Cultural and linguistic alchemy: Mining the resources of spanish-speaking children and families receiving early intervention services

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This study was designed to gain insight into how early intervention (EI) services incorporate the cultural and linguistic resources of families and how EI professionals and families build partnerships with each other. Through observation and interview, the author looked deeply at the experiences of a small group of culturally and linguistically diverse children and families receiving home-based EI services. Results revealed that professionals and family members placed a high value on bilingualism, despite the many complexities and confusions regarding the use of English and Spanish by participating children and adults. A range of family strengths and potentialities were recognized, and professionals integrated various family members into their efforts. However, missed opportunities to build on family routines and areas of expertise and interest were identified. Despite the fact that collaboration was often carried out in a one-directional, parent-training model, families and professionals in the study formed strong partnerships. This description of the experiences and viewpoints of a group of Spanish-speaking children and families receiving early intervention services, and of the professionals serving them, contributes to the research base on cultural and linguistic diversity and early childhood education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-345
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Research in Childhood Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2012



  • bilingualism
  • children with disabilities
  • culturally diverse students
  • early childhood special education
  • family culture
  • family partnerships

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