Environments that Support High Quality Inclusion
Pam Winton: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the webinar on environmental practices that support high-quality inclusion, presented by the National Center on Early Childhood Development, Teaching, and Learning, also known as the DTL Center. I'm Pam Winton, and I'll be presenting today along with my colleague, Tracey West. We are both members of the DTL Center's inclusion team. We welcome you all. Before we begin, I'd like to go over a little bit of information regarding the webinar. During the webinar, we'll have all lines muted as a way of ensuring the audio quality, but we do want to hear from you, so we'll be using some of the Adobe features to help us interact. If you have problems with technology or logistical questions, please use the chat box.
The chat box is down in the right side of your screen, and we have an arrow to it, and we'll respond to you there. We'll also be asking you to use the chat box to share your observations of some videos we'll share later during the presentation, so that's the place that you'll be putting those observations. We welcome questions and comments you might have about the webinar content throughout the webinar. There is a Q&A box in the lower-right side of your screen, and that's where we ask you to put the content questions. We'll take a break partway through when we'll respond to your questions, and we'll do that again at the end. If there are questions that we aren't able to address during the webinar for running out of time or they're complicated questions that we want to get some guidance on, we'll post them in the MyPeers disabilities inclusion online community and address them there.
We hope you're all members of that community, but we'll share more about how to enroll at the end of the webinar if you're not. The PDF of this presentation can be found in the supporting documents box in the bottom-right of your screen. One more thing I want to share is there will be three videos in this session, and so when those videos are shown, here's a tip about hearing the audio. If you're listening via phone, you won't be able to hear the audio over the phone, so at that moment, turn on the audio of your computer and mute your phone when you do that, and then you'll be able to hear the video audio. Then, for the rest of the presentation, go back to your phone audio. If, for any reason, you get disconnected from the webinar, use the same link used previously to rejoin us. And we want to let you know that the session is going to be recorded.
At the end, there will be an evaluation form for you to complete, and when you download and complete it, you'll get a certificate of completion for your participation. If you're viewing the webinar with colleagues on one computer and only one person is registered for the webinar, please forward the evaluation e-mail to your colleagues who viewed the webinar so that they can complete the evaluation and receive a certificate of completion as well. At the end of this session, our objective for you is we really hope you understand the importance of knowing about and using evidence-based practices that support inclusion. We want you to be able to define the components of natural and inclusive environments for young children, 0 to 5, suspected of or with with identified disabilities, and children with chronic health conditions. We want you to understand specific evidence-based practices for enhancing the inclusiveness of children's environments, and we hope you'll know where to find some free professional development resources that you can use to support staff in making accommodations and modifications to the environment. So this is our agenda. We've now done the welcome and overview. We'll then go to the rationale for focusing on practices. We'll introduce evidence-based practices that support individualization.
We'll include demonstrations of practices for modifying and adapting the environment to support inclusion, and then we'll end on the resource section. We'd really like to know who's in the room today, so we have a little poll here for you all to complete, and you'll see that the question is, "Who do we have participating with us today?" and we have some response options, and I see that we have a lot of disability coordinators with us. That's terrific. We also have education staff, ETS's, and some administrators, and while we're waiting for more responses to come in, I want to take a few minutes to provide background for why the information about these practices on inclusion are important for all staff at all levels, and it's great to see that we have staff from all levels with us. So thank you for continuing to put those responses in the poll.
It looks like the disability coordinator group is leading the pack with early childhood specialists not far behind and catching up. So thanks for sharing that. So let's move on to the next slide, which tells us why this topic is important. First of all, we have a strong legislative foundation for inclusion, and this shows you some of the legislative information and regulatory information that guides our work, and I want to just say something about the last little bullet. Head Start historically, for long -- for decades, has provided an inclusive environment and strong support for serving children suspected of or having identified disabilities, including children with chronic health-care needs, but we're not going to actually focus much today on these laws. We've done that before in other webinars, so we invite you to the ECLKC website, where you'll find archived a series of joint federal webinars on inclusion developed collaboratively by our federal staff at OHS and federal staff from the US Department of Ed. and delivered in 2016 and '17. We have links to these resources at the end of our webinar, so I really want you to go and check all that out. In addition to this legislative support, there is a strong research base on inclusion, and I'll say a teeny bit more about that today on this webinar.
