Title: 'Making it Work without the “Toy Bag”: Using the Family’s Resources to Meet Session Objectives.'
Track: 4 - Early Intervention
Keyword(s): Natural environment,family sessions, best practices
Learning Objectives:
  1. Identify ways to enrich the family’s daily routines to meet session outcomes.
  2. Examine the value of providing services in the natural environment, utilizing the family’s resources to ensure carryover of strategies.
  3. Define ways to meet session outcomes using resources found in the family’s home, rather than bringing in therapy materials


Best practice in the field of early intervention encourages providers to work in partnership with families in the natural environment to facilitate the child’s learning and participation in daily routines. We are challenged to utilize the family’s resources, whatever they may be, in order to provide the most effective and appropriate services. We must find ways to encourage families to practice and implement new strategies during the week between our visits, in order to successfully reach the outcomes they have set for their children. As early intervention providers, we also strive to empower families as their child’s first and most important teacher. Many providers rely on their favorite toys and materials when working with families for a variety of reasons. However, when the provider leaves and takes her toys with her, families may be apprehensive and uncertain about working toward the same goals using their own toys. Our goal is to challenge providers to think beyond the “toy bag” and use materials available in the family’s home to meet session goals and objectives. We believe that this will encourage the family to implement strategies between therapy sessions, engaging the family as critical participants in reaching their child’s early intervention outcomes. During this interactive session, we will present several favorite therapy toys, identify objectives they are typically used to work toward, and brainstorm ways to incorporate materials in the family’s home to address the same objectives.
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Claire Soete - POC,Co-Presenter,Author
Central Institute for the Deaf
     Credentials: MA.,CED,ECSE
      Claire Soete holds a Master’s Degree in Early Intervention in Deaf Education from Fontbonne University in St. Louis, Missouri. She holds certifications from the Council on the Education of the Deaf (CED) and certification in Early Childhood Special Education, and is credentialed as an early intervention provider in the states of Missouri and Illinois. She has worked in the field of deaf education for 27 years. As a parent educator in the Joanne Parrish Knight Family Center at Central Institute for the Deaf, Claire provides home visits for families of children age birth to three in the early intervention program. She coaches and educates parents on issues related to hearing loss, language and speech acquisition, and auditory skill development. She also attends audiology appointments with families, attends and participates in IFSP and transition meetings, provides in-service and instruction at childcare facilities, and supervises student teachers from area graduate programs.

Financial - Receives Salary for Employment from Central Institute for the Deaf.  

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.
Dorie Noll - POC,Co-Presenter,Author
Central Institute for the Deaf
     Credentials: MSDE, CED, LSLS Cert AVEd
     Other Affiliations: Parents as Teachers, Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf
      Dorie Noll, MSDE, CED, LSLS Cert AVEd. attended the Program in Audiology and Communication Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, receiving a Masters’ Degree in Deaf Education (MSDE). Currently, Dorie is employed by CID-Central Institute for the Deaf as a parent educator in the Joanne Parrish Knight Family Center. As Nursery Class Administrator, she helps to facilitate the program for young toddlers and their families, in addition to providing early intervention services to families in the home. Dorie holds a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing certification; she is credentialed with the early intervention programs both in Missouri and Illinois. Dorie is also certified as a Listening and Spoken Language Specialist by the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.

Financial - No relevant financial relationship exist.

Nonfinancial - No relevant nonfinancial relationship exist.