Presenting the model of risk, disability and hard-to-reach families to inform early intervention services
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INTRODUCTION: Several concepts - risk, resilience, disability and hard-to-reach families in early intervention services - are talked and written about in many ways. Family Stress Theory can be usefully applied to explore these issues systematically. PROBLEM: The relationship between risk and disability is complex, and the role of resilience is not fully understood. The idea of "hard-to-reach families" is not well defined, thus presenting challenges to service providers and policy makers. Reflection: This paper presents the Model of Risk, Disability and Hard-to-Reach Families and uses the model to: (1) define the groups of high risk families and families of children with disabilities and explore the concept of resilience within these groups; (2) describe services offered to these groups; and (3) reflect on service use and so-called "hard-to-reach families". Each section includes suggested applications for service providers that may inform the work done with young children and their families who experience risk or disability. CONCLUSION: Service providers can apply the Model of Risk, Disability and Hard-to-Reach Families to consider each family's unique strengths and challenges, and use those individual elements to influence service recommendations and anticipate service use. Implications for rehabilitation The concepts of risk, resilience, and hard-to-reach families are poorly defined in the literatures, but have important implications with respect to early childhood intervention services. Family Stress Theory can help to identify high-risk families and account for family resilience It is important for clinicians, researchers and policy makers to consider the relationship between disability and risk with respect to services offered to families and the potential barriers to service use. Clinicians and policy makers have a role in promoting accessible early childhood services.
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