The ecomap is constructed with the family, depicting their informal, intermediate, and formal supports. The people living with the child are drawn in the innermost circle. The thickness of the lines connecting the family to the supports indicates three levels of support: extremely supportive, quite supportive, and present. Dotted lines represent stress.
The ecomap is important for indicating to the family that we care about more than only the child in early intervention. It is also important because informal supports are a big predictor of child and family well-being. Finally, early interventionists "whip out the ecomap" as the first resource when helping families arrive at solutions.