EI on the Fly

A podcast focused on all things Early Intervention

Episode 8 - What Functional Assessment Means to Supervisors, Practitioners, and Families

Description: In our final episode in this series, we hear from an early intervention program supervisor and practitioners who have also been parents receiving intervention. They share their thoughts and experiences as they answer the question, “What does functional assessment mean to you?”


Episode 7 - Ongoing Functional Assessment

In this episode, we discuss how to integrate ongoing functional assessment into your work with families during service delivery. We describe why and how to conduct it as a collaborative process with a family and model this process by discussing a challenging situation. We  review how the components of functional assessment help you monitor progress, address outcomes in family activities and interactions, be responsive to family updates and changing priorities, and help the family reflect on their efforts with their child during and between visits.

Episode 6 - Functional Assessment and the Initial IFSP

In episode 6, we discuss how functional assessment contributes to the development of the initial Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). We imagine different scenarios that illustrate (or do not illustrate) functional assessment practices during this important part of the early intervention process.

Episode 5 - Implicit Bias

In episode 5, we discuss implicit biases and the importance of building our awareness of how our experiences and perceptions affect what we bring to functional assessment. We define implicit bias and discuss how to recognize it in the context of interactions with families. We also emphasize the importance of reflecting on how bias impacts our perceptions, behaviors, and attitudes so we can be more successful with “meeting families where they are.”

Episode 4: Active Listening

In episode 4, we define active listening and discuss the importance of listening to families as they share information. We explore examples and strategies to help early intervention practitioners build their active listening skills, emphasizing the HEAR model to guide practices.


Episode 3: Asking Meaningful Questions

In episode 3, we discuss how to gather functional assessment information from families by asking meaningful questions. We consider differences between formal interviewing and informal conversations with families and delve into different types of questions, such as conversation openers versus closers and open-ended questions. Strategies are discussed to help early interventionists address challenges with gathering information and encourage families share what they know. 

Episode 2: Intentional Observation

In episode 2, we dive into the first component of functional assessment: observation. We define observation in the context of early intervention and consider how it helps us “watch to listen and learn.” We discuss observation during the initial evaluation/assessment and service delivery, emphasizing how observation helps us gather functional information about children, how they interact with family members, and what interests and motivates them – all without inferring meaning or judgement. We’ll also review tips for helping families understand the importance of observation.

Episode 1: What is Functional Assessment and Why Does It Matter?

In episode 1, we begin our discussion about functional assessment (FA) in the context of early intervention. We define FA and introduce important concepts such as conducting observation, asking meaningful questions, using active listening, and learning about how children interact and learn during daily activities. We talk about what ongoing FA should look like, compare it to traditional assessment, consider examples, and think about how to integrate it into your work with families.


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