DEC Recommended Practices Help Guide Your Early Intervention Services


mom and child

The Division for Early Childhood’s (DEC) Recommended Practices provide interventionists and families with information about the practices most likely to improve learning and facilitate the development of children birth to 5 years old. DEC’s 10 recommended family practices let you know what you should expect when you interact with early intervention professionals. These practices also serve as tools to help you advocate for your child, understand your choices as a parent, and become a leader. If followed, these practices can help forge strong family–professional partnerships in early intervention.

Below are the 10 family practices and examples of how you can implement these practices

Recommended PracticeHow You Can Support Your ChildrenHow Well Is Your EI Team Using These Practices? Ask …
F1. Practitioners build trusting and respectful partnerships with the family through interactions that are sensitive and responsive to cultural, linguistic, and socio-economic diversity
  • Help your team understand important family traditions
  • Tell your team how you prefer to receive information
  • Does your EI team address what is important for your family?
  • Is your EI team respectful of your wishes?
F2. Practitioners provide the family with up-to-date, comprehensive and unbiased information in a way that the family can understand and use to make informed choices and decisions
  • Use the Early Intervention Clearinghouse to access information
  • Talk to other parents to identify needed information sources
  • Does your EI team share resources with you?
  • Does your EI team provide you with the information you need?
F3. Practitioners are responsive to the family’s concerns, priorities, and changing life circumstances
  • Share your child’s and family’s strengths and needs with your EI team members
  • Identify your main concerns in relation to your child and family
  • Does your EI team listen to your concerns?
  • Is your EI team responsive to changing life circumstances?
F4. Practitioners and the family work together to create outcomes or goals, develop individualized plans, and implement practices that address the family’s priorities and concerns and the child’s strengths and needs
  • Work with your team to develop goals that are important to you
  • Help your EI team understand your family’s everyday routines
  • Does your EI team help you determine individualized goals?
  • Does your EI team offer strategies to reach your goals?
F5. Practitioners support family functioning, promote family confidence and competence, and strengthen family-child relationships by acting in ways that recognize and build on family strengths and capacities
  • Select strategies that reinforce your interactions with your child
  • Share accomplishments with your team
  • Does your team highlight what you do well with your child?
  • Does your EI team build on family strengths?
F6. Practitioners engage the family in opportunities that support and strengthen parenting knowledge and skills and parenting competence and confidence in ways that are flexible, individualized, and tailored to the family’s preferences
  • Identify skills and knowledge that you would like to work on
  • Ask the team how they can help you develop these skills and knowledge
  • Does your EI team offer strategies to help you develop skills and knowledge?
  • Is the information you receive individualized to your needs?
F7. Practitioners work with the family to identify, access, and use formal and informal resources and supports to achieve family-identified outcomes or goals
  • Talk to other parents about ways to meet goals
  • Ask your service coordinator about help that’s available to meet your family’s needs
  • Does your team know what informal supports are helpful to your family?
  • Does your EI team tell you about formal resources?
F8. Practitioners provide the family of a young child who has or is at risk for developmental delay/disability, and who is a dual language learner, with information about the benefits of learning in multiple languages for the child’s growth and development
  • Encourage your child to learn your native language
  • Learn the benefits of continuing to use your native language
  • Does your EI team offer information about the benefits of multiple languages?
  • Does your EI team encourage and celebrate the languages spoken in your home?
F9. Practitioners help families know and understand their rights
  • Contact your Parent Training and Information Center to learn about your rights
  • Learn your rights from the Illinois State Board of Education
  • Does your EI team inform you of your rights?
  • Does your EI team explain your rights in a way that you understand?
F10. Practitioners inform families about leadership and advocacy skill-building opportunities and encourage those who are interested to participate
  • Join parent groups to learn about upcoming opportunities
  • Talk to other parents about leadership and advocacy opportunities
  • Does your EI team tell you about leadership and advocacy opportunities?
  • Does your EI team encourage you to participate in leadership and advocacy?

For a complete version of the DEC Recommended Practices, visit