We know from a very large body of research that inclusion has benefits for all children, not just children with disabilities, and I think this is so important for everyone to know, especially for families. Children without disabilities learn from their peers. They learn empathy and adaptability, and when you think about it, young children seldom have the concerns that adults have about someone being a little bit different than themselves in their classroom. There's also substantial evidence to show that children can learn effectively inclusive settings when they do have disabilities, when they are given appropriate modifications and adaptations to the curriculum and, in some cases, simply in how the classroom is arranged. So that's really important to know. We also know that families of children both with and without disabilities generally feel positive about inclusion. They may have worries that maybe their child won't get sufficient attention either because they have a disability or because they do not, and they think maybe, for instance, the teacher might spend too much time with the children with disabilities or that their child might not be treated well by others. But when you think about it, and those of you who've sent your children off to school for the first time to kindergarten or to preschool, these are kind of common concerns that a lot of parents have when you send your young child out into the world. We also know that inclusion is not more expensive than having separate settings for children with disabilities, but it does take some effort on the part of all parties to align, blend, braid the funding streams, or whatever term you use when you talk about sharing costs. And perhaps most importantly, we know that children do not need to be "ready" before they can be included with their peers. Rather, it's programs must be ready for them. So any thoughts about delaying inclusion until a time when a child is either old enough or advanced enough or anything else enough really flies in the face of the goal and the purpose of inclusion, which is to ensure that children with disabilities have supported opportunities to grow, learn, and thrive alongside their typically developing same-age peers in community settings.
So these are some of the research findings that drive our policies towards encouraging and mandating inclusion, but I think it's important to know that just simply having the research or having the legislation isn't enough to ensure that the desired outcomes for inclusion have been reached, that those incomes really have to be supported by the processes that teachers use in the classrooms or in the home-based settings to support children and their family. So we do have very strong evidence on practices that, when implemented by education staff, are associated with positive outcomes for children and family, and one of our main goals for today is to introduce you to those practices, starting with a little bit about how those practices were identified.
I know some of you may be familiar with the Division of Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children, usually referred to as CEC, but for those who are not, this is an international membership organization for those who work with or on behalf of young children, 0 to 8, with disabilities and other special needs and their families. And the reason I'm sharing information about DEC is because it was this organization that was instrumental in identifying a set of research-based practices that support individualization. The practices were identified through a very rigorous process funded by the US Department of Ed., OSEP, Office of Special Education Program, and carried out by a commission appointed by DEC. And the goal of the DEC-recommended practices is to inform and improve the quality of services provided to young children with or at risk of disabilities and their families. So this next slide shows you a document on the left side of the screen. This is the document that shares the set of research-based practices that support individualization. It's online. It's free, and we'll give you a link at the end to where you can get it. There are 66 specific practices organized in eight topic areas, and I've organized them on this slide in terms of those that are child-focused, which are listed there, and then some others are more family and systems-focused. And we're going, today, to focus specifically on the practices related to the environment, but I just wanted to share that there are a lot of practices, 66 to be exact, and we're focusing in on some of them, and having both child-focused and family and systems-focused practices narrows Head Start and Early Head Starts systems and services model that includes providing direct service for children and then systems-level supports for children and families.
So regardless of your role, whether it's direct service or more system or family-focused, these practices are really relevant for all of you on this call. A tiny bit more about these practices that I want to share, they're worded in such a way that it's what practitioners need to be doing in classrooms and home-based settings and at systems level in their systems-level work. They are supported by a heavy, heavy, heavy empirical research base, but they're also supported by values and experience of the field. They went through a very solid validation process. They are -- practices are observable. They're not disability-specific. They're practices designed to be delivered in all settings. That includes home-based and center-based and natural and inclusive environments, and they're built upon but not duplicative of other standards such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children Developmentally Appropriate Practices.
