Ethics in the Early Intervention System: A Mixed Methods Exploration

Catherine Corr, Christine M. Spence, Mia Chudzik, Susan Connor, Brandie Bentley, Grace Sawyer, Justin L. Kern, Rachel Griffin, Amber Brown Ruiz, Ann Jackson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Early interventionists may frequently encounter ethical dilemmas due to the complex nature of early intervention (EI) service delivery (e.g., EI system infrastructure and building and sustaining collaborative relationships within the system). Therefore, the purpose of this research study was to explore the experiences of EI professionals related to ethical dilemmas. We used a sequential mixed methods design to first survey professionals about their experiences with ethical dilemmas (n = 427). Then, we interviewed a smaller sample (n = 45) to learn about early interventionists (EIs) experiences with ethics, including their constructed meanings of ethical dilemmas, the types of ethical dilemmas they have experienced, and their experiences and processes navigating ethical dilemmas. Results show that EI professionals define ethical dilemmas differently, which influences what they view as a dilemma and how they problem solve. Additionally, professionals identified the need for support and guidelines related to ethical dilemmas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-202
Number of pages16
JournalTopics in Early Childhood Special education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2023


  • early education programs
  • IDEA
  • infancy
  • toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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