Planning a Session

Teachers working in the schools use prepared lesson plans to guide their work with children. But, recommended practices in early intervention involve collaborating with families and following their lead. Consider using a Session Planning Matrix to help you effectively align your practice with family-centered practices. This page describes how to use this planning tool including a completed example and a link to a FREE downloadable Session Planning Matrix form.

The Session Planning Matrix promotes family-centered practices by helping EIVI professionals collaborate with families to:

  • Identify family concerns and priorities
  • Identify daily routines in which priorities can be addressed
  • Identify child strengths and adaptive needs


EIVI providers enter family concerns down the left column of the matrix and routines across the top row. Together the provider and family work to brainstorm strategies to meet family priorities that support the child’s strengths and adaptive needs. These strategies are entered into the matrix as ideas the family can implement throughout their daily routines.

Next the family chooses one or two strategies to practice with their child during the early intervention session. The EIVI provider works alongside parents providing coaching and/or modeling as needed.

Click on the following links to download examples of the process including planning, development, and implementation of a Session Planning Matrix. (Example 1, Example 2)


Outdoors Playtime Dressing
Confidence walking with texture/surface changes Use a push toy such as grocery cart, popping push toy, or hula hoop to preview path Use push toy when moving about and practice bumping into an obstacle, then moving around it.
Using Fingers Zipper, Velcro, snap board. Make a board to practice these tasks. Zip/unzip, snap/unsnap, Velcro put on/take off. Fasten snaps, zip zippers, and Velcro clothes when putting on, and undoing to take off. Provide support from behind, and plenty of time.
Dressing/Undressing self Put on/take off own jacket and shoes with help as needed. Provide support from behind as needed. Use a cookie sheet and Velcro to make a “put on, take off” game with small toys Provide support from behind, use larger, stretchy pullover tops. Get dressed at a consistent time each day. Dress in front of a mirror


The Session Planning Matrix has many benefits. It helps providers follow family priorities rather than teacher-made plans. It promotes collaboration and family input. Collaborative creation of the matrix empowers parents by reinforcing their involvement and using their ideas within daily routines. Families can use the matrix between intervention sessions editing ideas as needed. When other therapists on the early intervention team work from the same matrix, it becomes a tool to promote teaming and collaboration.


To help you employ this strategy in your early intervention work we have made available