Effective Early Intervention: The Developmental Systems Approach

Author: Michael J. Guralnick Ph.D.

Format: Hardcover, 384 pages, 7.0 x 10.0
ISBN: 9781681252889
Price: $89.95

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After decades of rapid evolution and groundbreaking research, the field of early intervention can be understood within a common framework: the Developmental Systems Approach (DSA). Created by a highly influential leader in the field, Michael Guralnick, this evidence-based, relationship-oriented, family-centered framework focuses on strengthening the quality of key family patterns of interaction that influence a child's development. The overall integration of developmental science, our knowledge of risk and disability, intervention science, and practice provides the structure for the DSA.

In this important volume, Guralnick organizes and analyzes the most current research and developments in early intervention through the lens of the DSA. Starting with a clear explanation of the foundations of early intervention, the book then applies the DSA to four vulnerable populations: children at risk due to biological factors, specifically preterm birth, children at environmental risk, children with developmental delays, and children with autism spectrum disorder. Readers will discover how the DSA can guide the development of effective services and supports for diverse young children and families, and theyll come away with insights on how to use this framework to improve early intervention programs in their own communities. An invaluable reference for early childhood researchers, faculty, and policy makers, this forward-thinking book is the key to establishing inclusive community-based early intervention systems that nurture each family's strengths and promote child development.


  • Understand the developmental science that applies to all children
  • Learn how child development is influenced by three critical family patterns of interaction—parent–child transactions, family-orchestrated child experiences, and parent promotion of child health and safety
  • Explore the influence of family resources as well as child-specific risk and protective factors on a childs health and development in the context of early intervention
  • Discover ways to select interventions that are most effective for children and families based on intervention science and the DSA conceptual framework
  • Learn the fundamentals of applying the DSA framework to designing and implementing inclusive community-based systems of early intervention


Review by: Helen Dumont, Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
"A seminal, ground-breaking work"
Review by: Steven Warren, Ph.D., Investigator, Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies at the University of Kansas
"Effective Early Intervention: The Developmental Systems Approach is a comprehensive, thoroughly updated volume that builds on Mike Guralnicks previous books on this topic. Amongst its strengths are the way it weaves the developmental approach together with empirical research to create a cutting-edge tool for practitioners, scientists, and most of all students from a wide range of disciplines."
Review by: Ann Turnbull, Ph.D., University of North Carolina
"Dr. Guralnick analyzes the "parts" and synthesizes the "whole." The "parts" are the domains of developmental science, knowledge of risk/disability, intervention science, and early intervention practice. The "whole" is his brilliant Developmental Systems Framework through which he verifies Aristotles wisdom–"the whole is greater than the sum of the parts."
Review by: Sally Rogers, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, MIND Institute at the University of California, Davis
"Guralnick provides the reader with state of the science knowledge in learning characteristics of children within various types of developmental disorders, and in applying his DSA model, he also opens up new ways of organizing existing information, new ways of considering intervention targets, and new ideas about individual variation in longitudinal trajectories."
Review by: Laurie Dinnebeil, Ph.D., Distinguished University Professor and Judith Daso Herb Chair, The University of Toledo
"Clearly a book that should be on the bookshelf for scholars who are committed to supporting the development and well-being of young children with disabilities and their families."

Table of Contents

About the Author

Section I: Introduction and Overview
   Chapter 1. Foundations of Early Intervention
   Chapter 2. Environmental Influences on Development: Family Patterns of Interaction and Family Resources
   Chapter 3. Early Intervention in the Context of the Developmental Systems Approach

Section II: Children at Biological Risk: Preterm Birth
   Chapter 4. Preterm Birth: Developmental Science
   Chapter 5. Preterm Birth: Intervention Science and Community Systems

Section III: Children at Environmental Risk
   Chapter 6. Environmental Risk: Developmental Science
   Chapter 7. Environmental Risk: Intervention Science and Community Systems

Section IV: Children with Developmental Delays
   Chapter 8. Developmental Delay: Developmental Science
   Chapter 9. Developmental Delay: Intervention Science and Community Systems

Section V: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
   Chapter 10. Autism Spectrum Disorder: Developmental Science
   Chapter 11. Autism Spectrum Disorder: Intervention Science and Community Systems

Section VI: Applying the Developmental Systems Approach to Community Programs
   Chapter 12. Advancing the System of Early Intervention

Author Index
Subject Index

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