A case study approach was used to examine how six service providers constructed the meaning of family-centered services in programs providing early intervention services to the families of young children with disabilities. Six professionals from a pool of over 40 service providers were identified as providing highly family-centered services. Family orientation was defined as a willingness to orient services to the whole family, rather than just to the child. Service providers and some families they served were interviewed. Five underlying components of family-centered services were identified: (1) positiveness (a philosophy of thinking the best about the parents); (2) sensitivity (an ability to put oneself in the parents' shoes); (3) responsiveness (paying attention to parents and taking action when parents expressed a need or a complaint); (4) friendliness (the development of rapport between family and service provider); and (5) child and community skills (child-level skills and competence in integrating their work with the broader community). Implications for policy and preservice/inservice training are drawn. An appendix provides profiles of each of the six case service providers. (Contains 35 references.) (DB)
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North Carolina Univ., Chapel Hill. Frank Porter Graham Center.
Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (ED), Washington, DC.