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  At one time, the field of early intervention was organized as though it were about professional support (e.g., therapy sessions) leading directly to child outcomes. Unfortunately, this did not lead to large effects on developmental trajectories (Dunst, 1985).
Caregivers, however, spend many hours with the child every week and can provide many natural learning opportunities. Research shows that children learn best when they have opportunities to practice new skills repeatedly in the situations where the skills are needed. Early Steps providers, in turn, can have a profound impact on caregivers' competence and confidence in providing support to their child, because adults can learn in small time spans and can generalize information. Therefore, the best route for improving child outcomes is through caregivers.