I want to also share how these practices are well-aligned with the Head Start Program Performance Standards as well as the Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework, which I know you're all familiar with and shows up on this slide. You can see those five central domains, and so let's just take a look at one of those domains, and that is the domain on social emotional development, and you see, in the blue square, the DEC-recommended practices, some examples from the environmental practices domain. You see that practitioners provide services and supports in natural and inclusive environments during daily routines and activities to promote the child's access to and participation in learning experiences. So that's an example of how the practice aligns with an outcome in the social and emotional domain. I also want to share how the practices align with the DTL house graphic, which I'm sure a lot of you are very familiar with. The house, that's what DTL has been using to represent five integral elements of quality teaching and learning, and at the base of the house, you see the foundation, that is, what all children need are nurturing relationships, effective interactions, and engaging environments to support their learning. And then the pillars are the walls of the house. We know that teaching should be guided by a research-based curriculum and that screening and ongoing assessment are needed to guide how our children are learning and how we can particularly adjust our interactions and instructions to meet ongoing and individualized needs.
So that ongoing assessment piece is very important. We also know that families are in the center of all of this. But through that ongoing screening and assessment, we also recognize there are some children that really need more intensive individualized practices, teaching and learning practices, so that's what the roof of the house, the highly individualized practices for supporting teaching and learning, and that's an essential element in providing high-quality inclusion for all children with disabilities. So that roof of the house is really important to see what we're sharing are those practices to support the highly individualized teaching and learning, and these practices, again, I know I said it before, but they really are about all program options, including center and family and home-based. So I'm going to stop and pause for a minute and see if we have questions. I've been talking a lot and haven't looked at our Q&A, but I don't see any content questions popping up there right now, so I encourage you to ask them if you have questions about the research, about how to find more information on the legislation, about the alignment of the DEC-recommend practices with Head Start and your role. Please put them in the Q&A box, and while we're waiting for those questions, I'm going to turn things over to my colleague, Tracey West, who's going to move into those highly individualized practices that support modifications and accommodations to the environment. So, Tracey, take it away.
Tracey West: Thank you, Pam, and thanks, all of you, for joining us today. We're really glad to be with you, even if it only is through a phone line, and as Pam mentioned, we're going to focus on just one of the eight topical areas that make up the recommended practices, the environment. I'm going to share some photo examples and a few video demonstrations for the practices to give you a taste of what they can look like in the classroom or in the home. Then, later in the webinar, I will share more information about the resources, the examples they're drawn from, and we provide the links to these resources so you can explore them further and use them to support your work. So what do we mean by the environment? These are practices that support effective, engaging, and accessible environments and refer to age-appropriate equipment, materials, supplies, and physical spaces. Environments also include schedules, lesson plans, and experiences that staff and families can adapt to support all children and particularly those at risk for or diagnosed with disabilities. And the topic area environment is also associated with those guidelines, as I think Pam mentioned, related to the Head Start Program Performance Standards of teaching and learning environment. So if you're like me, the first thing you think about in regard to adapting or modifying the environment is the physical environment, but there are really three components to the environment to consider -- the physical environment, that includes the space, the equipment, the materials; the social environment, that includes interactions with peers, with siblings, adults, and the family; and also the temporal environment, this includes the sequence and length of routines and activities.
And each of those components of the environment offers a lot of opportunities for using practices to support inclusion. So what do the practices look like? Well, as Pam mentioned, there are 66 recommended practices in the eight topic areas, and I wanted to give you a quick look at how the practices under environment look just to you'd have a feel for them and also for how really down-to-earth and practical they are. The six practices, as you can see the first three here, focus on providing supports throughout the daily routine and using universal design for learning to promote children's access and participation in activities and learning. They also focus on the use of assistive technology if it's needed and opportunities for physical movement and activity. So we're focusing on environment today because it really is a pivotal aspect of quality inclusion. The use of intentional planned adaptations and modifications to the environment can make the daily routine go more smoothly for staff, for family members, and for the children, as well as increasing children's engagement and learning. So during the next part of the webinar, I'll give you some examples of what these practices can look like. However, keep in mind these are simply examples. The practices would look different for every child and in every setting.
