Children with Disabilities

Disabilities Services Newsletters

The Head Start Disabilities Services Newsletter is produced monthly by the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning (NCECDTL). It is dedicated to staff working with young children with disabilities and their families. This page provides current and past issues of the newsletter.

If you’d like to receive this newsletter, please select the button below. Once on the page, enter your email address and then select "Disabilities Services." You will also be able to subscribe to any other email list to receive periodic news about the Head Start program and early childhood development community.

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Promoting Positive Behavior: Function-Based Assessment and Intervention

When asked about their greatest need for support, many early childhood educators will refer to addressing behaviors that challenge them. In this issue, explore the use of the intensive individualized interventions in the Pyramid Model's top tier. Children who continue to demonstrate behaviors that challenge adults may benefit from individualized, function-based assessment and intervention.

Teaching Social Skills and Problem-Solving

Some children need extra support to learn these kinds of social and emotional skills. Sometimes these skills become goals in a family's Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or a child's Individualized Education Program (IEP). The Pyramid Model is a framework of evidence-based practices for promoting children's social and emotional development and preventing and addressing behavior that challenges adults.

Preventing and Addressing Behaviors That Challenge Us

Sometimes, Head Start educators may find that young children's behaviors feel challenging to address successfully. Staff who experience this may start by understanding that all behavior has meaning and determine what the child is trying to communicate through their behavior. Explore this newsletter to learn how to respond to the behavior and teach new social and emotional skills.

Improving Instruction for Young Children with Autism

Educators can use a variety of instructional strategies to support positive experiences for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In this newsletter, learn how to match the level of instructional support to the child's needs. It is important that Head Start educators work with the team (e.g., parents, co-educators, education managers, disability services coordinators, and any therapists that work with the child) to identify the child's strengths, interests, and needs.

Embedded Learning Opportunities for Infants and Toddlers

Infants and toddlers with disabilities need many opportunities to learn and practice new skills. Providing embedded learning opportunities is an effective way to maximize children's learning throughout the day. In this issue, learn how disabilities services coordinators and Early Head Start educators can work together to determine activities and routines that are best suited for embedded learning opportunities.

Partnering with Families to Identify Developmental Concerns

Learn how partnering with families during developmental screenings can help programs determine how children are growing and learning. The screening is the first step in a comprehensive system of assessment and helps staff and families decide whether to refer a child for more evaluation by a qualified professional. 

Establishing Equitable Early Learning Environments

Early childhood professionals have a unique opportunity to advance equity and diversity when children are first beginning to understand these issues. Explore how to foster equitable access to learning to enhance a sense of belonging and trust for children and their families.

Using the Activity Matrix to Maximize Learning Time

Using a system to organize learning activities and ensure that all staff are prepared to support children is key to a high-quality early learning environment. Explore this newsletter to learn how an activity matrix is a great tool to meet this goal.

Practice-Based Coaching: Focus on Inclusive Practices

In this issue, explore Practice-Based Coaching around including and teaching children with special needs in all classroom activities. Find strategies and materials to help educators strengthen their teaching practices.

Spotlight on Child Maltreatment: Building Resilience in the Face of Adversity

An effective way to support children who have experienced maltreatment is to help them build resilience in the face of adversity. This issue explores practices for building resilience in children with disabilities or suspected delays who have also experienced maltreatment.

Supporting Friendships

Explore this newsletter to learn how to foster friendships between children of all abilities. Learn how to teach both children with disabilities and their typically developing peers ways to interact with each other for the benefit of all.

Last Updated: January 13, 2020