Why are we doing this study?
Although early intervention is well established in all states, the service provided to infants with movement disorders varies widely from state to state, city to city, and even within the same town. These differences are not just in the amount of service received, but also in the type of intervention and the approach of teams and therapists. We truly do not know what early intervention for infants with motor delays entails, how it differs from site to site, and what is effective intervention to build school-readiness for these children. The purpose of this study is to compare the effectiveness of the START-Play intervention with business-as-usual intervention, and also to describe in detail how early intervention is provided in different parts of the U.S.
What is the START-Play intervention?
The START-Play intervention focuses on the intersection of cognition and movement. Based on the perspective of grounded cognition, this intervention is provided in the home environment with all aspects embedded in the typical features of family life and early learning. Although most early intervention occurs in the natural environment of the child, the START-Play approach focuses on two critical early motor skills, sitting and reaching, and the problem-solving that must occur to link cognitive concepts to motor exploration and experience. The specific early cognitive concepts of interest in this study, which are embedded in movement, are: object permanence, means-end understanding, object/object and object/body affordances, and joint attention to objects and actions. Therapist/caregiver and caregiver/child interaction for solving problems incrementally, depending on the skill level of the child, are also critical to the appropriate delivery of this intervention.