EI SMART aims to change practice in the UK and deliver consistently effective early intervention.
The growing neuroscientific evidence indicates that the longer high risk preterm and term infants have to wait for interventions, the more difficult it is to achieve positive outcomes. For this reason many physiotherapists, occupational therapists and speech and language therapists now work in early intervention, often in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) as well as after discharge.
Since there is no single ‘magic bullet’ early intervention programme, the best option for early intervention therapists is creative programme development combining different theoretical models. We propose EI SMART as a smart start for high risk infants.
What’s new about EI SMART?
Early interventions should be underpinned by appropriate theory. The core components of EI SMART are:
- Supporting a consistent and responsive parent-infant relationship
- Challenging the infant with a wide variety of self-produced motor activities in a variety of conditions
- Scaffolding the infant’s next developmental steps
- Minimising infant stress
- Supporting the infant’s self-regulation
- Promoting parental well-being
One size does not fit all infants.
EI SMART recognises that in clinical practice it’s often necessary to adopt a pragmatic approach to intervention based on a combination of ingredients known to be effective in isolation. EI SMART is based on these key principles:
- understanding development
- understanding how relationships are crucial to therapy effectiveness
- no one single intervention is a ‘magic bullet’
- anything that affects the system affects the whole
What are the outcomes of the EI SMART approach?
Adopting the EI SMART approach could lead to
- more effective therapy interventions
- a mechanism through which therapists can deliver relationship based care
- shared understanding and language between therapist and parent/carer
- better family-centred care through a consistent approach
- shared aims and goals