Embedding is “a process of addressing children’s target goals within daily activities and events in a manner that expands, modifies or is integral to the activity or event in a meaningful way.” The education team works together to find opportunities to generalize the skills throughout the child’s day (Bricker & Pretti-Frontczak, 2004).
By creating an “objectives-within-routines” matrix with the team, the family/teacher can post a simple plan that guides them through IFSP/IEP goals during the child’s day.
A cross-disciplinary matrix addresses all IFSP/IEP goals using input from the entire team. This model supports the transdisciplinary model, where one or a few people are responsible for direct contact with the child. Collaborative assessments determine needs, and the team members follow a role release model, in which fixed roles are diminished. Specialists release their roles to the primary service provider who works with the child most frequently, consulting with team members in their area of specialty (Fazzi & Pogrund, 2002).
“The number of people who are directly involved in intervention should be as small as possible, with a high level of cooperation between them to ensure a maximum amount of continuity.” Groenveld, M., Jan, J., & Leader, P. (1990). Observations on the habilitation of children with cortical visual impairment. Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, 84(1), 11-15.
Communication is key in this model. The vision teacher should take the lead when the child diagnosed with CVI enters their program. An inservice on CVI should be provided to the entire team, before assessments if possible. Collaborative assessments with the vision teacher are essential as the team may not have had experience working with a child with CVI. Remember how important the parent’s information is for this team….conduct a parent interview. “Professionals who work with children who have CVI need to pay careful attention to the experiences and the information supplied by the people who know these children best. And, by listening to and guiding these parents, they will be giving children with CVI the best chance to improve their visual functioning.” Roman-Lantzy, C. (2007). Cortical visual impairment: An approach to assessment and intervention. New York, NY: AFB Press.
The IFSP/IEP goals should be written as a team. The classroom teacher will share the child’s daily schedule and the team will identify and develop learning opportunities to embed those goals within the child’s routine. The TVI will be responsible for addressing the environmental accommodations that should be in place for the child to be most visually successful in tasks. Interventions should be designed to meet, but not to exceed, the assessed level of visual function (Roman-Lantzy, 2007). Some daily activities might not be best for combining with vision goals, especially if the child is participating in an activity where the materials/environment can’t be controlled.
The team should now decide how it will communicate. Face to face meetings are not always possible on a weekly basis, but group emails or texts are. Media sharing programs, such as Dropbox, are a helpful tool when sharing video of the child with the team. Include all of the team members when sharing information. Team members can learn from each other, offer strategies that should be tried and included in the child’s matrix for all staff to reference. When professionals work as a team, led by the vision specialist, the child’s vision goals will be addressed throughout the day in the natural learning environment.
Dr. Christine Roman-Lantzy offers her own template for an “IFSP/IEP Intervention Planning Worksheet” in Chapter 6 Program Planning and Intervention in her book. Roman-Lantzy, C. (2007). Cortical visual impairment: An approach to assessment and intervention. New York, NY: AFB Press.
Bricker, D. & Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2004). An activity-based approach to early intervention. (3rd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing, Co.
Fazzi, D.L. & Pogrund, R.L. (2002). Early focus: Working with young children who are blind or visually impaired and their families. New York, NY: AFB Press.