Source: Six Ideas to Ease the Early Intervention Staffing Crisis by Sarah Carr
By Mackenzie McIntyre
There has been an ongoing issue with staffing in early intervention, whether it’s the challenge of funding the number of staff, staff unable to make a living on their salary, or concerns about the overall quality of learning. Bringing attention to this issue is crucial, especially considering its impact on young children. The following article “Six Ideas to Ease the Early Intervention Staffing Crisis” by Sarah Carr brings attention to some practical solutions to this issue:
Expand Mentoring and Apprenticeships
Expanding mentoring and apprenticeship can benefit early intervention in multiple ways. It can offer trainees mentoring instead of forcing them to pay for an expensive training program. Which Promotes easier access to the workforce while simultaneously allowing areas (particularly within low-income communities) to receive extra support and staffing from the trainees.
Create a Pipeline from Related Jobs
Creating pathways for paraprofessionals and teachers’ aides to transition into therapist roles can bring attention to the community’s need for more jobs in early intervention. While also serves as an effective way to encourage and financially support individuals in lower-paid positions to pursue higher qualifications.
Offer Perks to Those Already in the Profession
Perks can serve as an incentive to attract individuals to the industry. Providing benefits like loan debt repayment for professionals, along with offerings such as free childcare, can significantly enhance the appeal of joining the field
Build in More Culturally Relevant Curriculum and Training
Many individuals of color won’t pursue or stay in early intervention training programs because it is considered to be too Western or Eurocentric. Recognizing, respecting, and incorporating the diverse cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds of the families and communities involved can help solve this problem. One example of doing this includes research and literature from diverse scholars and practitioners. Recognizing and including different backgrounds and cultures promotes inclusivity and helps ensure a more representative learning environment.
Streamline Higher Education Bureaucracy
Simplifying the bureaucracy within higher education can be beneficial for professionals in early intervention. While working with two-year-olds and three-year-olds involves some educational differences, the training required is often quite similar. Streamlining the process and encouraging collaboration between these areas can create a more efficient and supportive system, allowing professionals to share knowledge and ultimately enhancing the overall effectiveness of early intervention programs.
Commitment to supporting both communities and those in the early intervention industry. Giving precedence to continual support, including mentorship and stability, holds significant potential. This approach not only acknowledges the importance of these professionals but also recognizes their crucial contributions to the well-being of young children and the future of communities.