Attachment and children with disabilities: Knowledge and views of early intervention professionals Academic Article uri icon


  • The parent–child bond known as attachment plays a pivotal role in the development and wellbeing of all young children. While research indicates that there are challenges for children with a disability in developing a secure attachment, little is known about early childhood intervention (ECI) professionals’ knowledge of attachment, how they view its importance in their work, and how they translate this knowledge into practice. To address this gap in research, a questionnaire was developed and administered to ECI professionals at an Australian ECI organisation. Qualitative analysis of results (N= 49) revealed an overall understanding of the role of attachment in child development and indicated that ECI professionals perceive attachment as being very important in their role of enhancing children's learning and wellbeing. Importantly, it emerged that less than half the participants learnt about attachment in their undergraduate training, with most learning about it ‘on the job’ and just over half the respondents felt comfortable in addressing attachment concerns with families. Some families are thus left at risk of being inadequately supported to manage attachment problems. Participants identified a desire for further training. This exploratory study has implications for orientation, training, practice, and further research.

publication date

  • 2018