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Routines-Based Interview


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  • The Routines-Based Interview™ (RBI) is a clinical, semi-structured interview designed to
    • Establish a positive relationship with the family,
    • Obtain a rich and thick description of child and family functioning, and
    • Result in a list of outcomes/goals chosen by the interviewee.
  • It has been used in both IFSP and IEP development.
  • A parent or other adult functioning in loco parentis is always interviewed.
  • If the child is cared for by someone else for > 15 hours a week (e.g., in a classroom program), that person is also interviewed.
  • The interview assesses
    • The child’s engagement, independence, and social relationships within everyday routines;
    • The family’s satisfaction with home routines; and
    • The teacher’s perception of the goodness of fit of classroom routines with the child’s interests and abilities.
  • The RBI can be used to obtain a narrative description of the child’s functioning in cognitive, motor, adaptive, communication, and social skills; it does not result in a developmental score.


Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Family Research Program, Faculty Pilot Studies, “Routines-Based Interview to Plan Interventions and Measure Family Quality of Life.” (1 year)

Consultation, Training, and Technical Assistance Opportunities

CTTA on the Routines-Based Interview is available. Contact Robin McWilliam. A demonstration is recommended, in which case the local agency needs to recruit a family and a back-up family.

Future Directions

  • No bigger discrepancy between popularity and evidence exists among our topics than in the RBI. It is very popular and we have pitiably little data on its efficacy.
  • The pilot study we have conducted needs to be replicated with more interviewers and families.
  • Variations in methods for conducting the interviews need to be studied systematically. 

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