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The present study was designed to document the effects of early intervention and parenting support, and to provide a model program proposal for federal adoption. Specifically, this paper redefines the term "readiness" to recognize the diverse needs of infants and their families.
Research indicates several factors influence school readiness: physical well-being and motor development including proper prenatal, perinatal, and early childhood care and nutrition; social and emotional development; approaches toward learning; language usage; and cognition and general knowledge. Parental understanding of how to facilitate the advancement of young children in these areas is extremely important. Without this knowledge parents are likely to perpetuate intergenerational patterns of behavior which may adversely effect the child's growth and development. Research proves that parental attitudes and child-rearing practices, during the child's crucial early years, will help or hinder the child's chance for success later in school and into adulthood.
In recognition of these needs, many state and federal programs have been initiated. The researcher has reviewed several successful programs. Yet, these programs are unable to reach the multitude of Americans who need them. Many programs focus solely on "at-risk" populations, largely due to budgetary constraints. However, research shows that universally children and their families benefit from early intervention and support. Therefore, if all children have the capacity to benefit, then all children share the risk factors involved with the absence of programming. In this very real sense, all children are "at-risk."
The research finds that there is clearly need for infant intervention and family support programming. This programming must be available with unconditional acceptance standards. The researcher proposes a valid program as a unique and viable answer to the issue of change, which must occur for the benefit of our children and our nation's future.