Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Mark Pancer

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


A variety of programs reflecting a diverse array of philosophical approaches to early intervention for developmentally handicapped preschoolers have been developed over the past 30 years. Evaluations of these programs report that early intervention is effective for these children. Yet considerable controversy continues about the validity of most of these studies. A number of researchers have expressed the need for different methods of evaluation but to date few researchers have attempted to evaluate these programs with more appropriate methods or to examine aspects of the program other than child outcomes. This study assessed an early intervention program that involved home visits with the families of developmentally handicapped pre-schoolers. The study focused on the program’s “process”, that is, the way in which the program was implemented, and services were provided. These program processes were examined in several ways: by observing the interactions between home visitors and client families during home visits and by interviewing parents who were involved with the program; and by interviewing parents of developmentally handicapped children who had not elected to receive in-home visits. The results of this evaluation verified that the program was meeting its intended objectives of increasing parent knowledge about child development, maintaining consistency between home and school, and increasing parents’ knowledge of community resources. Other important program effects emerged from the open-ended interviews with parents and these are discussed along with recommendations for the program and the utilization of results by staff. The study provides support for the applicability of using naturalistic enquiry to evaluate a program of this type and the feasibility of examining parental perceptions of satisfaction rather than child outcomes.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season