First, let's take a look at the physical environment, and while we look at the following examples, think about your role and how these examples could be useful for you. If you're a direct-service provider, they may provide some ideas to draw from when you think about the children in your class. I know quite a few of you are disability coordinators or early-childhood specialists. These resources that we draw from are ones you may share with family members or with education staff, and for administrators, just seeing how the practices look and learning about the resources so you too can support the staff in your center. So we want these to work for you at every level, so just kind of keep in mind how you could pull it into your role as we go through this. So looking here, thinking about universal design for learning, you see a photo from the CONNECT modules, and in many cases, you hear a photo can have 1,000 words. Well, really, it actually can be true in this case. Using a photo like this when staff or family members express concerns about needing specialized equipment or high-tech modifications to support the needs of a child with disability can really be help alleviated when you have some simple, practical examples like this in the photo. So here you see a child washing her hands and several modifications that can help her complete this independently. You see those railings that provide stability for climbing the stairs, clamps attached to the faucet so the child can turn it off and on easily. These are very simple, very effective modifications that could be put into place to support the needs of a child with some motor or balance challenges, but they also would help promote all children's independence in hand-washing.
Also wanted to point out you'll see that orange box with one of the recommended practices on it that aligns with the content just to give you an idea how this all fits together. And again, I mentioned this photo being from the CONNECT module. We'll provide more information about that toward the end of the webinar. Another physical adaptation that is really important is providing appropriate positioning or seating. This can have a really huge impact on children's engagement and participation. In this photo, also from CONNECT, you see a child with a physical disability using adaptive seating that allows him to participate in circle time right alongside his peers. The beauty of this seating is it puts him on the very same level as his peers, allowing him not just the opportunity to participate but to interact, be a part of the activity, and even to act up with his friends if he wants to. I'm imagining some of you have been in classes where a child with motor impairments is in a wheelchair or a seating that unintentionally sets them apart from the other children, putting them at a higher level. When you consider seating for a child, you'll want to think about what will really support their participation in the activity and not just the access. Physical adaptations can also be used to set boundaries.
Think about a classroom where staff are struggling with how to support a child who has some challenges around attention, engagement, something that can be fairly common, a child who, at circle, is very distracted, and they also distract their peers. A simple modification could be using carpet squares with names so that staff can intentionally plan for where they want the children to sit and who they sit next to, particularly perhaps not to a distractible peer, not next to. For a child who wanders, a simple stop sign might help him or her remember where they're supposed to be or not supposed to be during centers or meals. Also simply covering some materials, like the computer in this photo, can help children independently stay on target and can help prevent some daily challenges for teachers. So these are modifications that can help children function more independently and make the routine run more smoothly for the staff, and photos like these can be used in your role to show that adaptations don't have to be complicated or expensive to be effective. And the photos here and some of the following ones are from the 15-minute in-service suites located on the Head Start website, and, again, I'll share some more about those websites later in the webinar.
Modifications can also be made to materials and can range, as you see here, from simple to sophisticated. And you see an example of a switch on a toy that could be designed for use with a child who has significant motor or developmental delays to allow them to participate in free play, but this type of toy and switch can be really enticing to all the children in the class. I've been in classrooms where children really are lining up to take a turn to play with a child is using the toy, so it provides lots of good opportunities for turn-taking and social play as well as child participation. You also see some very simple adaptations here, the pegs on the puzzles and the thumb handle for the rattle that can also be used to help children participate in activities. And using illustration like these can really spur discussions about how people can intentionally adapt materials to individualize, whether it's for an infant, a toddler, or a preschool child. So we're going to switch gears a little and watch a short video that shows how some simple modifications were used to help a child work on his motor goals, and as Pam mentioned, while you're watching, I want you to note what else you see happening in the video along with these physical adaptations, the environmental adaptations and accommodations. So get ready, use your chat box, and share what else, what other practices you see as you're watching the video. We're interested to see what you notice.
[Begin video clip]
Woman: Do you see that? Hold on here.
Narrator: With children with any kind of gross motor delay, it makes a lot of sense to do their physical therapy intervention right on the playground. Here, we're seeing a child with some balance and strength deficits, and he's just beginning to be able to participate more in some of the peer activities. One of the roles that I have at the center is to come up with different adaptations which allow the children to be more successful in the same activities as their classmates. Here you can see, with just some simple adaptations to this tricycle, that Josh is able to have a good experience with his peers. One of the things that I like about the playground is that there is always a large number of children out there with me, and it's usually very easy to get at least one peer, if not a group of peers, participating in the activity both just in a social way or modeling for the child. I mean, it's not something we set up, but they'll just be doing the same activity, and it does provide a great model, but also, as you'll see, sometimes we have children be little helpers, too. Josh has already learned how to pedal. He's a little bit rusty in this tape because we're just getting back from winter vacation, but his pedaling has been going really well, but he's having trouble initiating the pedaling, so that's what we're working on in this segment, how to get the trike going from a standstill. There, he finally gets going, and so I'm looking for some children to play a little red light, green light game, and Nicky, who was in that first little part of this segment, comes along and participates with us.
