The complete FOUNDATIONS SERIES includes three online courses and the hybrid-delivery Foundations Practicum. The courses literally provide the foundation of Early Start requirements, procedures and practices. Online Foundations courses may be taken in any order or concurrently; there are no prerequisites for participation. However, participants must successfully complete all three Foundations online courses before attending the Foundations Practicum. Scroll down for a description of course objectives and week-by-week course content.

Foundations: Understanding Systems, Processes, and Practices
(Formerly referred to as Foundations I)

Topics covered in this course include: family systems, the Early Start system, making decisions using evidence-based practice, the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) process, and supporting families using coaching and other help-giving practices.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the critical role of the family and family support in the care and development of young children with disabilities.
  • Describe Early Start program eligibility, program requirements and procedural safeguards.
  • Research, appraise and identify appropriate evidence-based early intervention practices.
  • Explain the IFSP process, including required components and timelines.
  • Describe the practices related to and benefits of coaching and relationship-based approaches to early intervention services.

Course Content Week-by-Week

Week 1-2: Family Systems

  • Family systems theory
  • Family characteristics and roles
  • Family interactions and supports
  • Impact of stressors and protective factors on family functioning
  • Family support resources

Week 3-4: Early Start System

  • Federal statute and regulations
  • California statute and regulations
  • State and federal system components and partners
  • Performance plan and annual performance report
  • Eligibility: developmental delay, established risk
  • Procedural safeguards: parents’ rights, mediation, due process, complaints

Week 5-6: Utilizing Evidence-Based Practice

  • What is evidence-based practice?
  • Process for evidence-based decision-making
  • PICO: Defining a research question
  • Research resources
  • Relevance, validity and reliability

Week 7-8: IFSP Development

  • Definitions
  • Phases and timelines
  • Family concerns, priorities and resources
  • Transition at age

Week 9-10: Supporting Families Using Coaching and Other Help-Giving Practices

  • The impact of help-giving practices on family functioning and early intervention effectiveness
  • Types of help-giving supports and services
  • Principles of partnership
  • Steps of coaching: Initiation, observation, action, reflection, feedback
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