IOTI - Communication Training for Early Interventionists

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One of the greatest challenges for early intervention providers in working with families and infants with multiple and complex disabilities is how to support caregiver-infant interactions and development of the infant's intentional communicative behaviors. Communicative behaviors are often infrequent, subtle, vague, and atypical, making it difficult for their parents to identify, interpret, and encourage their communication development.

This project provides online communication training to early intervention service providers to increase their ability to work effectively with infants and children who have multiple disabilities and severe communication challenges (ages birth-3) and their families by 1) Collaborating with early intervention agencies in Utah to recruit early intervention service providers to participate in the online training in Effective Communication Practices for Infants and Young Children with Multiple Disabilities and Severe Communication Challenges; 2) Providing access for EI participants to four online communication training modules using the Canvas Catalog platform through USU; 3) Providing e-coaching to EI providers as they complete the modules to facilitate their implementation of strategies learned and support their efforts to enhance infant-caregiver interactions; and 4)Evaluating the effectiveness of the communication training with EI providers.

Anticipated outcomes are that early interventionists throughout Utah will increase their ability to work effectively with infants with multiple disabilities and severe communication challenges and their families. Providers will be able to 1) identify the communication behaviors of the infants and correctly interpret the intents of those behaviors; 2) respond appropriately, using effective strategies that increase and improve interactions with those infants; 3) implement strategies for encouraging expressive communication; 4) support the use of assistive technology with the infants, as appropriate; and 5) teach the methods and strategies learned to caregivers in such a way as to support positive interactions with their infants.