Volume 9, Issue 4 (1980)
Early Childhood Intervention Programs: A Reanalysis
Edward Zigler, Victoria Seitz
ABSTRACT: As changes in family structure and working patterns lead to decreased adult supervision of children, the nature of effective intervention programs is an increasingly important issue.The absence of a firm data base in this area implies the need for special care in examining existing data and in making responsible recommendations. Psychologists have not always done this, however, and today the public is pointing its fingers and-economic conditions being what they are-pulling its purse strings. Despite gaps in current knowledge, as well as past mistakes, several proposals can nevertheless be made with confidence. First, societal interventions should focus on improving social competence rather than on attempting to alter cognitive abilities. Evidence shows that the IQ gains which often result from intervention may fade out, but improved social competence is not so quick to disappear. Secondly, we should end our search for magic periods in which to intervene and begin to appreciate the continuity of human development. We must also respect the fact of biological heterogeneity by recognizing that no single intervention will be best for all groups of individuals at risk.Finally, we have learned the dangers of attempting to base social policy on extreme positions;future actions should reflect more moderate, defensible stances.
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