Early Childhood Intervention

Early Intervention in Natural Learning Environments: A Model to Build Capacity Across State Systems


The Early Intervention in Natural Learning Environments was a three-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. It utilized findings from the Research Institute on Increasing Children's Learning Opportunities through Families and Communities (Dunst, Bruder, et al., 1998), a five-year early education program for children with disabilities, to develop, implement, and evaluate a training model on the use of natural environments in early intervention. The model encompassed both inservice and preservice materials and activities to support individual states' Comprehensive Systems of Personnel Development (CSPD). The training content of the model included assessment, Individual Family Service Plan development, intervention, and evaluation techniques.


  • Produced training materials including workbooks, manuals, course syllabi, and slide presentations for illustrating each phase of early intervention.
  • Embedded training activities within the materials.
  • Implemented the training curriculum in states to support a community of learners.
  • Evaluated the training impact on the delivery of early intervention services within natural environments within participating states.
  • The evaluation was multidimensional and included a case study of the model.