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EQ903-30 Early Intervention

Academic year
Centre for Education Studies
Taught Postgraduate Level
Module leader
Stephen Cullen
Credit value
Module duration
10 weeks
100% coursework
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

This module will provide an overview of early intervention as a means of improving the life chances of children, with particular reference to addressing the adverse effect of social disadvantage and special educational needs and disabilities, especially autism or intellectual disability.

Module aims

By the end of the module you should understand the rationale and research basis for early intervention, recent and current large scale examples of early intervention and programmes, and identify the actions needed for implementing an early intervention programme at local level.

Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

  1. Introduction: From early identification of individual children to early intervention on a
    local area and national scale.
  2. National advocates for Early Intervention: learning from recent research on the role of the
    Early Intervention Foundation and of the Big Lottery Fund’s Early Intervention
    programmes in driving changing practice.
  3. Parenting programmes as early intervention: learning from recent research on targeted
    and universal delivery modes.
  4. Early development in children with intellectual and developmental disabilities including
  5. Principles and the practice of early intervention for children with intellectual and
    developmental disabilities including autism, and their families.
  6. Early intervention for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities including
    autism: The state of the evidence.
  7. Further issues in early intervention for children with intellectual and developmental
    disabilities including autism: Impact and outcomes for family members, long term effects
    of early intervention, and cost effectiveness.
  8. The emergence and development of early intervention as a public policy option in relation
    to health, education and social policy in England.
  9. Critically engaging with academic and political critiques of the early intervention model.
  10. From research evidence to local and national policy and practice.
Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Understand the origin and rationale for early intervention; the technical issues regarding early intervention of children and parents that might benefit; the range of foci for early intervention.
  • Provide an account of the emergence and development of the early intervention model of public policy implementation.
  • Have an increased understanding of how government policy and arm’s length national organisations influence local early intervention practice.
  • Understand the nature of, and factors influencing early psycho-social development in children with intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism.
  • Have an increased understanding of local and other constraints that also shape practice on the ground.
  • Discuss the key policy documents relating to the early intervention model, and be able to discuss the nature of the cross-party consensus relating to the model.
  • Critically engage with recent research methods and findings related to early intervention.
  • Describe general principles and example approaches to early intervention with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism.
  • Critically evaluate the evidence base for early intervention approaches for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism.
  • Provide an account of current policy and practice relating to early intervention and the implications for the development of local and national services and policy.
Indicative reading list

Allen, G., (2011), Early Intervention: The Next Steps; an independent report to Her Majesty’s
Government, HM Government, London
Allen,G. (2011), Early Intervention: Smart Investment, Massive Savings, HMSO
Belsky, J., Bell, B., Stallard, N., and Stewart-Brown, S.L., (2007), ‘Socioeconomic risk, parenting
during preschool years, and child health age 6 years’, European Journal of Public Health, 17 (5), 508-513 Cullen, M.A., Davis, L., Davis, H., Lindsay, G. (2012). Engaging parents in Parentline Plus’ Time to Talk Community Programme as part of England’s Teenage Pregnancy Strategy: Lessons for policy and practice. Children & Society, 26(6), 443-455. DOI: 10.1111/j. 1099-0860.2010.00350.x Cullen, S.M., Cullen, M.A., Band, S., Davis, L., & Lindsay, G. (2011). Supporting fathers to engage with their children’s learning and education: an under-developed aspect of the Parent Support Adviser pilot. British Educational Research Journal, 37, 485-500. DOI: 10. 1080/01411921003786579. Stephen M Cullen,Cullen, M.A., Lindsay, G., Strand, S., (2013) ''The Parenting Early Intervention Programme in England, 2006-11; a classed experience?',' British Educational Research Journal 39 (6), 1025 - 1043 C4EO (2010), Grasping the Nettle: early intervention for children, families and communities; a practice guide to the challenges and opportunities in supporting children, families and communities through early intervention, based on effective local, national and international practice, London: C4EO, Durlak JA, DuPre EP (2008). “Implementation matters: A review of research on the influence of implementation on program outcomes and the factors affecting implementation.” American Journal of Community Psychology 41(3):, 327-350. Eldevik,S., Hastings, R.P., Jahr, E., & Hughes, C. (2012). Outcomes of behavioural intervention for children with autism in mainstream pre-school settings. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 210-220. DOI 10.1007/s10803-011-1234-9 Field, F., (December, 2010), The Foundation Years: preventing poor children becoming poor adults. The report of the Independent Review on Poverty and Life Chances, HM Government, London Fixsen, D.L, Naoom, S.F, Blase, K.A, Friedman, R.M, Wallace, F. (2005).Implementation Research: A Synthesis of the Literature. Tampa, FL: University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute, The National Implementation Research Network (FMHI Publication #231). Gore, N. J., Hastings, R. P., & Brady, S. (2014). Early intervention for children with learning disabilities: Making use of what we know. Tizard Learning Disability Review, 19, 181-189. Grindle, C., Hastings R.P. et al (2012) Outcomes of a behavioural education model for children with autism in a mainstream school setting. Behavior Modification, DOI: 10.1177/0145445512441199 Guralnick. M. (2005). Early intervention for children with intellectual disabilities: Current knowledge and future prospects. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities. 10.1111/j.1468-3148.2005.00270. Lindsay, G. & Strand, S. (2013). Evaluation of a national roll-out of parenting programmes across England: The Parenting Early Intervention Programme (PEIP), BMC Public Health. 13:972. DOI: 10.1186/10.1186/1471-2458-13-972. URL: Lindsay, G., Strand, S. & Davis, H. (2011). A comparison of the effectiveness of three parenting programmes in improving parenting skills, parent mental well being and children’s behaviour
when implemented on a large scale in community settings in 18 English local authorities: The Parenting Early Intervention Pathfinder (PEIP), BMC Public Health 2011, 11:962 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-962 Marmot M (2010). Fair Society, Healthy Lives. Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England post 2010. London: The Marmot Review. Meyers, D.C, Durlak, J.A, Wandersman, A. (2012). The quality implementation framework: a synthesis of critical steps in the implementation process. American Journal of Community Psychology, 50(3-4), 462-80. Olds DL (2008). Preventing Child Maltreatment and Crime with Prenatal and Infancy Support of Parents: The Nurse-Family Partnership. Journal of Scandinavian studies in criminology and crime prevention, 9(S1), 2-24. Reichow, B. (2012) Overview of Meta-Analyses on Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 42, 512-520. doi: 10.1007/s10803-011-1218-9. Tickell, C., (2011), The Early Years: Foundations for life, health and learning; an independent report on the Early Years Foundation Stage to Her Majesty’s Government, Department for Education, London. Totsika, V., Hastings, R. P., Vagenas, D., & Emerson, E. (2014). Parenting and the behavior problems of young children with an intellectual disability: Concurrent and longitudinal relationships in a population-based study. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 119, 422-435.United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) (2010) Compilation of Evidence-Based Family Skills Training Programmes. New York: United Nations.

