Assessment and the Family-Professional Partnership in Early Intervention


This topical guide will introduce you to important books, videos, and information resources available from the EI Clearinghouse and other sources. Contact us via online form or by phone (1-877-275-3227) to request a resource listed below (or ask your local public librarian). Note that some videos may be viewed online, and journal titles will take you to the publisher’s homepage.

father reading to boy and girl


Assessment in early childhood education
Sue Wortham and Belinda Hardin
Pearson, 2016
This text book includes information on performance assessment, portfolios, and other methods of reporting a child’s performance.
Call#: LB 3060.217 .W67 2016

Assessment of Young Children with Special Needs: A Context-Based Approach
Susan M. Benner (Ed.)
Thomson-Delmar Learning, 2003
Focusing on the assessment of infants, toddlers, and preschool children with or at risk for developmental disabilities, this text provides an overview of multiple assessment techniques and contextual issues involved in assessment, such as environment and culture.
Call#: WS 350.6 .B469a 2003  

Authentic Assessment for Early Childhood Intervention: Best Practices
Stephen J. Bagnato
Guilford Press, 2007
This book discusses and analyzes numerous aspects of assessment in early intervention and early childhood special education, including evaluations of early development, severe disabilities, cognitive functioning, and school readiness.
Call#: WS 105.5 .E8 B147 2007 

DEC recommended practices : enhancing services for young children with disabilities and their families
Rosa Milagros Santos (Ed.)
Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children, 2015
This research-to-practice volume offers guidance to parents and professionals working with young children with special needs. The chapters on assessment and developing child-focused interventions offer key principles and suggested standards.
Call#: LC 4019.3 .D641 2015 Vol.1

Focused observations : how to observe young children for assessment and curriculum planning
Gaye Gronlund and Marlyn James
Redleaf Press, 2013
This book explains why observation is one of the best methods to get to know each child well, track progress, and plan individualized curriculum. It also provides tools and techniques to help you strengthen your observations, create portfolios with rich documentation, and support each child.
Call#: LB 1027.28 .G76 2013

Gathering information to make informed decisions : contemporary perspectives about assessment in early intervention and early childhood special education.Young Exceptional Children: Monograph Series No. 13
Mary McLean and Patricia Snyder (Eds.)
Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children, 2011
The articles in this monograph are focused on contemporary assessment practices with particular attention paid to gathering information about young childrens development in authentic and familiar settings.
Call#: LC 4019 .M4599 2011

Interdisciplinary Clinical Assessment of Young Children with Developmental Disabilities
Michael J. Guralnick (Ed.)
Brookes Publishing, 2000
Examining the process of assessment from the perspectives of multiple disciplines, this book demonstrates how to create new interdisciplinary assessment teams or expand existing teams to ensure that children and their families receive the best care possible. Case studies provide examples of effective collaborations between disciplines in assessment and the design of interventions.
Call#: WS 350.6 .I588 2000  

Road Map to Holland: How I Found My Way Through My Son’s First Two Years with Down Syndrome
Jennifer Graf Groneberg
New American Library, 2008
A mother describes her journey of her son’s diagnosis of Down syndrome through family support, early intervention, therapy, and doctor appointments.
Call#: WS 107 G876 2008  

The Art and Practice of Home Visiting: Early Intervention for Children with Special Needs and Their Families
Ruth E. Cook & Shirley N. Sparks
Brookes Publishing, 2008
This practical guide provides examples and best practices for building relationships with families and facilitating adult-child interaction.
Call#: HV 697 .C771a 2008  

The Early Intervention Guidebook for Families and Professionals: Partnering for Success
Bonnie Keilty
Teachers College Press, 2016
Keilty explains what early intervention looks like and how families can best partner with professionals so that young children can learn, grow, and thrive. The book includes a chapter on assessment and planning outlining how parents and professionals can work together throughout the process.
Call#: WS 350.6 .K27 2016 

