Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit will explore trans-disciplinary strength-based and family-centred early intervention approaches for children with a range of needs, such as autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities, giftedness, and child protection. Through exploring evidence based practice and current research pre-service teachers will develop expertise in early intervention approaches.

The aim of this unit is to assist pre-service teachers to develop an advanced understanding of early intervention aims, practices and outcomes for children birth to age 8 years.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - apply a broad understanding of the theory of transdisciplinary, strength-based, family-centred early intervention (GA1, GA5, APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 5.5, 6.2, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4; ACECQA A6, A7, D1, D4, D5, E2)

LO2 - synthesise coherent and advanced knowledge of early intervention applied to specific areas of practice (GA1, GA5, GA8; APST 3.1, 3.6, 4.1, 4.4; ACECQA A5, A7, A8, B1, B2, C5, D1, D4, D5, F5)

LO3 - critically analyse and evaluate current early intervention programs, and make recommendations for improvements (GA5, GA8; APST 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.5, 3.1, 3.6, 4.1, 4.4; ACECQA A5, A8, C5, D1, E2, F5).

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of physical, social and intellectual development and characteristics of students and how these may affect learning.

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.6 Demonstrate broad knowledge of strategies that can be used to evaluate teaching programs to improve student learning.

4.1 Identify strategies to support inclusive student participation and engagement in classroom activities.

4.4 Describe strategies that support students’ well-being and safety working within school and/or system, curriculum and legislative requirements.

5.5 Demonstrate understanding of a range of strategies for reporting to students and parents/carers and the purpose of keeping accurate and reliable records of student achievement.

6.2 Understand the relevant and appropriate sources of professional learning for teachers.

7.2 Understand the relevant legislative, administrative and organisational policies and processes required for teachers according to school stage.

7.3 Understand strategies for working effectively, sensitively and confidentially with parents/carers.

7.4 Understand the role of external professionals and community representatives in broadening teachers’ professional knowledge and practice.


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should have developed the following specific knowledge:

A. Psychology and child development

A5.  Wellbeing and safety early intervention

A6.  Diversity, difference and inclusivity

A7.  Learners with special needs

A8.  Transitions and continuity of learning (including transition to school)

B. Education and curriculum studies

B1.   Early Years Learning Framework

B2.   The Australian curriculum

C. Early childhood pedagogies

C5.   Catering to children with diverse needs and backgrounds

D.Families and community partnerships

D1.  Developing family and community partnerships

D4.  Socially inclusive practice

D5.  Culture, diversity and inclusion.

E. History and philosophy of early childhood

E2.   Contemporary theories and practice

F. Early childhood professional practice

F5.   Research


Topics will include:

  • Definition, aims and research-informed outcomes of trans-disciplinary, strength-based, family-centred early intervention. 
  • Early intervention practices for young children with complex, multiple or profound disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, intellectual, physical, sensory disabilities, giftedness in the early years, and child protection.
  • Diverse approaches to identification and assessment;
  • Inclusive and specialised approaches;
  • Policy, programs and provisions in early intervention, including specialist staff and services;
  • Key issues, including funding; access to services; misdiagnosis and missed diagnosis; misunderstandings; social rejection; diverse cultural perspectives of disability and parenting; poverty.
  • Useful evidence-based resources and key services to support professional practice and learning.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

Pre-service teachers will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to progress and demonstrate their understandings in this unit. Participants will be involved in a variety of teaching-learning strategies to support learning, including online engagement, lectures, tutorials, seminar presentations and group discussions, both online and face-to-face, self-directed study activities and assessment tasks.

This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester (or equivalent in intensive mode). There is a normal expectation of 36 hours of directed study and the total contact hours should not exceed 36 hours. This may involve a combination of face to face, online and blended delivery, on a weekly basis across a 12-week semester or in intensive mode. Directed study might include lectures, tutorials, webinars, podcasts etc. The balance of the hours then become private study.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed to allow pre-service teachers to progressively demonstrate achievement against the unit learning outcomes and demonstrate attainment of professional standards.

Minimum Achievement Standards

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to demonstrate achievement of each learning outcome. In order to pass this unit, students are required to participate in and submit all assessment tasks.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1

Case Study of an organisation providing early intervention services (note this could be undertaken through review of online information), including description of the organisation and its aims, the specific services provided, eligibility to access services from this organisation, the costs to families or other users (e.g. teachers) to use services, transdisciplinary and family-centred practices, and other key information. The case study should include recommendations for consolidation and improvement


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2

Annotated bibliography and recommendations for a specific area of early intervention practice - either an area of service delivery focus such as ASD or child protection, or an issue influencing early intervention, e.g. assessment, cultural perspectives, or misdiagnosis.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Allen, K., Cowdery, G., & Johnson, J. (2012). The exceptional child: Inclusion in early childhood education (7th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning 2012.

Bagnato, S., Neisworth, T., & Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2010). Linking authentic assessment and early childhood intervention: Best measures for best practices (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.

Carpenter, B., & Egerton, J. (Eds). (2005). Early childhood intervention: International perspectives, national initiatives and regional practice. Coventry, UK: West Midlands SEN Regional Partnership.

Cook, R., Klein, D., Chen, D., & Hanson, M. (2012). Adapting early childhood curricula for children with special needs (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.

Davis, S. (2007). Teaming around the child. Working together in early childhood intervention. Wagga Wagga, Australia: Kurrajong Early Intervention Service. Coventry: West Midlands SEN Regional Partnership.

Early Childhood Intervention Australia Inc. (2001). Ethics in early childhood intervention - Australia: Code of ethics and discussion manual. Sydney, NSW: The Author.

Groatk, C., Eidelman, S., Maude, S., & Kaczmarek, L. (2011). Early childhood intervention: Shaping the future for children with special needs and their families. E-book: ABC-CLIO.

Kilgo, J. (Ed). (2005). Transdisciplinary teaming in early intervention/early childhood special education: Navigating together with families and children. Olney, MD: Association for Childhood Education International.

Moore, T., & Larkin, H. (2005). More than my child's disability: A comprehensive literature review about family-centred practice and family experiences of early childhood intervention service. Glenroy, Vic: SCOPE Vic Ltd.

Schonkoff, J. P., & Meisels, S. J. (2000). Handbook of early childhood intervention (2nd ed.). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

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