UBC Graduate Research

Caseloads and frequency of service in early intervention : a factor in the research to practice gap Maurice Burgess, Nathalie


In my capstone project, I conduct a literature review on the topic of early intervention (EI) and caseloads (child/ren and their families) assigned to EI professionals. More specifically, I examine the literature concerned with how EI professionals manage their caseloads. I am concerned that early interventionists have high caseloads and do not have time to implement early intervention best practice that is required to provide quality care, more specifically, meeting families’ priorities and supporting children’s growth and development. Two theoretical frameworks, Vygotsky’s (1986) sociocultural theory and Bronfenbrenner’s (1994) ecological systems theory, guide this project. I also include family centred practice, holistic approach, the transdisciplinary model, and provide evidence of their benefits to early intervention. The literature reviewed in this project provides information to be used as the basis to which frequency of service and caseload numbers can be determined. I include studies about early intervention best practice: adult skill building, functional assessment, natural learning environment, as well as other studies addressing frequency of service based on need. I argue that to effectively implement these practices, adequate time -- hence manageable caseloads -- are required. I connected research-to-practice through case scenarios. In connecting this review of the literature to practice, I have prepared a workshop for early interventionists, especially those in leadership positions, regarding fundamental early intervention best practice principles that include connections to my own practice. Based on the findings of this review, I recommend using early intervention best practice principles and service based on need as the foundational components of which discussions and decisions about caseload are made.

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