Including Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities
Getting Started

Adapted from the SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library, Session 7 of the Including Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities Volume

Inclusive Planning Checklist: Center-Based Early Care and Education Programs

This checklist is a tool for providing collaborative services when including infants, toddlers, or preschoolers with significant disabilities and their families in center-based early care and education programs, such as Early Head Start, Head Start, child care, and family child care. The checklist provides suggestions for activities that should take place to create responsive and effective inclusive environments; it is divided into four sections: 1) Build Relationships, 2) Gather and Share Information and Resources, 3) Develop and Implement Plans, and 4) Review and Evaluate Services.


Each team member should complete the checklist, identifying his or her role in the achievement of each of the activities. Team members should then consider what they need from each of the other team members to meet their responsibilities. Team members can then discuss the roles and responsibilities of each member in implementing the activities for successful inclusion.


Table to show Task 1: Build Relationships in order to create responsive and effective inclusive environments

Task 1
Build Relationships

My Role
What I Need from Others
a. Whenever possible, arrange to meet with all team members before the child’s first home visit. Get pictures of providers and exchange telephone numbers, email addresses, and other contact information.    
b. Ensure that family members feel comfortable about leaving their child in yoru care by establishing a trusting relationship with the family.    
c. As a team discuss your philosophies about disability, intervention, and inclusion.    

d. Determine what the family most wants for their child from your program, such as:

  • Child care
  • Chances for their child to play with other children
  • Therapy to be delivered at the center
  • Respite care
  • Other:

e. Gather information from the family about:

  • The child’s preferences, interests, routines, and sleeping patterns
  • Tips and techniques for soothing the child, feeding him/her, etc.
  • Their expectations of the care providers
  • Any accommodations and adaptations the family may make at home for their child
  • Other group experiences the child has had or is having
  • Who else is working with the child and family
  • Specialized services the child is receiving
f. Obtain information releases from the family for providers who are working with the child and family and with whom it is appropriate to collaborate.    

Table to show Task 2: Gather and Share Information and Resources in order to create responsive and effective inclusive environments

Task 2
Gather and Share Information and Resources

My Role
What I Need from Others
a. Develop a system for ongoing communication between family members and service providers.    
b. Ensure that all team members know who the main contact person is, such as the service coordinator or the special education coordinator.    
c. Make available to all team members appropriate medical and developmental information.    

d. Ensure that all service providers and family members are aware of strategies necessary to support the child in all his or her environments, including outdoor settings.


e. Openly address any insecurity that service providers may have about working with the child and make sure that all questions from family members and service providers are clearly answered on an ongoing basis.


Table to show Task 3: Develop and Implement Plans in order to create responsive and effective inclusive environments

Task 3
Develop and Implement Plans

My Role
What I Need from Others
a. Work together on the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to develop a plan that addresses the individualized needs of the child within the context of the family; to clarify what services are to be provided and by whom, and to define when and where those services will be delivered.    

b. Identify who needs to be involved in developing the IFSP or IEP and what specific role they might play. An example, the plan might include:

  • The family
  • Early care and education staff:
    • Home visitor
    • Child care provider/Family child care provider
    • Teachers
    • EHS/HS Disabilities coordinator
    • EHS/HS Education coordinator
    • Administrator/director
    • Nutritionist
    • Cooks
    • Other:
  • Specialists:
    • Part C service provider
    • Public health nurse
    • Occupational therapist
    • Physical therapist
    • Speech and language pathologist
    • Health care providers, including family doctors and specialists
    • School special education staff
    • Others:
  • Others:
    • Sunday school teachers
    • Extended Family
    • Friends
c. Determine how the IFSP/IEP and any other plans for the child and family can be implemented as a single integrated plan. Identify common goals and strategies.    

d. Determine what, if any, staff training is needed. Provide needed training.


e. Agree to each team member’s role and determine strategies to prepare all members for their responsibilities, and support them in their role.


f. Meet as a group before and after the IFSP/IEP meeting so that everyone understands the child’s IFSP outcomes/goals, why they were selected, and what their roles are in working towards the outcomes/goals.


g. Assure that staff have opportunities to practice new skills with supervision.


h. Assure that there is a system in place to include all staff in the flow of information among all members of the early care and education team.


i. Determine when the next IFSP/IEP meeting will be held.


j. Consider any accommodations and adaptations that might be necessary. For example, you may need to obtain a locked cabinet for medicine, or an adapted chair or dish. Do what is necessary to make the needed accommodations and adaptations.


k. Make sure that the responsibilities among staff members are coordinated in order to provide all children with the appropriate level of attention. (In most cases, extra staff is not necessary, but sometimes rethinking staff responsibilities and schedules is helpful.)


l. Make sure that staff members understand the child’s IFSP/IEP outcomes/goals, the rationale behind them, and their role in working towards those outcomes/goals.


m. Consider how the child’s IFSP outcomes or IEP goals will be incorporated into the daily routines and activities.


n. Make sure that the center staff members feel supported and prepared, and that their roles with the child, family, and other providers are made clear to all parties.


o. Make sure that the appropriate staff members participate in the IFSP/IEP meeting at the family’s invitation.


Table to show Task 4: Review and Evaluate Services in order to create responsive and effective inclusive environments

Task 4
Review and Evaluate Services

My Role
What I Need from Others
a. Maintain communication with the family and service providers, making adjustments to the plan, as needed.    

b. Engage in ongoing dialogue with the family and the service providers to assure that the child’s and family’s changing needs are appropriately addressed.

c. Develop a system to monitor how outcomes/goals are addressed throughout the day and how progress is noted.    

d. As a team, evaluate:

  • Adaptations and accommodations for the child
  • Staff training and support
  • The flow of information among all parties
  • Interagency agreements affect day-to-day practice
  • Staffing patterns and schedules
  • IFSP outcome or IEP goal implementation and progress
  • Staff participation in IFSP/IEP meetings and the revisions you make based on the evaluation findings.

e. Develop plans to sustain services and supports when there are program or staffing changes and/or as the child or family experiences changes.