Newsletter Archive

Newsletter Issue 15: 08/11/09

 

SpecialQuest Birth–Five Newsletter

 

What's In It for My Kid?

The benefits of inclusion for all kids

Everyone wants the best for their children. As we meet with people across the nation, questions about the value of inclusion for both children with and without disabilities continue to be raised.

 

GrandmaLet's address these questions with wisdom-based action. Wisdom-based action combines values, vision, creativity, and contextual factors from families and providers with knowledge from research, policy, and experience to inform what we do.

 

It's relatively easy to access professional resources and research about the benefits of inclusion for ALL children (see resources in the side bar). But where do we get information about families' experiences? Of course, talking to the families with whom we work is a great place to start! It is also helpful to hear from a variety of families.

 

We are looking for families who want to share how their children (with and without disabilities) have benefitted from being part of inclusive classrooms. If you'd like to write a story about your experience and are willing to work with our editors, please contact me. We'd really like to help you share what's "in it" for you and your family!


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susan.stewart@specialquest.org
707-548-4910

 


 

Spotlight: Exciting SpecialQuest Activities Underway in Ohio!

 

The Ohio State Leadership Team and three SpecialQuest Ambassadors from Ohio implemented a statewide training of trainers (ToT) event on March 19th & 20th, 2009. The purpose of the event was to provide an introduction to essential elements of the SpecialQuest approach in order to establish cross-systems inclusionary practices at the local level, specifically targeting collaboration among Head Start/Early Head Start, preschool special education, child care, and early intervention.

 

Ohio Flag"The vision of the child is what connects us."

 

Prior to the event, members of the State Leadership Team worked with the Ohio Department of Education and the Child Care Registry to endorse sessions from the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library. The sessions were approved as training curricula within the state registry for child care and other early childhood entities across the state.

 

"This particular training was the most eye opening in the fact that the video helps educators understand that children just have different abilities."

 

A total of 87 people attended the training of trainers event, representing 16 regional teams across the state of Ohio. Participants represented Child Care Resource Referral, State Support Teams (educational school improvement technical assistance), Head Start Disability Coordinators, Mental Retardation/Developmental Disabilities, and Help Me Grow (Part C). Each regional team developed action plans as part of the training. The action plans addressed two goals; 1) Developing a regional team, and 2) Planning and implementing 2 trainings by September 30th and two additional trainings by December 31, 2009.

 

The SpecialQuest Ambassadors served as the primary trainers. They have been conducting SpecialQuest trainings at each Ohio Head Start Association meeting since October of 2008. They were, therefore, able to provide a wealth of knowledge and expertise on training successes and challenges in sharing the SpecialQuest approach and materials with participants, many of whom had little prior knowledge of SpecialQuest. (See Tips for Trainers in the SpecialQuest Resource Bank.)

 

"The leaders of this session are knowledgeable and affirming."

 

Each of the State Leadership Team members was paired with an Ambassador and served as a co-trainer. Training teams were encouraged to meet separately and plan prior to the training of trainers event. State Leadership Team family members participated in conference planning and served as co-trainers.

 

"I plan on recruiting parents to help facilitate the SpecialQuest vision since they are such a crucial piece of the puzzle."

 

Members from each of the 16 regional teams participated in general sessions on the SpecialQuest approach and the work underway with the Ohio State Leadership Team. Participants also experienced four sessions from the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library: Creating Bright Futures, When Concerns Arise, Enhancing Staff Comfort and Confidence, and An Inclusion Story. Participants evaluated the overall event as well as content and delivery of specific sessions.

 

"[Trainers modeled] the methods and materials of the SpecialQuest session."

 

Follow-up activities are being planned by the State Leadership Team including a survey to determine progress and technical assistance needs of regional teams, and sharing a Tips for Trainers document developed by State Leadership Team members. The State Leadership Team is also considering the development of a list serve and other strategies to support all regional teams in the planning and implementation of their action plans.

 

This article was written by Katy McCullough (SpecialQuest Coordinator), with contributions from members of the Ohio State Leadership Team, Ohio's SpecialQuest Ambassadors, and Aracelly Valverde (SpecialQuest Ambassador Coordinator). For more information on activities underway in Ohio, please contact Kim Carlson or James Scott for details.



 

State Team

 

We had a fabulous time with 40 State Leadership Team members at the SpecialQuest Intensive held in tandem with the Inclusion Institute in July! Each State sent four team members to build capacity for using the SpecialQuest approach, materials, and resources in professional development activities on inclusion.

 

Eight of the ten states will be holding State Training of Trainers activities focused on using the SpecialQuest materials and approach, facilitated by SpecialQuest consultants. The SpecialQuest Intensive participants were able to preview much of the State Training of Trainers curriculum. They made plans to support the Training of Trainers activities and to provide follow-up to those participating in these activities. As of this date, Georgia and Louisianna have held their State Training of Trainers events.

 

 


 

Correction to May's Newsletter Spotlight

In the May 2009 newsletter Spotlight article, we omitted reference to Debra Lente-Jojola's leadership role in designing and implementing the Bureau of Indian Education's Family and Children's Education (BIE FACE) annual national conference. She was instrumental in incorporating the SpecialQuest approach and materials into the conference attended by individuals from 45 programs in 11 states. Debra is the Director of the BIE FACE program.

 


 

Preschool Resources Coming Soon!

We are developing new video footage and supplemental materials that address unique considerations for including preschool-age children with their typically developing peers.

 



Head Start Center for Inclusion

Our colleagues at the Head Start Center for Inclusion have some fantastic new resources for inclusion of preschool-age children who have disabilities. They are taking the most current research and moving it into authentic everyday practice.

 


 

Early Childhood Inclusion Resources

These inclusion resources have been collected in the SpecialQuest Resource Bank

 


 

Transition Webinars

The National Early Childhood Transition Center is offering a series of webinars that focus on evidence-based strategies and practices for transition, along with transition requirements, meeting the needs of diverse children and families, and how to use the NECTC web-based toolkit.

 

More information and to register.

 


 

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