Importance: Best practice guidelines and legal mandates have deemed parent engagement an essential component of early intervention (EI). Parent coaching is an intervention and a model of service delivery used in occupational therapy practice that is designed to integrate parents into the therapy session.
Objective: To examine the current definitions of coaching and the ways in which U.S. occupational therapy practitioners are using coaching models in EI.
Study Selection and Data Collection: We systematically searched 11 databases—CINAHL Complete, CINAHL with full text, Education Research Complete, ERIC, PsycARTICLES, PsycINFO, Teacher Reference Center, Academic Search Premier, Academic Search Complete, Socindex with full text, and Social Work Abstracts—for articles published from 2000 through 2020. A total of 178 articles were retrieved, and 60 underwent full-text review. The final review included 16 studies of varying designs in which occupational therapy was one of the interventions and in which various definitions of coaching and models were used.
Findings: The concepts inherent in coaching models were consistent across studies. There was little emphasis on the efficacy of coaching models as related to goal attainment.
Conclusions and Relevance: Coaching is a viable intervention in EI. Studies are needed to assess the efficacy of the parent coaching model in achieving child and family outcomes and the training needed to provide the intervention appropriately.
What This Article Adds: This scoping review explores existing research on coaching interventions and models used by occupational therapists in EI. Findings indicate that this is an area of opportunity because the model of parent coaching strongly aligns with the professional scope of occupational therapy practice.