Woman: So we'll play stop and go. Okay. When I say red light. Green light.
Child: Yellow. Hey!
Woman: Pedal, pedal, pedal, pedal. Good job! Good job! Oh, good job. And red light, stop. Uh-oh. That's good. I was almost going to give you a ticket. Okay. You ready to go? Back up, and push hard with that foot and go!
[End video clip]
Tracey: On here, I saw so many good ideas coming in, and you've really picked up on the fact that not only was she modifying the bike to work on motor goals, but she was making it a social activity. She pulled in role models, friends, and really tried to facilitate the social interactions, and I did see someone mention helmets. It's true. I do see -- You can tell the age of this video. Kids these days do wear helmets. But you all are exactly right, that while the physical goal was her main focus, she managed to make this a much broader activity. And I did want to mention, while this is a physical therapist who was doing this activity, it's something that could easily be pulled in by education staff as well. So I see ideas still coming in, such great ideas. You all really have pulled in everything I would have hoped and more. Thank you. Uh-oh. So now we're going to move forward a little, and please keep those ideas coming if you want, and we can share some of those back at a later time, some of the ideas, if anyone is interested. But I wanted to move on to examples of practices associated with a child's social environment. So the social environment can be used to promote participation through strategically pairing children or grouping them together, providing materials that stimulate social play, designing activities that promote social interactions. So think about a child who has difficulty interacting with and socializing with peers. I imagine everyone's had some experience with a quiet, reserved, or withdrawn child who might spend their time watching their peers play kind of on the sidelines. So think about how we could use the social environment to support their participation. A first step could be to think about the daily activities, modifying an activity so a child with disability is intentionally paired with another child for a fun activity. In the photo, you see an example of buddy art. The teacher had these two children make handprints together and paired them for the art activity. Another modification could involve the way groups are formed, intentionally arranged seating. You can see the names of the chairs, there.
Children very quickly pick up on that, and that could be used to pair a child with social challenges, putting them next to a very social child, giving them increased opportunities for interactions, and hopefully some budding friendships. Also using the environment, really using highly motivating and coveted materials like this dirt or sand bin can be used to encourage interactions and play. If you can get the child with disabilities to participate and then pair them up with another social child, again, you increase those opportunities for interactions and social play. So now I want you to keep the interactions coming, but we're really changing gears here. We're going to see a video that provides an example of how the social environment can be used to facilitate interactions and engagement. In this video clip, take note of how the teacher has planned to help a reserved child try out something new by engaging a peer to help him explore his environment. Again, while you watch the practices the teacher uses, share in the chat box the practices that you notice that are helping support the little boy, Luke.
[Begin video clip]
Woman: This video clip shows Luke, a 3-year-old boy with language delays at school. His teacher is prompting a classmate to introduce Luke to a new water-play activity.
Teacher: Can you say, "Hello. Here's the ducky"? Look, Luke. Eva's giving you the ducky, Luke. Look. Say, "Thank you." He said, "Thank you, Eva." Luke. Luke. Eva, come get Luke to the water. Can you take Luke to the water?
Woman: No drinking, Dede. No drinking.
Teacher: Say, "Come on, Luke." Luke, go to Eva. Walk him to the water, Eva, so he'll get wet. Walk him to the --
Eva: I want to go to the water.
Teacher: Go ahead.
