1999 Conference Proceedings

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THE INFANT COLLABORATIVE PANEL PROCESS - A FAMILY CENTERED APPROACH TO COMMUNICATION SUPPORT

Susan Mark-Raymond
MS, Program Specialist
Sonoma County Special Education Local Plan Area
Santa Rosa, CA. 95403

Debra Wilcox
MS, CCC-SLP
AAC and Assistive Technology Specialist
Sonoma County Adaptive Technology Center
Sebastopol, CA. 95472

The Infant Collaborative Panel Process is a team approach to meet the technology and communication needs of infants ages 0-3 in Sonoma County, California. The children served usually have motor impairments and may also have other accompanying sensory impairments as well. A strength of this process is a commitment to meet the needs of the infant through parent direction, feedback and involvement.

The Infant Panel process begins with a one hour collaboration of all persons who work directly with the infant and family: therapists, home visitors, case manager, adaptive technology specialists, as well as the infant and parents. The parents and service providers first discuss the infant's strengths, likes, and challenges in the areas of communication and physical access. The Adaptive Technology Center staff have fabricated an "infant play center" and customized switch/communication set ups which allow the child to activate music, colored lights, videos, mild vibration, and messages through a variety of switches. By the end of the session, the collaborative team decides next steps for the infant, training needed by the family and other service providers, and equipment needed.

Subsequent equipment set up, training of service providers, and parents take place at home and are dependent upon the individual needs of the infant and family.

The belief of the Adaptive Technology Center staff and other infant collaborative team members is that early access to toys, play, choices, and communication empowers children with motor and/or developmental disabilities to learn and grow in ways which previously have been inaccessible to them.


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