This paper presents the results of a survey of 43 occupational therapy academic programs regarding their preparation of students to work with young children with special needs. The number of instructional hours devoted to topics related to services for infants or toddlers and their families varied greatly. Some programs plan an increase in hours but are limited by the total hours available within the curriculum.

This paper also shares the recommendations of a panel of occupational therapists with expertise in early intervention and entry-level education. The panel was concerned with the quality of preparation of therapists entering early intervention programs and encouraged the profession to review the amount of course work within each curriculum that introduces students to basic knowledge and skills related to early intervention. Some knowledge, such as the consultant’s role and working with families of persons who are physically or mentally challenged, are common to other practice areas. The panel stressed that students be taught strategies for obtaining the training necessary for postgraduate entry into a specialty area such as early intervention.

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