[End video clip]
Tracey: Fantastic, all of you. You've really picked up on everything I had thought of and more. We see the teacher modeling interactions and language, prompting the children, providing encouragement on both sides. I hadn't thought about how that holding hands, it really creates even an additional bond there, the signing, and I see, Michelle, you're right, leadership. It really gets that for the little girl. And you can see this teacher obviously planned the activity ahead of time and picked a child who is going to be not intimidating but really friendly, really gentle, that was a good match for Luke. So you all really keyed in on those practices that are supporting Luke's inclusion in that activity, and as with all adaptations and modifications, planning and intentionality are really the key to success. So thank you all for joining in there. We're going to now take a look at the temporal environment, and this includes adjustments to schedules and to the timing and to the sequence of activities. And we may not think about adapting timing and schedules as part of individualizing for children, or you all may. It took me a while. It's not an aspect that I had given a lot of thought to, but these practices can be very simple and very effective. Some children may need more time to complete an activity while others may actually need less time, particularly if their goal is beginning to learn to sustain play, and in either case, adapting timing can be an effective practice for helping them succeed.
Another way to use timing is for a child who may only want to play in a particular area, say, in the block area. It doesn't matter whether it's circle time, small groups, or snacks, blocks may be on his mind, and a picture schedule can help reinforce the timing or the order in which activities take place during the routine. Say, a visual showing, "After we finish circle, then it will be time to play in blocks." And that visual reinforcement can be very, very powerful. Another simple example using a visual like this hourglass timer to help a child who has difficulty taking turns or to help a child that has difficulty with transitions understand how much longer they have to wait before either getting their turn or before moving to the next activity. So really looking at the sequence and the timing for activities can give you some very powerful, very simple accommodations that can be made. So I have the opportunity to observe in classrooms fairly often, and some of you may actually share this experience, but I have found that circle time or large group can be really difficult for some children, and that can make circle time challenging for the teachers and for the rest of the class. So I wanted to watch one more video, our last one this afternoon, to hear from a teacher about how she uses timing to help children learn to and begin to participate in circle time. [Begin video clip]
Woman: Some of our students are working on goals of becoming integrated into larger group activities, and for that they do have the choice. They'll sit in a large group for a few minutes, and then they may want to go off by theirself, which is totally fine, and then when they're off by theirself, they're still working on goals as in writing and working on puzzles, fine-motor things, cognitive goals, things of that nature. We're working on it as an integration into our larger group activities. Maybe they want to sit at the rug for a couple minutes which is great, which is a part of their goals, and maybe they become restless a little bit. So we don't have them to have to remain in the group and be restless and inattentive, so then they have the option of going to another activity which is also working on more goals for them. [End video clip]
Tracey: So you can see here, this teacher's intentional adjustment of time and her expectation allows the children to be successful and allows circle to continue smoothly. So what can be a really challenging time, by just adjusting the time for that activity for those children can make that a successful experience for everyone. So I'm going to -- Whoops. This really wraps up the examples I wanted to share on how to support inclusion, and what I'm hoping is these demonstrations and examples have whetted your appetite to learn more because they provided just a tiny taste, a tip of the iceberg, of the resources we're going to share next. But before we move on, I wondered if any of you have any questions. Please put those into the chat box or into the Q&A. I'd be happy to address those. Also, if any of you have a really favorite resource, if you want to add those in, we can compile them, and we can share them back on MyPeers later on. All right, I'm seeing some questions and comments coming in. I think that is, Andrew -- That is a good point, that if everyone leaves the circle, then maybe you do need to kind of look at your activities. That's an interesting way to phrase it, but very true. You need it to really fit the needs of your children and engage them.
And I see Monica mentioning that she uses some fidgets. That can also help some children stay focused, and the flexibility, Brooke. So you're right. There are a number of ways to address those challenges of circle time. While we see if any more questions come in. I am going to move ahead because I really wanted to share some information about the resources we drew from today. Mainly, we focused on resources from the Head Start Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center, the ECLKC website, and the 15-minute in-service suites developed by the National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning and the CONNECT modules that are available on the FPG website. So web links to those resources are available on a slide at the end of the presentation. I imagine that many of you are familiar with in-service suites. The 15-minute in-service suites really provide something for everyone, and they're available on the Head Start ECLKC website. Each of those suites provides tip sheets if you're education staff or a supervisor that can be very helpful disability coordinators, early childhood specialists. The handouts, ready-to-use PowerPoint slides, the facilitation guides can be very useful and help you when you're supporting direct staff.
