Thirteen day old smiling newborn baby boy wearing a gray crocheted elephant hat and diaper cover. He is sleeping on his stomach on gray fleece fabric.

Ready, Set, Push! Birthing the PSP Pilot

Lisa Cloninger, MSW, Mecklenburg CDSA Unit Supervisor

Did you know that the gestation period for a cow is 10 months? For dolphins, it’s 12 months. For elephants, 18 to 22 months. The winner is the octopus, though. It has a gestation period of 4.5 years! Believe it or not, we have been working on coaching and natural learning environment practices in Mecklenburg County longer than that!

We have spent the last eight years studying, practicing, and training to provide the highest quality, evidence-based services we can with families in our program. We strive to use all of the Agreed Upon Mission and Key Principles for Providing Early Intervention Services in Natural Environments.    The final key principle we are ready to implement is Key Principle # 6: The family’s priorities, needs, and interests are addressed most appropriately by a primary provider who represents and receives team and community support.

Beginning in January 2017, the Mecklenburg County CDSA is piloting a primary service provider (PSP) approach to teaming on one infant-toddler team. The pilot will last between 18 to 24 months, and data will be collected to include child and family outcomes, cost, frequency, and timeliness of services. The team will be following the PSP process as developed by M’Lisa Shelden, PT, Ph.D. and Dathan Rush, Ed.D., CCC-SLP of the Family, Infant, and Preschool Program in Morganton, NC and will use a combination of CDSA staff, network providers, and Sensory Support providers to serve families in a specific geographic area of Mecklenburg County.

Here are a few details about how this method of teaming works:

Working Together, Working Wonders

We use a team-based approach to early intervention services. This approach is shown to provide the highest quality services to young children and families and is based on current research about best practices.

Every Family Gets a Whole Team!

An entire group of child development professionals with expertise in all areas collaborate with families to help them feel confident about supporting their child’s learning and development in their everyday activities and routines. Core team members include service coordinators, developmental specialists, a physical therapist, an occupational therapist, speech-language pathologists, a social worker, and vision and hearing teachers. The team will also have access to psychologists and nutritionists when needed.

The Service Coordinator

Every family works with a Service Coordinator (SC). SCs facilitate the development of the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), help the family identify concerns, priorities, and resources, and they ensure that families are satisfied with services.

The Primary Service Provider

One member of the team will also serve as the primary service provider (PSP). This person is the primary liaison between the family and other team members and provides regular support based on family priorities and IFSP outcomes.

Team Meetings

The team meets weekly to collaborate and support one another on how to best serve each family. Families are welcome to participate in person or through the use of technology when their child and family are discussed. Each child and family’s progress is reviewed at least quarterly and more often if needed.

Joint Visits

Team members may accompany the PSP on visits for support during “Joint Visits” or to provide a secondary support to the family when there are specific questions or concerns about the child’s development. These team members visit with the PSP as needed to ensure families are getting the support they require.

Sound interesting? Well, stay tuned for more information about how the pilot is going! Check back here for updates on our progress and to hear about the successes and challenges of implementation.

Still have questions? Refer to our FAQs About Mecklenburg County CDSA PSP Pilot Document.


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