Toronto Metropolitan University
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Mapping the Early Intervention System in Ontario, Canada

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-09-15, 19:49 authored by Kathryn UnderwoodKathryn Underwood

This study documents the wide range of early intervention services across the province of Ontario. The services are mapped across the province showing geographic information as well as the scope of services (clinical, family-based, resource support, etc.), the range of early intervention professionals, sources of funding and the populations served by the services. Results of the study provide a picture of the range and scope of early intervention service in the province and identify variability of services across the province. The study highlights systemic variables that are of interest across Canada in early intervention practices, at a time when significant focus is on the importance of the early years, particularly for children with disabilities. The study aims to identify the scope of early intervention services across the province of Ontario. In the international literature on early intervention, there are frequent references to early intervention systems (for example in the Part C programs in the US, described by Bruder & Dunst, 2008). In Ontario, and other Canadian provinces, it is difficult to define one system of early intervention services. This is because early intervention has no federal guidelines or funding, and at the provincial level, there are is no defining legislation that ensures early intervention services or defines a system of services. Early intervention is a growing area of interest in research on special education and disability in educational settings (Guralnick, 2011). Interest in the early years stems from the understanding that the years preceding elementary school-age are formative and learning in these years can set an educational trajectory for life (Willms, 2002). This is a deterministic view of child development, and ongoing research in early intervention is warranted. However, in some jurisdictions there is not a clear "system" of early intervention services, which makes it challenging to investigate the efficacy of these approaches. This study aims to identify both consistent and variable characteristics of a system of early intervention services in Ontario, Canada, which provide a starting point for analysis of systemic issues in early intervention practice. This mapping of services is designed to identify the scope of organizational characteristics that make up the early intervention system in Ontario. (Contains 1 table and 3 figures.)