The in-service suites cover a variety of topics, two of which, curriculum modifications and embedded learning, are very relevant to what we've been talking about today. The curriculum modification suite gives an overview of modifications teachers can use by making simple changes to their classroom activities, and the embedded learning suite shows ways to break learning goals down into smaller steps that can help a child make steady progress in mastering a skill. Also, on ECLKC, you can find a host of other resources on practices that can support inclusion just by searching, "Children with disabilities," but I really wanted to mention a number of these. There is a monthly newsletter, the Disability Services Newsletters. Each of these newsletters focuses on a practice to support inclusion. They include a link to a relevant journal article from Young Exceptional Children, and they feature free resources on a specific topic related to working with children with disabilities. If you go to the website right now, there are six issues currently available. They focus on practices that support inclusion organized around the DEC-recommended practices. Current topics include leadership, individualizing instruction, working with families, supporting child interactions, environments, and more, and there's a new issue added monthly. I really urge you to check those out. We also, on the ECLKC website, have that series of recorded federal webinars that Pam mentioned so that you can learn more about those laws and policies on serving children with disabilities. We often get questions about those, and these give a lot of information there, and we're excited. Coming soon, we will have a set of briefs on suspension and expulsion as it relates to children with disabilities, so really with a specific lens there as well as a self-paced course and a training curriculum on the foundations of inclusion. So keep your eye out. Those will be coming very soon. And now, this is actually late-breaking news since I made this slide. It says, "Coming Soon On ECLKC," but I believe that this something available today. Jean, is that right?
Jean: It is available. Yep.
Tracey: Yep. It's available today. So there are a lot of wonderful resources out there, and our goal is to help all of you find them. So check out a new landing page, "Resources on Practices that Support Individualization." On that page, you'll find a collection of resources on practices supporting individualization, and they, again, are organized around the eight topic areas identified in the DEC-recommended practices. So you all are really the first ones to get access to this, and I have the link on a slide at the end of the webinar. So I, again, encourage you to go there, and you will find a lot of resources to support your work. The other resource we used today, a lot of the photos and two of the videos were from the CONNECT modules, and each of the CONNECT modules focuses on a separate practice that can support inclusion. These are professional development resources that focus on an inclusive practice, and they're funded by the US Department of Education Office of Special Education Program. There are seven modules available. You can see them there, and they're designed for use by professional development providers. So again, you early childhood specialists, administrators, DC coordinators, will find these particularly useful. They contain worksheets, handouts, and much, much more, including fabulous videos, photos, also tips for how to evaluate effectiveness of interventions.
So again, I really, really encourage you to go and check these out. We also want to encourage you to think about your peers as a resource. If you all haven't already, you will want to join the Disabilities Inclusion Network on MyPeers. It provides a way to share with each other, respond to challenges, pose questions, share resources. It's a very, very active site, and I have seen people ask a question and very quickly they get numerous responses. It's also a way for us to learn from you about your ongoing work, including challenges and successes, and a way for us to respond to requests through designing monthly calls based on your interest, new policies, sharing new resources, and providing access to experts that you identify as having needed information, and through this, we provide alerts about new resources and upcoming events. If you are already a member of MyPeers, you can find the disability site under the Head Start Disability Inclusion Network community. You can find the community under all communities. Select the blue "Join" button. So again, your peers can be some of your best resources. So as promised, these are the links to the resources that we have talked about today, and, again, you see that there's the link to the new Resources on Practices that Support Individualization, and I know you've seen in the chat box that the webinar will be archived so you'll be able to access all these resources then. And before we move on, I wanted to see, are there any other questions, questions about the resources or questions from the webinar in general? Juan, "Is there a set or amount of times education staff must individualize a lesson plan?" I am -- A set amount of time, I am not sure about that. That's something I'll have to look into, but it's a good question. Looks like Pam may be answering that one, and, Pam, feel free to jump in here on the line if you'd like to.
Pam: Okay. I will. Is this something --
Tracey: Jean was pointing out the questions, but I'm just starting to look up from my notes.
Pam: Yeah. Yeah. Can you hear me okay? Yeah?
Tracey: Yes, and Desiree, I see that you said, "The MyPeers link does not work. Is there another link for this resource?" I'm betting we can get one to put in the chat box for you.
