughout the day. Your young child spends a lot of time in the car.  You share with your early intervention professional that your child spends a lot of time in the car because of your older children’s schedules. You need some ways to incorporate early intervention strategies while driving (e.g., singing songs in the car, mapping language onto things the child may see outside the window).  
Language PreferencesYour family speaks a mix of English and Spanish at home. When the grandparents or extended family are present, you often speak in Spanish. Your child understands English and Spanish but struggles to expressively communicate in either language.  You may share with the early intervention professional the dual languages used in your home. The professional may suggest that the picture communication symbols and other language aids that are used with your child be offered in English and Spanish.  
BirthdaysAligned with your family’s religion, you don’t celebrate birthdays. However, as your child’s third birthday approaches, the early intervention professionals want to mark the occasion.  You can share your religious beliefs with your professionals. Together, you can brainstorm other ways to mark the milestone of your child aging out of early intervention without focusing on the 3rd birthday.  
Publication date: 2023