Date of Award

4-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Education (M.Ed.)

Department

College of Education

First Advisor

Cynthia Smith

Second Advisor

Mary Bair

Third Advisor

Denise Meier

Fourth Advisor

Sango Otieno

Academic Year

2014/2015

Abstract

Early identification and treatment of feeding difficulties greatly improves outcomes for young children with feeding difficulties (Williams et al., 2006). However, identifying and addressing feeding difficulties in young children, birth to age three, is complex; requiring not only interdisciplinary collaboration (Arvedson, 2008; Bruns & Thompson, 2010; Lefton-Greif & Arvedson, 2008; Williams et al., 2006) but also interagency collaboration due to the various partners involved in service provision for young children, birth to age three (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2004). When such interagency collaboration is needed, systems level structural supports are shown to levy the greatest impact on outcomes (Tseng et al., 2011). Yet, prior to this study, no noted research had been published identifying the systems level supports needed when addressing feeding difficulties in young children. Therefore, this study examined the systems level supports, needs, and interagency collaboration when addressing the needs of young children, birth to age three, with feeding difficulties. An electronic survey was used to gather information from early intervention coordinators and early childhood administrators overseeing services for young children, birth to age three, in early intervention in Michigan. Many systems level supports and needs were identified. In addition, a significant relationship was identified between levels of interagency collaboration and access to evaluation and services for feeding difficulties. Results of the study have important implications for future research, practice, and policy.

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