Newsletter Archive

Newsletter Issue 7: 8/20/08


SpecialQuest Birth–Five Newsletter

Recently the mother of a young child with disabilities shared about her daughter's transition to preschool. During the transition the new teacher did not receive useful information about the child's disabilities and how to support her in the preschool environment. However, this teacher believed in the little girl's potential and was willing to try new things that enabled her to participate in the activities and routines of the day with the other children in her class.


One of the beauties of inclusion in early childhood care and education programs is that teachers who have strong backgrounds in child development are masters at viewing young children as individuals full of potential, with unique learning interests and patterns, and who require differing supports. These teachers need just a little bit more guidance from families and specialists, and a few resources, to ensure that all children are able to actively participate in early childhood programs with their typically developing peers.


While at the Inclusion Institute this July, we learned about several resources that could be used to provide support and guidance to preschool teachers, child care providers, and other early care and education professionals. We're excited to share this information and have highlighted a few of these resources in this month's newsletter.


We'd also like to learn from you! Please let us know if you have a resource for inclusion to share.

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SpecialQuest Graduates Support Family Leaders

dolly and elizabethElizabeth Millan, mother of three boys with disabilities, and Dolly Mora, Disabilities Coordinator, from the Columbia University Early Head Start (EHS)
co-presented with Aracelly Valverde and Susan Stewart (SpecialQuest staff) at the Birth to Three Institute. They shared their experiences in fostering family leadership using the framework of the SpecialQuest Family-Service Provider Collaboration and Leadership Model.


Elizabeth and Dolly plan to present the same content at an upcoming Columbia EHS staff meeting. As a result of ideas generated during the Birth to Three presentations, Elizabeth will present to a group of parents about family involvement and leadership.



Spotlight: Louisiana Just Does It!

building blocksThe Louisiana SpecialQuest State Leadership Team has combined SpecialQuest's video Just Do It with Susan Sandall & Ilene Schwartz's Building Blocks to provide professional development on inclusion.


Just Do It provides examples of how the needs of young children with disabilities are addressed in the natural environments of center-based early care and education, and the home.


Building Blocks promotes inclusion and improved child outcomes through curriculum adaptations and modifications that allow all children to participate in early care and education settings. The concepts outlined in Building Blocks, such as embedding learning opportunities in typical classroom activities and child-focused instructional strategies that help students with individual learning objectives, can be observed in the Just Do It video.


Together, these resources provide details about adaptations and accommodations to include children in natural environments, as well as images that demonstrate these strategies in practice. For more information about how Louisiana blended these resources, please contact Toni Ledet.


Toni Ledet is a coach for the Louisiana SpecialQuest State Leadership Team. She also serves as the program director for Children's Services of the Arc for Baton Rouge.



What's New?

* a SITE MAP is now available at to help you better navigate the website

* a QUICK LINKS feature has been added to the footer of our webpages



Inclusion Resources

cara kitCARA's Kit - Creating Adaptations for Routines and Activities (Teacher and Consultant versions) is available from the Division for Early Childhood (DEC). This kit provides guidance for how to make adaptations for daily activities and routines so that children 3-6 can successfully participate in the classroom curriculum.



Inclusion Planning Checklists - Newly Revised!

The SpecialQuest Inclusion Planning Checklists have recently been revised to reflect the planning needs for children who have disabilities, ages birth-five. There are two checklists, one for center-based programs and one for home-visiting programs. The checklists are available in both English and Spanish and can be downloaded from the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library Supplementary Materials webpage.



iPOP: Inclusive Placement Opportunities for Preschoolers
A Systems Approach to Preschool Inclusive Practices
This guide, from the Virginia Department of Education, describes how local school divisions and community agencies can form a preschool inclusive practices planning team to explore and develop a culture that supports inclusive practices and inclusive placement opportunities. The guide is flexible, thus enabling teams to plan for options that are compatible with local school division assets and priorities.



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