Purpose: Early intervention services are available to families with children under the age of three with developmental delays or disabilities. In an effort to incorporate new evidence and research, the New Mexico Family Infant Toddler Program, which regulates New Mexico's early intervention programs, has chosen to evolve its teaming terminology to emphasize a transdisciplinary approach to service coordination and delivery. This teaming model is currently termed the "Transdisciplinary Team Approach", which is a recent update from the "Primary Service Provider Model". The overall purpose of this pilot study is to explore the Transdisciplinary Team Approach as it is being piloted in New Mexico's early intervention programs. Specific questions to be answered include: 1. What is early intervention (El), and what are its benefits/costs? 2. How is El provided in New Mexico: What services are provided, what are the eligibility rules and how are physical and occupational therapy services delivered in New Mexico? 3. What is the Transdisciplinary Team Approach, and why is it being piloted in New Mexico? 4. What are the perceptions of physical therapists and occupational therapists in New Mexico's early intervention programs? Methods: Subjects: Two licensed occupational therapists and one licensed physical therapist who worked in early intervention in New Mexico were identified from a convenience sample of licensed physical and occupational therapists working in early intervention programs in New Mexico. Methods: After development of the "Questionnaire for Physical or Occupational Therapists in Early Intervention (El) Programs in NM", the researchers Dr. Elizabeth Provost and Jennifer Ploss, SPT submitted an application to the Human Research Review Committee for an exempt survey study, and received confirmation of approval in January 2012. All participants were given ari informed consent form prior to agreeing to participate. No compensation was given,and no potential adverse events were identified for participants. Primary data from this study was kept on original paper copies of questionnaires,with random ID numbers instead of names. Data Analysis: Interview responses were analyzed for general themes by the student researcher, Jennifer Ploss. Results: All three therapists interviewed had similar responses regarding background and current service delivery and coordination in New Mexico, including caseloads, eligibility for early intervention, primary medical diagnoses, other available services, coordination with team members, and assignment of children to a specialist's caseload. The only difference in current provision of services was the types of impairments and functional limitations listed by the two occupational therapists compared to those listed by the physical therapist. All of the therapists had heard of the Primary Service Provider model, but none had heard of the new terminology (the Transdiscipl inary Team Approach), nor had any of them received any formal training or information on these models. Major concerns of the three therapists interviewed in this pilot study included role boundaries, scope of practice issues, referral rates to specialists, efficacy of treatment, and quality of family-centered services. Perceived benefits included decreased cost, improved continuity and congruency of care, decreased intrusion into family life, and enhanced family empowerment and independence. Conclusion: This pilot study found that early intervention specialists in New Mexico are not being adequately educated and trained on the new Transdisciplinary Team Approach being implemented by the New Mexico Family Infant Toddler Program under the Department of Health. There were many misconceptions about this teaming approach, questions about how services would be provided and coordinated, and how this change in policy would affect current early intervention providers. Future directions include improved education and training for providers, self-assessment and enhanced outcomes reporting for NMFIT and individual early intervention programs, and improved research in the areas of teaming, intervention, family satisfaction and empowerment, referral rates, and cost.


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Document Type



ealy intervention, physcial therapy, occupational therapy

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