Teamwork in early childhood intervention for children with disabilities and their families. Australia offers a guide of global significance. Essential reading for all of us

ecia80ECIA National Guidelines for Best Practice

From ECAI website: Early Childhood Intervention Australia’s (ECIA) National Guidelines for Best Practice in Early Childhood Intervention enable practitioners across Australia, no matter where they operate from, to access the latest research and advice on disability support for young children.

ECI practitioners can use these guidelines as a framework for excellence in service delivery, and to help prepare for the NDIS ( ) rollout. They will be supplemented with practical tools being developed by ECIA over coming months.

Released in April 2016, the guidelines were developed following two years of consultation with ECI service providers and government. At the core of the guidelines are four quality areas, underpinned by the eight key best practices:

Quality Area 1: Family 

  • Family-centered and Strengths-based Practice
  • Culturally Responsive Practice

Quality Area 2: Inclusion 

  • Inclusive Participatory Practice
  • Engaging the Child in Natural Environments

Quality Area 3: Teamwork 

  • Collaborative Teamwork Practice
  • Capacity-Building Practice

Quality Area 4: Universal Principles

  • Evidence Base, Standards, Accountability and Practice
  • Outcome-Based Approach

Peter Limbrick writes: These guidelines are essential reading for practitioners and service managers in any country who support young children who have disability and/or developmental delay, and their families.

The guidelines are essential reading too for parents in any country to support their struggle to get the best start in life for their child.

There was broad consensus across all ECI National Guidelines consultation workshops that collaborative and coordinated teamwork was an essential best practice for ECI. The Guidelines offer descriptions of interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary teamwork and then offer their preferred model of ‘Collaborative Teamwork’. The following is taken from page 15 of the Guidelines:

Key Features of Collaborative Teams

Collaborative teamwork is a teamwork model that is flexible and combines some of the key elements of the transdisciplinary, key worker and TAC teamwork models into a workable model for today and into the future. It is easily understandable and identifiable for families and all the key stakeholders in ECI and the community.

Family members and professionals work together as a collaborative, integrated, coordinated team with the common goal of facilitating participation of a child and family in everyday community environments. Communication is crucial, contributing to problem solving, consensus decision making and other aspects of teamwork. Together team members develop shared: understanding, responsibility and vision.

Families are always central to the team and are the final decision makers. Other team members are invited, according to the specific needs and wishes of the family. Team members can include extended family, ECI service providers, private practitioners, ECEC educators, school teachers, paediatricians, and other adults whose skills and opinions make important contributions to the team. Over time, as the needs of the family and child change, team membership also may change.

A key worker, chosen by the team, coordinates information, services and supports. Family members sometimes assume the key worker role although, most often, they chose a professional to be the key worker. When the key worker is a professional, that person is the family’s contact, providing much of the service to the child and family. Indirect work, such as coaching of the adults who facilitate participation of the child or family in everyday community environments, is a major form of service delivery. As the main service provider, the key worker must draw on the skills and knowledge of other team members.

Although not all team members directly provide intervention to a child or family, all share knowledge and expertise that informs implementation, planning and monitoring of services. A benefit of working in a collaborative team is the expanded knowledge and expertise that all members gain from sharing and reflecting with other team members. Shared knowledge and responsibility also contribute to a greater sense of satisfaction with one’s work


Guidelines here -


Note: Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA) is the peak national organisation promoting the interests of young children with disability / developmental delays and their families. ECIA has a National and State/Territory structure.

share your information  Cartoon © Martina Jirankova-Limbrick 2011