Pam: Yeah. Going back to the question about a set amount of time to individualize, I did put a response into the chat, there. So I think everybody, I think, is able to see the chat. Oh, and I see it's been pulled over to the Q&A place as well. So yeah, my thought is that this is a child-by-child decision, and we haven't really mentioned the IEP or IFSP in our presentation today, but so important for children with identified disabilities to use that IEP or IFSP to guide decisions about how to individualize, make the accommodations and modifications to be environment, and I see Wanda Becton has also weighed in on this, too, and hi, Wanda. Yes, exactly. Tracey and I have even seen teachers who have little sticky notes that they put onto their sleeve, and when they are in an activity like a circle time or they're supporting children in small-group activities, they have some goals for each child that has an IEP on their sleeve, and they think about, "Wow. I'm working on trying to support this child's engagement and initiative in joining a group," for instance. "How am I going to address that goal in this group? I see the child lingering on the side of the group, not joining the group, struggling, wanting to be part of the group, so I need to think about how I'm going to support that child's entry into this group that's playing so well around a water-play activity," for instance, like the video you saw with Luke and his classmate, Eva. Yes. Just thinking about how to make sure there are multiple ongoing ways to engage a child's IEP goals throughout the day, not just as a set-aside time to take a child over into the corner and say, "Now I'm going to work on your IEP goals." To embed that into the routines of the classroom is so much more effective than that one-on-one pull out that sometimes we see happening, even in an inclusive setting.
Tracey: Exactly, Pam. Thank you, and I see a question from Christy about the most of the examples showing preschool children. You're exactly right, and I realized afterward I need to do a better job pulling in ones examples with infants and with toddlers because the practices themselves would be the same for those age groups, but they do look different. If you're thinking about timing, it could even be -- There's recommended amounts of time children should have tummy time, but for a child with certain sensory issues, a young child or physical disabilities, you might have to flex that making it longer or shorter. The same way with adapting materials, putting a foam grip on a rattle or finding different types of standing or bouncing chairs, so the practices and the basic ideas are the same, but I will next time make sure to have more examples for infants and toddlers. Thank you for pointing that out.
Pam: Wow, and I'm just chiming in here to say I wish, Tracey, we thought about using the video of rolling, the rolling video.
Tracey: Oh, that's a good idea!
Pam: Yeah, but we will maybe post a link to a video in the module one CONNECT resources, the CONNECT module one has an infant toddler activity being carried out during large group play in a Zero to sort of Three environment, and how a therapist, actually, is modeling for the teacher how to engage a child with pretty significant disabilities with other children in working on their physical therapy goals.
Tracey: Really good idea, and we can post that link in MyPeers, is that right, Pam? So that you could access it. That would be a really good example.
Pam: Right, or if somebody right there at FPG can pull up a link to that video and put it into the chat box. We could do that.
Tracey: Ah, there you go!
Pam: Look at that. Okay, yay. Thank you.
Tracey: And we can continue to answer some questions, but I do want to put the evaluation link in case anyone is rushing to their next meeting. We want to really thank all of you for being here, and please use this link to complete the evaluation at the end. As Pam mentioned, you can download a certificate of completion, and we use this information to help us really fine-tune the next webinars.
Pam: Mm-hmm. Yeah. We appreciate all the questions for that reason, too. It's just really great to hear from all of you.
Tracey: All right. So thank all of you for being here. We've enjoyed the afternoon, getting to spend part of it with you, and we'll go through and make sure we've answered the questions, and I'm eager to see some of the other ideas that you all have added into the chat box.
Pam: And we'll see you all on MyPeers. We look forward to that because that's been a great way for us to just respond to questions when they come in to us, but also just to hear the fabulous ideas and the support you all give each other. Some of you, your names I recognize because you've been on MyPeers, and we so appreciate that. So goodbye from FPG and BTL. Thank you, everyone.
Tracey: That's right. Goodbye, and we'll talk to you next time. Thanks again.
Explore effective, research-based environmental modification practices. In this webinar, staff will learn to make accommodations to support children birth to 5 with suspected or identified disabilities. Hear specific strategies for inclusive services, including changing classroom routines and environments to support individualization. Discover free resources to support staff in adjusting the environment to meet the needs of all children.