CONNECT Modules: An International Perspective

by Raquel Corval


Raquel Corval, a visiting scholar from Portugal, discusses cross-cultural implications of using the CONNECT Modules in her home country.

As a visiting scholar from Portugal I had the recent opportunity to collaborate with the CONNECT project. I can see how the CONNECT Modules can fill the gap in Portugal for early childhood professionals who may not have enough skills and knowledge to respond to the everyday challenges that they face. One of the goals during my one month stay in the US was to explore ways to translate, adapt and implement CONNECT Modules in my country. I began with Module 1, Embedded Interventions.

As I worked through Module 1, I saw activities that I think will work well in the context of Portugal with some modifications. Some other resources, like the policy advisory  would need to be replaced. My plan is to make the adaptations and translation, then use Module 1 in a three-part workshop; then evaluate the relevance of the design of module and content as well as the efficacy of module on learners’ evidence-based decision-making skills.

The learners in the workshop will be early childhood professionals including preschool teachers, therapists, and psychologists and the trainers and evaluators will include me and my team in Portugal. Breaking the workshop down into 3 different sessions will allow learners to have time to go back to their professional contexts to put what they have learned to practice, then reflect and share back with the group their questions, challenges, things that worked or did not work well.

It is an exciting time for the field of early intervention in Portugal. The new public Portuguese law for EI (Executive Order nr. 281/2009) has led to a coordinated effort between the Ministries of Employment & Social Solidarity, Health Care and Education, in partnership with private services, as well as the engagement of families and communities to begin developing the Early Childhood Intervention National System (SNIPI). The goal of the SNIPI is to ensure that early intervention services are provided throughout the nation, and it has certainly raised expectations amongst professionals, experts and families. Another innovation under the new law is the use of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health framework (ICF-2001) for screening and referring. This makes Portugal one of the first countries to introduce the use of ICF by law.

About the Author: Raquel Corval is a visiting faculty scholar from Portugal, at FPG Child Development Institute, UNC-CH. She was one of the two awardees to receive funding from the American club of Lisbon in 2010 to collaborate with a US institute of higher education. In Portugal, she is an early intervention lecturer in the School of Education at Instituto Superior de Educacao e Ciencias (ISEC). At the same time, she is also a team member of the school’s early intervention center (GADIF).


  • What are some of the challenges you might anticipate in the cross-cultural use of the CONNECT Modules?
  • Are there supports and resources that you think could help extend the use to other countries and cultures?