Groups Location Finder
Groups: Questions to consider
Considerations when determining whether any group experience is appropriate for a child or parent:
- Parent Interest & Participation: Has the parent expressed interest in a group? What kind of group experience is the parent interested in for her/himself and/or the child? How will the child/family’s identified outcomes be met through participation in a group?
- Purpose of Group: Is a group experience developmentally appropriate for the child? For example, consider child’s social-emotional developmental age, child’s strengths, interests, and other developmental needs.
- Family & Community Resources: What is the family’s typical routine and does it already include opportunities for a group experience? If the family’s routine does not include group experiences, what opportunities exist within the neighborhood or community? Does the child already participate in any of these groups? If yes, is the child able to participate fully in these groups and is the child making developmental progress? If not, what are the barriers? How can the current service delivery model be adapted to support the child’s full participation in a community group setting?
Given these considerations, if a developmental group experience is being recommended for the child, providers, parents and service coordinators should first consider the use of a community group comprised of typically developing children. Research indicates that toddlers are best influenced by peer models. There is a broad range of community programs and group settings that may meet child and family needs such as: neighborhood play groups, day care centers, community centers, recreational programs, library programs, family resource centers, Early Head Start centers, etc. Parents should also be informed of the ability of the provider to provide services to the parent/child in that setting.
If there is no appropriate community group available, or those available would not meet the needs of the child/parent, then an EI funded group should be considered. Ideally, the discussion should take place at an IFSP or a team meeting with the EIOD present or participating by conference call.