First Advisor

Katharine Zuckerman

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Public Health Studies: Pre-clinical Health Science and University Honors


Health Studies




Parents of developmentally disabled children, Early childhood special education, Learning disabled children -- Services for, Developmental disabilities




Objective: To test the association of parents’ concerns with Early Intervention (EI) developmental services outcomes including evaluation, eligibility, and enrollment in services.

Method: We collected survey data on parents’ concerns and EI service use data from a sample of 428 children referred to EI in 2016-2018 from six Oregon primary care clinics serving lower income families as part of a developmental and autism spectrum disorder screening intervention. We assessed EI service use trajectories and associations of parent concern presence, age of child at time of parents’ concerns, number of concerns, and type of provider concern, with EI evaluation, EI eligibility, and enrollment in EI services, using bivariate testing and multivariable logistic regression.

Results: Only 22.9% of children referred to EI were enrolled in services six months later. Children whose parents had developmental and/or behavioral concerns were more likely to receive an EI evaluation and were also more likely to be eligible for services, compared to children whose parents had no concerns. There was no association between age, number of concerns, or type of concern with EI evaluation, eligibility, or services enrollment.

Conclusion: Though only a minority of children referred to EI enroll in services, presence of parent concern is strongly associated with EI services evaluation and eligibility outcomes. Study results suggest that providers should assess the presence of parent concern when deciding on EI referrals, and provide more support to parents who are not concerned at all.


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An undergraduate honors thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science in University Honors and Pre-Clinical Health Studies, Health Sciences and General Science.

Additional authors:
Alicia Feryn, Oregon Health & Science University
Alison E. Chavez, University of Massachusetts Boston
Laura Wilson, Oregon Health & Science University
Margaret King, Health Share of Oregon
Julie Scholz, Oregon Pediatric Society
Eric Fombonne, Oregon Health & Science University
Katharine E. Zuckerman

Persistent Identifier

Available for download on Monday, May 20, 2024