Definition of Natural Environment Limiting I would like to respond to the article “Navigating the Early Intervention System” in the March 24 issue. I am referring, in particular, to the sidebar on p. 24 that summarized one provider's experience in providing early language intervention. I certainly agree with the frustration this provider experiences due to ... Inbox
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Inbox  |   May 01, 2009
Definition of Natural Environment Limiting
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  • Toby Stephan, Columbus, Georgia
    Toby Stephan, Columbus, Georgia×
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Special Populations / Early Identification & Intervention / School-Based Settings / Professional Issues & Training / Language Disorders / Inbox
Inbox   |   May 01, 2009
Definition of Natural Environment Limiting
The ASHA Leader, May 2009, Vol. 14, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.14062009.4
The ASHA Leader, May 2009, Vol. 14, 4. doi:10.1044/leader.IN2.14062009.4
I would like to respond to the article “Navigating the Early Intervention System” in the March 24 issue. I am referring, in particular, to the sidebar on p. 24 that summarized one provider's experience in providing early language intervention. I certainly agree with the frustration this provider experiences due to fragmentation of service delivery models. However, I was disappointed with the description on the negative impact of providing services in the natural environment. Having to see kids in either their home or preschool rather than in the clinic (which cuts in half the number of kids that can be seen per day) was listed as the primary negative factor.
To me, the true downfall of the current system for providing early intervention lies in the misinterpretation of what a natural environment really is. Many believe that “natural environment” simply means providing intervention in the child's natural environment. Rather, it means empowering those within the environment or assuring that the natural environment is structured so that the child's needs are being met.
Currently, many clinicians are reimbursed only if they provide hands-on services to the child. Interventions that are designed to empower those caring for the children most are often referred to as parent education rather than as true intervention and, as such, are either not reimbursable or reimbursable at a lesser rate.
The current service delivery model does not allow clinicians to provide what is often considered to be best practice.
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May 2009
Volume 14, Issue 6