The Home Visitor’s Guidebook: Promoting Optimal Parent and Child Development (3rd ed.)
Carol S. Klass
Brookes Publishing, 2008
This book is a compilation of information for professionals who conduct home visits. Expectations are explained and situations that the professionals may encounter during home visits are explored. The book discusses ideas for how to build the bonds between professionals and families. Several sections discuss difficulties and dilemmas that some professionals have dealt with during home visits.
Call#: HQ 755.7 .K63 2008 


Authentic Assessment in Early Intervention
7 min; online
Results Matter, 2009
In this online video, a physical therapist discusses authentic assessment practices such as observation and collaborating with families.

Authentic Assessment: Parents: Our Most Important Resource
27 min; DVD
Magna Systems, 2004
This program emphasizes the importance of communicating with and respecting parents throughout the assessment process.
Call#: LB 1731.6 A939d 2004 vol. 4  

Authentic Assessment: Setting the Stage
24 min; DVD
Magna Systems, 2004
This module sets the stage for understanding how children are observed within the context of their play as well as their culture and how these observations are important to understanding their total development.
Call#: LB 1731.6 A939d 2004 vol. 1  

Child with Special Needs
30 min; DVD
Parents Action for Children, 2005
In this video, families of children with special needs share their stories to help other parents understand what to do when they find out that their child has a special need, how to find answers to their questions, how to advocate for their child, and how to focus on their child’s unique strengths.
Call#: WS 350.6 .C536dvd 2004

Early intervention for autism : assessment & treatment strategies for birth to 5
5.75 hours; 3 DVDs
PESI, 2016
This lecture discusses assessment tools to identify the early and subtle signs of autism and offers treatment techniques that effectively interrupt and replace the development of many “coping behaviors” exhibited by children with autism (ages 0-5).
Call#: WM 203.5 .Ea761 2015

Precious Lives, Meaningful Choices
41 min; DVD
Fanlight Productions, 2006
In this video, four families discuss their journey of raising and caring for children who have progressive, life-limiting illnesses. Parents share their reflections on care assistants, medical staff, and embracing their children’s lives with courage and hope.
Call#: WS 200 P923 2006  

Identifying Strengths and Supporting Families in Early Intervention with an EcoMap
41 min; Online
This video describes how an EcoMap can help families and providers identify supports, both formal and informal, when looking at resources, priorities and concerns during the IFSP process.


PACER Center
The mission of the PACER Center (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) is to expand opportunities and enhance the quality of life of children with special needs and their families based on the concept of parents helping parents. The Web site contains information and free resources, including materials on parent-professional partnerships in early intervention


Early Childhood Education Journal, 29(4), 251-257
Involving Parents in Early Childhood Assessment: Perspectives from an Early Intervention Instructor
Michael B. Brink. (2002)
This article discusses the importance of involving parents and families in the assessment of young children. The author offers suggestions and examples to help the early intervention professional.

Exceptional Parent, 32 (12), 47-50
Early intervention services: A family-professional partnership
Carolyn Cantu. (2002)
In addition to providing an overview and brief history of early intervention, this article explains family-centered services and the ways in which service providers support and partner with families.

Journal of Early Intervention, 28(1), 17-22
The Authentic Alternative for Assessment in Early Intervention: An Emerging Evidence-Based Practice
Stephen J. Bagnato. (2005)
This article provides an overview, summary of the research, and a history of the shift in early intervention toward authentic assessment, which captures real-life competencies in everyday routines.

Pediatrics, 136(6), 1650-1662
The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for Children With Special Educational Needs
Paul Lipkin, Jeffrey Okamoto, Council on Children with Disabilities and Council on School Health. (2015)
This article provides the pediatric health care provider with a summary of key components of the most recent version of this law. Guidance is also provided to ensure that every child in need receives the EI and special education services to which he or she is entitled.

