Disability Services Coordinator Orientation Guide

Improving Disability Services

You have a big job to do as a disability services coordinator, but you aren't doing it alone. You work closely with program management, educational staff, family service workers, transportation and health staff, and many others in the program. Parents and families are your partners, too. You also work with early intervention specialists, special educators, and community partners. The combined expertise and experience of all these people can support your efforts. Part III of the guide focuses on providing professional and personal support for staff to be able to offer comprehensive services through a coordinated approach.

In Chapter XI, Creating Support for Staff, you will:

  • Understand successful inclusion depends on staff who are confident and capable of supporting the development and learning goals of children with suspected or identified disabilities
  • Learn that some staff may need individualized support, including coaching or mentoring, to deliver high-quality disability services
  • Find ways to offer joint training with early intervention and special education partners to help to ensure consistent delivery of services
  • Ensure respect for the cultural and linguistic diversity of staff—and of children and families—is a key message in all training and professional development activities
  • Consider that a coordinated approach for children with disabilities intersects with a coordinated approach for professional development and training, which is a requirement in Head Start programs

Chapter XII, Building Support for Yourself, you will:

  • Understand it is essential that you access resources and training to support your professional growth, and that working with a mentor is often a successful strategy
  • Consider that, as you engage in professional development, you are setting a model for other staff
  • Identify how to make a professional development plan for yourself to explore any cultural biases or stereotypes you bring to your job

Chapter XIII, Improving Your Program's Coordinated Approach, you will:

  • Understand ongoing monitoring helps identify immediate, timely improvements for disability services
  • Consider that the annual program self-assessment informs continuous improvement of the coordinated approach
  • Ensure decisions are data-driven and planning and goal-setting is intentional
  • Learn how families, staff, and community partners participate in continuous program improvement efforts
  • Understand continuous improvement includes strengthening the cultural and linguistic responsiveness of systems and services for children with disabilities and their families