March 24, 2009 Features

EI Outcomes Forum Launched to Explore Data Collection

The need for treatment outcomes data for the early intervention (EI) population has led to the launch of a new outcomes forum by ASHA's National Center for Evidence-Based Practice in Communication Disorders (N-CEP).

N-CEP has begun a large-scale exploration of its potential role in collecting treatment outcomes data for the EI population (birth to 3) through its Early Intervention Outcomes Forum.

The forum has two purposes: to update clinicians about events that may inform how N-CEP can contribute to EI treatment outcomes and to serve as an opportunity for clinicians to respond to questions from ASHA, pose questions, and post online comments related to treatment outcomes for the EI population.

ASHA's National Outcomes Measurement System (NOMS) provides a mechanism for submitting and analyzing treatment outcomes data for three populations—pre-kindergarten, K-12, and adults—but not for the EI population. The need for treatment outcomes data for the EI population in speech-language pathology and audiology is underscored by data from studies such as the National Early Intervention Longitudinal Study, which revealed that at least 41% of children entering EI programs have a communication disorder. Because communication development plays a profound role in all aspects of an individual's life and because of the substantial number of children in EI with communication disorders, collection and use of outcomes data for this population are essential.

National Data Collection

States' lead EI agencies are required to report data to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) on specific child and family outcomes for infants and toddlers receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Audiologists' and speech-language pathologists' contributions to such broad outcomes may appear outside their scopes of practice. However, professionals working with EI and early childhood populations are often part of transdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teams that must collaborate to determine holistic treatment goals and promote functional outcomes.

ASHA convened a 2008 meeting to explore its role in supporting treatment outcomes data collection for the EI population served by SLPs and audiologists. Member audiologists and SLPs identified EI data collection stakeholders and how those stakeholders would use the data. Although several stakeholders were identified, the consensus on primary stakeholders converged on OSEP, lead state agencies, private insurance companies, and Medicaid. Additional stakeholders included Head Start programs, consumers, pediatricians, child psychiatrists, family practitioners, advocacy groups, and many others (see Figure 1 [PDF]).

Some stakeholders have unique data usages—such as resource utilization and quality assurance—but distinct overlaps were noted in data implementation. As shown in Figure 1 by the intersection of the shaded circles, overlaps occurred, for example, in using the data to determine reimbursement rates and service coverage, control costs, and improve coding.

Jaumeiko Brown, PhD, CCC-SLP, associate director of N-CEP, can be reached at

cite as: Brown, J. (2009, March 24). EI Outcomes Forum Launched to Explore Data Collection. The ASHA Leader.

Member Feedback Needed

N-CEP continues to explore its role in supporting EI treatment outcomes data collection—which may take the form of a database similar to NOMS or another format that better suits the needs of the EI population and its stakeholders—and seeks feedback from clinicians through the Early Intervention Outcomes Forum.

N-CEP is seeking members' feedback on four EI treatment outcomes questions:

  • What specific data elements are needed to address the early intervention population with communication disorders?
  • Would ASHA and its members be affected if those data were not available? How?
  • Could ASHA collect those early intervention data? How?
  • How have you been contributing data for the ECO/OSEP outcome requirements?

To provide feedback, or for more information about the outcomes forum, please contact Tracy Schooling at

Federal EI Outcome Reporting Requirements


OSEP issued a 2005 mandate requiring states to collect data on child and family outcomes for all children receiving services through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Part B, section 619, and Part C.

Part C supports early intervention programs for infants and toddlers (birth to 2) who have or are at risk for a disability or developmental delay and their families. Section 619 funds special education and related programs for children ages 3–5 who have disabilities (states have the option of including 2-year-olds in these programs if the child will turn 3 during the school year).

OSEP created and funded the Early Childhood Outcomes Center to develop (in conjunction with families, service providers, researchers, and administrators) the following child and family outcome targets for Part C and Part B, section 619:

Child Outcomes: Part C and Part B, section 619

  • Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships)
  • Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (including early language/communication [and early literacy])
  • Use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs

Family Outcomes: Part C

  • Know their rights
  • Effectively communicate their children's needs
  • Help their children develop and learn

Family Outcomes: Part B, section 619

State 619 programs must report the percent of parents with a child receiving special education services who report that schools facilitated parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for children with disabilities. 


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