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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the authors' final version prior to publication in Infants and Children

Volume 26, Issue 3, September 2003, Pages 235-248.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1097/IYC.0b013e318299918f. Copyright © Wolters Kluwer Health LWW


Most current early intervention approaches emphasize the importance of a provider role as teacher or coach, a role in which providers give parents or other caregivers information about how to optimize children’s growth and development (Stremel & Campbell, 2007). However, few studies have examined the information that should be provided for caregivers or how this information is best delivered to caregivers although a number of rating scales are able to distinguish between roles of direct service provider for the child (e.g., traditional) and triadic interaction among provider, caregiver, and child (Campbell & Sawyer, 2007; Salisbury & Cushing, 2013). Related factors such as how to train professionals to implement a broader role than direct provider to the child, provider or caregiver expectations about the provider role, or caregiver or child outcomes when providers play a teaching or coaching role, also, have received little investigation.

A number of factors compound our understanding of this broader provider role. One primary factor is the inconsistency within the literature and among researchers about what behavior or actions occur when providers are helping families learn what to do with their children. Frequently used terms are collaborative consultation (Basu, Salisbury, & Thorkildsen, 2010; Cambray-Engstrom & Salisbury, 2010; Klein & Chen, 2008; Woods, Wilcox, Friedman, & Murch, 2011), coaching (Dunn, Cox, Foster, Mische-Lawson, & Tanquary, 2012; Friedman, Woods, & Salisbury, 2012; Keilty, 2010; Rush & Shelden, 2011), or caregiver teaching (Campbell & Sawyer, 2009; Colyvas, Sawyer, & Campbell, 2010). A set of definitions, proposed by Friedman and colleagues (2012), are the basis of a measure of coaching. Eight practices define a construct called coaching. Two additional practices are included but are part of a non-coaching category. The eight coaching strategies include: (a) conversation and information sharing (CIS); (b) observation (OB); (c) direct teaching (DT); (d) demonstration with narration (DEM/DN); (e) guided practice with feedback (GPF); (e) caregiver practice with feedback (CPF); (f) joint interaction (JI); (g) problem-oriented reflection (PS/R); and two non-coaching strategies: (a) provider works directly with the child (CF) and (b) other. Several different studies have used these definitions to quantify providers’ actions during home visits (Friedman et al., 2012; Salisbury & Cushing, 2013; Marturana & Woods, 2012).