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Empowering Parents

Impacting Families!

IDEA Part C Programs are publicly funded early childhood intervention programs.  All children have access to IDEA Part C services and cannot be denied because the family does not have public or private insurance. Families of all income levels can receive IDEA Part C early childhood intervention services. 

Created from within an authentic setting, Pathways Parent Training Program was specifically designed to be compatible with the key principles for providing early intervention services in natural environments, which guide publicly funded early childhood intervention programs.




IDEA Part C Programs...

On September 14, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education released a joint Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs. The statement, based on both relevant research and the law, states “Families are children’s first and most important teachers and advocates”. It goes on to state that appropriate early intervention services for any infant or toddler with a disability are to be provided in natural environments including the home.

Publicly funded Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C programs across the nation are facing serious issues in their attempt to meet compliance of the law. Intervention, by law, must be based on explicit principles, validated practices, and best available research. Most believe that for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) this means ABA-based interventionswhich are typically delivered in clinical settings. IDEA Part C programs are charged with providing services in the child’s natural environment.  Unless these early childhood programs are able to provide an efficacious intervention that fits within their service model, they must face being out of compliance in one area or the other.

The Pathways Parent Training Program has an innovative approach that sets it apart from other autism treatment models. The Pathways Parent Training Program was developed to fit the service delivery model and guiding principles of Texas’ publicly funded IDEA Part C ECI. This differs from traditional NDBI and ABA models that are typically applied in clinics or classrooms, one-to-one with a therapist, for 20 to 40 hours/week. It also deviates considerably from what is being used in many IDEA Part C programs. Most of these programs are not able to provide the intensity of services needed for producing favorable outcomes in children with autism. To increase the intensity of services, some IDEA Part C providers use a combination of various autism treatments (with or without an evidence base) or work to provide a higher intensity of general developmental services. Other IDEA Part C providers attempt to deliver autism-specific programming using a combination of treatments in a non-systematic way or they must send the children to ABA-based treatment centers, a practice which is costly, limited, and likely unsustainable.

Best practice for toddler-aged children with autism involves parents being coached to incorporate specific behavioral and developmental strategies into daily routines and family activities. By utilizing daily routines and activities, parents are able to embed intervention strategies throughout the child’s day to promote participation and learning in an authentic setting and, thus, provide the recommended intensity of services necessary for significant change. Pathways Parent Training Program was specifically designed to be compatible with these key principles, as reflected in the IDEA Part C guidelines:

There is a growing body of research that has  found the Pathways Parent Training Program model to be effective for developing the early foundational social communication skills of eye contact, social engagement, and verbal reciprocity in toddlers enrolled in an IDEA part C program. In addition, parents perceived the intervention as beneficial, easy to learn, and easy to incorporate into daily life.

Practice to Research...

Pathways Parent Training Program was developed based on highly researched behavioral and developmental sciences. Pathways Parent Training Program teaches parents to use behavioral strategies to target developmentally appropriate early social communication skills. The Pathways parent training model includes all the features of a Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Intervention, but unlike most other programs that are research to practice models—Pathways Parent Training Program is a practice to research model.

Created from within an authentic setting, Pathways Parent Training Program was specifically designed to be compatible with the key principles for providing early intervention services in natural environments, which guide publicly funded early childhood intervention programs. A recent brief from The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation—US Department of Health and Human Services indicates that “contextual fit” is important to the effective adoption of evidence-based interventions. To be effective, the intervention model must fit with the service delivery system —the agency, the interventionists, the delivery model and the families.

Pathways Training Model...

Autism affects one in 59 children. Research shows we are now able to identify autism in children before well before the age of 3. This has created a significant need and lack of capacity in IDEA Part C programs across the nation. Programs are struggling to find a way to provide effective autism intervention. They are actively seeking research based, autism specific intervention models for toddlers suspected of or having autism—models that will work within the laws and principles which guide publicly funded early childhood intervention programs

Existing IDEA Part C programs already have a very effective service delivery infrastructure in place, making implementation of the Pathways Parent Training Program feasible. These programs employ many highly qualified and credentialed personnel, such as speech pathologists, occupational therapists, mental health specialists, and child development specialists who, with training, will be able to build capacity to serve this rapidly growing population in a relatively short time.

The Pathways team has developed a training model designed to provide widespread intensive instruction to Early Childhood Interventionists that will enable them to effectively train parents in the Pathways Parent Training Program model. The model consists of:

On-site training with entire staff—

  • A review of the research and overview of the Pathways Parent Training Program will be provided to the entire staff of the organization
  • Behavior training—“Addressing Challenging Behavior”—training will be provided to support staff

Training for designated Pathways interventionists—

  • Each interventionist will complete a series of on-line instruction modules to provide a foundation of knowledge and understanding (before intensive training)
  • Designated Pathways interventionists will complete four days of on-site intensive step-by-step instruction on the Pathways Parent Training Program 
  • Monthly follow up support is provided for one year with a combination of on-site and web-based consultation meetings—i.e., answering questions, reviewing specific cases, updating trainees on recent research
  • Instruction will also cover—
    • Relevant Research
    • Identification of the toddler suspected of autism
    • Basic behavioral interventions
    • Family and routine based goals and outcomes based on Pathways curriculum
    • Coordinating services within and outside of the agency such as with doctors, and ISD’s
    • Transition to the next appropriate setting after aging out of the Part C Program

A second phase of support includes more intensive ongoing training for select providers to become agency support personnel.

The Pathways Parent Training Program is a manualized program with both parent and trainer manuals. Each Pathways trainee will receive a trainer’s manual with the training. Each family receives a parent’s manual (provided by service agency). Brochures and marketing materials for use in community outreach are provided by to the service agency by Pathways.


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