chapter  12
MEASURING RECOMMENDED PRACTICES FOR VERY YOUNG CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
Pages 23

The value of educational, therapeutic, and social services for infants and young children with disabilities and their families has been acknowledged by leaders in the field of special education (Guralnick, 1997; Meisels, Dichtmiller, & Liaw, 1994; Shonkoff, Hauser-Cram, Krauss, & Upshur, 1992) and by policymakers as shown by the enactment of PL 99-457 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 (IDEA, 1997). These beliefs are substantiated by both research and theory that show the importance of the first years of life for brain growth and development (Chugani, Phelps, & Mazziotta, 1987; Kolb, 1989), learning (Ramey et al., 1992), language (Dunham & Dunham, 1992), and social development (Werner & Smith, 1982). However, evidence establishing the effectiveness of early intervention for all young children with disabilities is less clear partly because methodological issues make it difficult to conduct convincing studies with this highly diverse population (Casto & Mastropieri, 1986; Escobar, Barnett, & Goetze, 1994; Guralnick, 1993, 1997; Olds & Kitzman, 1993), although meta-analyses of existing studies have shown modest positive outcomes (Casto & Mastropieri, 1986; Shonkoff & HauserCram, 1987).