Young Children, 68(3) 22-27
Appropriate and Meaningful Assessment in Family-Centered Programs
James Elicker and Mary Benson McMullen. (2013)
Appropriate assessment of infants and toddlers is strengths based, identifying and building on children’s capabilities, not what they cannot do, and is not used to “label” them. This article provides an overview of observation, documentation, screening, assessment, portfolios and goal/outcome setting. Direct link is available.

Young Children, 68(3) 8-14
Engaging Families in the Child Assessment Process
Margaret Caspe, et al. (2013)
This article describes one child care organization’s integrated, collaborative assessment approach that involves families throughout the process.

Young Exceptional Children, 4(2), 21-27
The dance of partnership: Why do my feet hurt?
Janice Fialka. (2001)
In this article, the author writes from her own experience as a mother of a child with special needs and discusses the complications of parent-professional partnerships. She identifies five distinct features, or dimensions, that both entangle and enhance the partnership dance: choice, forced intimacy, identification of partners, role expectations, and differing priorities.

Young Exceptional Children, 7(3), 2-11
Embedding Assessment of Young Children into Routines of Inclusive Settings: A Systematic Planning Approach
Rebecca J. Cook. (2004)
The author provides a planning guide to support early child care workers in implementing authentic assessment in inclusive settings and natural environments.

Web Resources

A Guide to Assessment in Early Childhood: Infancy to Age Eight
This free, downloadable guide from the State of Washington is designed for use by early childhood professionals. The guide includes explanations of best practices in assessment as well as a compendium of assessment instruments.

Assessing All Children
This online chapter from the book Early Childhood Assessment: Why, What, and How discusses assessing young children who are members of ethnic and racial minority groups in the United States, young children whose home language is not English, and young children with disabilities. The entire book is available to download for free.

Assuring the Family’s Role on the Early Intervention Team
This National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center paper presents a synthesis of innovative practices and ideas for explaining procedural safeguards to families in ways that are supportive of their role as partners in the early intervention process.

Building Portfolios with Children with Special Needs
This Web site includes a list of what to include in portfolios, which can be a helpful tool to document milestones, acknowledge progress, and provide an assessment resource to help support a child’s learning.

Assessing Your Child (EIC)
A parent-friendly tip sheet created by the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse. Also available in Spanish.

Talking with Your EI Service Providers (EIC)
A parent-friendly tip sheet created by the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse. Also available in Spanish.

The Family’s Role in Early Intervention: How You Can Help Your Child (EIC)
A parent-friendly tip sheet created by the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse. Also available in Spanish.

What Happens During a Typical EI Visit? (EIC)
A parent-friendly tip sheet created by the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse. Also available in Spanish.

Who Is on Your Early Intervention Team? (EIC)
A parent-friendly tip sheet created by the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse. Also available in Spanish.

Promoting Positive Outcomes for Children with Disabilities: Recommendations for Curriculum, Assessment, and Program Evaluation
This position statement endorsed by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) includes an overview of issues related to assessment in early intervention and early childhood special education, the listing of important quality indicators for those involved in the assessment process, and information about additional resources to assist those interested in implementing assessments. Specific recommendations are made related to selecting assessment tools, communicating assessment results, and ensuring ethical and legal practices.

Screening, Evaluation, and Assessment
This National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center page includes links to many resources, including overviews of assessment methods, information on the assessment of young English-language learners, and position papers on assessment from several national organizations such as Head Start and the National Association of School Psychologists.

The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC): Assistive Technology (AT) for Infants, Toddlers and Young Children
The NECTAC page on AT includes an overview, an FAQ section, information on federal and state laws on AT, information on universal design, and several extensive bibliographies of articles on AT and early intervention.

What Is Developmental Screening? (IEL)
Developmental screening? Comprehensive assessment? Ongoing assessment? Parents often wonder what these terms mean. All are processes for gathering information about an infant, toddler, or preschooler. The first step in gathering information about a child is to complete a developmental screening. Also available in Spanish, Polish, and French.