Understanding Provider Attitudes Regarding Father Involvement in Early Intervention

Sarah L. Curtiss, Brent A. McBride, Kelly Uchima, Dan J. Laxman, Rosa M. Santos, Jenna Weglarz-Ward, Justin Kern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The interest in fathers as active parents has increased dramatically over the past 30 years among researchers and the popular press with considerable attention given to direct child-rearing activities; however, mothers continue to be the most likely participants in early intervention (EI) services. Using thematic analysis, we explored providers’ perceptions (N = 511) of father involvement in EI regarding (a) the impact of increased father involvement, (b) how father involvement could be increased, and (c) the role of culture in father involvement. Providers believed more involvement was better and identified several ways in which fathers made a difference. Some providers believed it was not in their hands to increase involvement; however, other providers identified systems-level and direct approaches. Providers preponderantly reported culture as a barrier to involvement but there were notable exceptions. We recommend providers receive professional development to support family-centered philosophies and practices that are inclusive of fathers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)147-159
Number of pages13
JournalTopics in Early Childhood Special education
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • at risk of developmental delays/disabilities
  • children with disabilities
  • disability populations
  • early education programs
  • families
  • family-centered
  • father
  • intervention strategies
  • parents
  • partnerships with professionals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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