The long-term effects of early childhood intervention




Cadman, Lois

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The purpose of this study was to determine the long term effects of an early childhood intervention program (PEECH) with respect to the gains made during one and two years of intervention versus the gains made following intervention in relationship to self-help skills, social skills, physical skills, communication skills, academic skills, intelligence, and mental age; and the relationship of the category of handicapping condition to the subsequent educational placement.

In the past 15 years there has been an escalation in the establishment of public and legislative mandates for the provision of educational programs for the young handicapped child. Literature cites programs providing services to the young handicapped child and the family, however, limited research investigations have been conducted on a longitudinal basis for handicapped children. Long term studies provide important data in the establishment of program effectiveness. This investigation was concerned with research which will support the evidence of effectiveness of a home intervention model for young handicapped children and their families.

The 1972-75 Project PEECH participants were selected for this study. Inasmuch as no control was used, the analysis of the longitudinal data included 43 of the original 99 program participants. The follow-up studies of the 32 children living in the geographical area covered by the program determined whether the gains were maintained following termination of the intervention program. A descriptive study of the 43 children determined the relationship of the identified handicapping condition upon program entrance with the subsequent educational placement.

The three instruments employed for data collection were the Alpern-Boll Developmental Profile, the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, and the Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale. These tests were administered independently during each program year (September and May) and each spring (May) following termination of the program (1975) through May, 1978. The data collected from the Alpern-Boll Developmental Profile reveals developmental skill ages in: self-help skills, social skills, physical skills, communication skills, and academic skills. The Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale or the Cattell Infant Intelligence Scale provides a mental age and an intelligence quotient. The developmental skills ages and mental age are recorded in months.

The results of this study revealed that children maintain greater gains during the period of the structured program. The results also indicated that there was no significant difference in the gains made during the one or the two year program participation time.

In the analysis of the relationship of the pre-handicapping condition and the subsequent educational placement it was revealed that handicapping condition upon entrance to the program at a young age does not necessarily constitute the projected educational placement at a later age. A larger percentage of the mentally retarded remained in special education while a larger percentage of the children with language defects, vision impairments, physical handicaps, and behavioral problems were, in fact, in the regular education placement subsequent to intervention. Of the total group of children in the long-term study 65% are in regular education, while 35% remain in special education placement today.

In conclusion, this research provides evidence that the PEECH Program has been an educationally viable model for providing educational services to young handicapped children and their parents.



Education, Intervention strategies, Children with disabilities