Tupou, J., Waddington, H. & Sigafoos, J. Teachers’ Perceptions of an Early Intervention Coaching Program. Adv Neurodev Disord (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s41252-022-00267-5
Inclusive preschools appear to be logical settings for the delivery of early intervention for young autistic children. Regular preschool teachers may also be well-suited to delivering early intervention. This study is part of a larger study, in which three preschool teachers participated in a coaching program based around the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), a promising early intervention model for young autistic children. The aim of the present study was to evaluate teachers’ perceptions regarding the social validity of the coaching program and the ESDM techniques.
A quantitative questionnaire and semi-structured qualitative interviews were used to explore teachers’ perceptions of the acceptability and effectiveness of the intervention. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data.
Overall, findings suggest that teachers perceived the coaching program and the ESDM strategies to be highly acceptable and effective; however, there was some variation in teachers’ perceptions of specific elements and strategies. Teachers suggested that the program could be further improved through the provision of more targeted coaching support focused on behavioral teaching strategies and more time for one-on-one practice with target children.
This research could be viewed as providing preliminary support for the social validity of the focus intervention for this group of teachers. It seems important for future research to address the identified limitations in the present research and to examine in further detail the social validity of this intervention for ECE teachers in inclusive preschool settings.