View reading list on Talis Aspire


Psychology, public administration, and policy in practice.

Subject specific skills
  • the diversity of learners and the complexities of the education process.
  • the complexity of the interaction between learning and local and global contexts, and the extent to which participants (including learners and teachers) can influence the learning process.
  • the societal and organisational structures and purposes of educational systems, and the possible implications for learners and the learning process.
  • constructively critique theories, practice and research in the area of education.
  • constructively critique theories, practice and research in the area of child development.
  • critically explore, examine and evaluate the significance of the cultural, historical and contemporary features of various policies, institutions and agencies in regard to babies, young children and childhood.
  • plan for, and where appropriate implement, play and the curriculum, assessment, evaluation and improvement of creative learning opportunities, taking account of young children's health and emotional well-being.
  • lead, support and work collaboratively with others and demonstrate an understanding of working effectively in teams with parents, carers and other professionals.
  • generate and explore hypotheses and research questions relating to early childhood in an ecological context.
  • carry out empirical studies ethically involving a variety of methods of data collection, including observation relating to early childhood in an ecological context.
  • analyse data relating to early childhood.
  • present and evaluate research findings in early childhood.
  • demonstrate a critical understanding of the interrelationships between political, economic, cultural and ideological contexts in the lives of children and their families and communities .
Transferable skills
  • Active listening.
  • Analysis and decision making.
  • Application of numeracy.
  • Attitudes and aptitudes for work.
  • Basic numeracy skills.
  • Character/personality.
  • Cognitive flexibility.
  • Communication skills.
  • Complex problem solving.
  • Confidence.
  • Coordinating with others.
  • Critical thinking.
  • Data handling.
  • Initiative and also follow instructions.
  • Intellectual ability.
  • International cultural awareness.
  • Interpersonal and communication.
  • Judgement and decision making.
  • Literacy.
  • Management of learning.
  • Planning and organisational skills.
  • Positive attitudes to work.
  • Problem solving.
  • Quality Control.
  • Reasoning.
  • Self-management/resilience.
    Team working.

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 10 sessions of 2 hours (7%)
Seminars 10 sessions of 1 hour (3%)
Tutorials 1 session of 1 hour (0%)
Private study 269 hours (90%)
Total 300 hours
Private study description

Independent study hours include background reading, completing reading/other tasks in preparation for timetabled teaching sessions, undertaking research using the library resources, follow-up reading work, working on individual and group projects, the completion of formative and summative assignments, revision.


No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group A1
Weighting Study time
Essay or Evidence Report 100%

A 5,000-word essay or evidence report.
There will be one assignment: Students will have the opportunity either to write an essay or produce an evidence report. For the latter we would ask students to select one early intervention model/approach and write a report as if for a local authority, service provider, etc. The report could be structured to cover policy/practice context, principles of the approach, its evidence base, and an assessment/evaluation of key points relating to the implementation of whatever is chosen.

Feedback on assessment

Detailed written feedback and opportunity to discuss this.


This module is Core for:

  • Year 1 of TEQS-X3AD Postgraduate Award in Early Intervention
  • Year 1 of TEQA-C8X3 Postgraduate Taught Psychology and Education
  • Year 1 of TEQA-C8X4 Postgraduate Taught Psychology and Education

This module is Optional for:

  • Year 1 of RIEA-X3X8 Postgraduate Research Doctorate in Education
  • Year 1 of TIEA-X30F Postgraduate Taught Childhood in Society
  • Year 1 of TEQA-X35Q Postgraduate Taught Education (Full-time)
  • Year 1 of TEQA-X35R Postgraduate Taught Education (Part-time - 2 year)
  • Year 1 of TIEA-X31L Postgraduate Taught Educational Innovation
  • TIEA-X31M Postgraduate Taught Educational Leadership and Management
    • Year 1 of X3M1 Educational Leadership and Management by Dissertation
    • Year 1 of X3M2 Educational Leadership and Management by Professional Route
  • Year 1 of TEQS-X3AN Postgraduate Taught Global Education and International Development
  • Year 1 of TEQA-X3V7 Postgraduate Taught in Islamic Education: Theory and Practice (Full-time)
  • Year 1 of TEQA-X3V9 Postgraduate Taught in Islamic Education: Theory and Practice (Part-time - 2 years)
  • Year 1 of TEQA-X3V5 Postgraduate Taught in Islamic Education: Theory and Practice (Part-time - 3 years)