Date of Award

Spring 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Communication Disorders & Special Education


Special Education

Committee Director

Sharon Raver-Lampman

Committee Member

Sabra Gear

Committee Member

Angela Eckhoff


In order to have qualified service providers from a variety of disciplines (e.g., early childhood special education, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology) who are well-prepared to provide effective early intervention (EI), high quality professional development is needed that is easily accessed by service providers and enhances their abilities to implement specific, evidence-based intervention practices with children and families. Because of the family-centered nature of EI, service providers must be knowledgeable about how to support caregiver learning during EI visits, using practices that are grounded in adult learning theory. The case study research project described in this dissertation addresses those needs by outlining the development, facilitation, and evaluation of a brief multi-component, technology-mediated inservice training course entitled, Using Adult Learning Strategies to Support Caregivers during Early Intervention Visits. This training course included ongoing, embedded support and was provided for nine EI service providers who were currently practicing within the Infant and Toddler Connection of Virginia, the Commonwealth’s EI system. A within-subjects pre-posttest design was used to evaluate the 6-week training course to determine the effects of participation on: 1) service providers’ use of four EI adult learning strategies (e.g., reflective conversation, caregiver practice with feedback, collaborative problem-solving, and joint planning); 2) providers’ changes in knowledge about adult learning and how to apply the adult learning strategies during EI visits with families; and 3) providers’ perceptions of the effectiveness of the multi-component, technology-mediated training course.


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