Abstract – Robin McWilliam

Collaborative consultation = equity
Medical model = inequity

Robin McWilliam

How do early intervention (birth-5) professionals work with families and other caregivers, such as teachers? This session proposes that the way professionals talk, do, and identify themselves can have an impact on their stance vis-à-vis caregivers. We look at influencing factors and then at impacts on equity. With most early intervention birth-5 in the U.S. and Europe being white, yet families and teachers representing a diversity of races and ethnic backgrounds, the danger of systemic racism is always present. In the professional-caregiver relationship, with the former an expert and the latter a client, the risk of reinforcing racism and colonialism is real. We posit that credentials can create inequality. It is time for early interventionists birth-5 to attend to the science and art of collaborative consultation, building up the caregiver. The evidence supporting equitable caregiver-professional interactions comes from such fields as educational leadership, social justice, and social support.