Newsletter Archive

Newsletter Issue 5: 5/30/08

 

SpecialQuest Birth–Five Newsletter

I have just learned about a new form of treasure hunting called "geocaching". The SpecialQuest community is like a "geocache" of resources and experiences. Sometimes it's like a treasure hunt to locate the great things the community is doing or developing. New SpecialQuest treasures can be found or shared by

 

 

I hope you'll join me in the SpecialQuest treasure hunt! If you have any treasures you are seeking and cannot find, please contact me (707.548.4910 or susan.stewart@specialquest.org).

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*If you contribute to the online survey or participate in the online discussion you will be entered into a drawing for a video, Sustain the Quest, which is not a part of the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library. You will receive a training script along with the video.

 


 

Spotlight: Anita Sullivan – Carrying SpecialQuest into State Government

"SpecialQuest is not just another training program, it is actually changing the way people work together, think about that work, and refocusing our attention to where we all agree the focus should be - children and their families."

 

Mr. DiegoCHILDREN & FAMILIES
The ideas of the Latino families in our community were often excluded from conversations about Part C services, but SpecialQuest ensured that our parent (who is Spanish-speaking) had a voice. Modeling our experience at SpecialQuest, we purchased equipment to provide simultaneous interpretation back home. We learned to listen in Spanish and find a balance in our voices and determine mutual goals. The parent voice became powerful and changed the system to be more responsive.

 

PROGRAM & COMMUNITY
Our SpecialQuest team included key administrators from early intervention and early childhood special education in our community. We built relationships with these individuals and we clarified our respective responsibilities through an Interagency Agreement. The parent member of our SpecialQuest team made sure other parents understood the agreement. We shared the agreement with our school district and integrated their ideas into it so that the transition process became smoother. As part of building our relationships, we translated all of the special education documents into Spanish.

 

"Inclusiveness means inviting others into the conversations that will challenge my assumptions and can allow me to gain a new perspective."

SpecialQuest kept us communicating about keeping our focus on children and families. If it were not for our Learning Coach and the opportunity to work together, our relationships would have remained strained.

 

OUR STATE
In my new position with the state, I have carried the SpecialQuest values into the state government. With my new role I am able to influence how policies are created that inform the state about what works for children and their families.

 

"I believe that if all programs for all children, regardless of ability, would adopt the SpecialQuest approach, that we would truly change the lives of children and our society. I don't believe it is an unrealistic dream since I have seen the power of SpecialQuest on a small scale in our local community."

 

By 2020, I expect that we will stop using the word inclusion because it is not a conscious thought but a way for all of us to work together - in a respectful way - acknowledging that diversity enriches us and provides us all with greater ability to meet any demands placed upon us.

 

Anita has a daughter with disabilities, is a SpecialQuest Ambassador, a Wyoming SpecialQuest State Leadership Team Member, and is the Early Childhood Specialist in the Wyoming Department of Education.

 


 

National Leadership SpecialQuest Embedding SpecialQuest in State Systems of Professional Development

artworkThe National Leadership SpecialQuest was held in Dallas, Texas on May 19-21, 2008. Ten State Leadership Teams came together to learn more about the SpecialQuest approach to professional development and training materials. Meeting activities included inspirational opening and closing sessions, intensive individual state-level work exploring the fundamentals of the SpecialQuest approach, and breakout sessions across states for networking and experiencing the content of the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library. The three days culminated in the development of state specific action plans to infuse SpecialQuest resources into their statewide, cross-agency system of professional development for inclusion of young children with disabilities and their families.

 

Over the next two and a half years, SpecialQuest State Coordinators and Coaches will follow-up with each State Leadership Team on a quarterly basis to support the implementation of these plans. We look forward to the culminating National Leadership SpecialQuest, in 2010, where we will showcase and celebrate the accomplishments of the State Leadership Teams!

 


 

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