Families’ Views on Embedded Interventions

CONNECT convened a National Family Expert Panel of family leaders from throughout the United States, most of whom have adult or school-age children with disabilities.  These family experts were asked to speak from their own experiences about how embedded interventions worked for their children.  Families’ views on embedded interventions are summarized below.

  • Peers can promote learning for their classmates with disabilities, but adults need to guide and monitor these interactions to ensure their effectiveness.
  • Environmental modifications can enhance a child’s participation at home, at school, and in the community, with the children themselves offering many good ideas and clues about how to design these interventions.
  • Teachers, families, and all team members need to support each other and creatively problem-solve to implement embedded interventions that enhance participation of children with disabilities.
  • Many parents want to be active collaborators in making decisions about embedded interventions and do not want to come across as being extremely demanding. They want their commitment and involvement to be valued and useful*.
  • Parents have valuable insights about their children and want to work with professionals to reach shared expectations about their children’s capacity to learn and develop.  These expectations need to be considered in planning embedded interventions and in determining their effectiveness.

To read quotes from families on this topic, see the following handouts:

After reading and watching the video below, try Activity 1.11a Improve communication with families about embedded interventions.

Video 1.18: Using Video for REALLY Watching

A therapist shows the use of video as an effective strategy for communication between families and practitioners. The therapist video tapes a mother playing with her infant embedding motor skill challenges into their routine. The mother engages her son with a favorite toy and then moves it out of reach, so that he will move to get it. Viewing the video helps the therapist realize the strengths and abilities of the mother as well as those of the child (running time: 1 min. 53 sec.).

Source: Edelman, L., Klish Fibbe, M., & Eigsti Johnson, H. (Producers). (2009). Using Video for Really Watching. Denver: Results Matter, Colorado Department of Education. Retrieved and used with permission from: www.cde.state.co.us/resultsmatter/RMVideoSeries.htm

View Transcript


One aspect that I really enjoyed using video for is it allows me an opportunity to just step back and slow down and watch the family in their routine.  Having a camera allows me to be an outside observer of what goes on rather than a participant in the routine.  One opportunity I had to use video to really discover the strengths of a family was when I asked the mother if she’d like me to do some videotaping and she was very excited because she doesn’t have a camera or a video camera and she really wanted to be able to document this very special time in her child’s life.  And so I set up the camera and sat down across the room just to watch the two of them during their floor-time play routine and she really wanted to show all that her child could do and what I had the opportunity to see was just all of the strengths that she has as a mother in supporting her child in a way that I really hadn’t observed or noticed before.  And just to sit back and really appreciate what a  beautiful routine they already have, and then to start to think about ways that I could support them in that routine in my role in what was already a really beautiful interaction.

Supplemental Materials

*For more information on Family-Professional Partnerships, please see Module 4.