Evidence Based-Practice in Early Intervention: The Proof of the Pudding is in the Eating
Not long ago, early intervention professionals had little direction for working with young children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. Little was known about child or family outcomes, and even less was known about early intervention program characteristics that facilitate child development and the family’s ability to support them. Two recently published seminal documents addressing best practices in early intervention have shed much needed light on the question “What works in early intervention?” The Joint Committee on Infant Hearing (JCIH) developed a supplement to the 2007 position statement that provides guidance for early intervention programs. These best practice recommendations are based on the available research and address program practices for early hearing detection and intervention programs in the United States (JCIH, 2013). Across the Atlantic Ocean, in Europe, an international panel of experts identified 10 foundational principles to guide the development of early intervention programs and practices (Moeller, et al., 2013). These two documents have much in common, not only in the goals and principles identified, but also in their use of “evidence” to support their respective guidelines for best practices. While these significant documents have the potential to enhance the quality of services throughout the world, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. That is, consumers must be the ones who determine the extent to which the evidence makes sense to them and the guidelines are meaningful. This presentation will address the possibilities and cautions of using evidence-based practices across widely different populations of children and families and their cultural contexts. Five “evidence-based” practices from these documents will be discussed along with possible adaptations to this recipe that hold promise for successful outcomes for young deaf children and their families.