Each year DEC honors individuals who are making a difference in the lives of young children and their families. We are pleased to honor individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families.
The 2021 Awards Ceremony will take place online at DEC's 37th Annual International Conference on Young Children with Special Needs and Their Families.
The nomination process is open now!
2021 DEC Awards Nominations
Nominations must be submitted by Thursday, July 15th, 2021, 11:59 PM Eastern Time.
Award winners will be notified in early August and presented on Friday, September 17th, 2021.
Please consider reaching out to colleagues/others if you would like to be nominated or contact Amanda Quesenberry, the Awards Committee Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about the nominations process or to receive support with completing materials.
The Rose C. Engel Award for Excellence in Professional Practice will be awarded to a DEC member who is a practicing professional and whose primary role is serving young children with disabilities and their families. This award is given to honor Rose Engel, DEC’s first president, whose leadership shaped DEC as an organization. Nominees are expected to meet the high standards of professional practice set by Rose Engel.
The Mary McEvoy Service to the Field Award is given to a family member, community member, or professional who has made notable and significant national or international contributions to the field of early childhood special education. It is given in memory of Mary McEvoy, who was a leader in the early childhood special education field.
The J. David Sexton Doctoral Student Award is given to a DEC doctoral level member who has made contributions to young children with disabilities and their families through their efforts in research, higher education, publications, policy, and information dissemination.
DEC Student Award is given to a student enrolled in an associate, bachelor, certificate or master’s degree program who has demonstrated significant commitment and contributions to enhancing the lives of young children with disabilities and their families through professional activity with the field of early childhood care and education.
The Merle B. Karnes Service to DEC Award is given to a DEC member who has made significant contributions to DEC in the areas of leadership, service, research, advocacy, or publications. The award is given in honor of Dr. Merle Karnes, who served for years as a member of DEC Executive Board and was the founder and first editor of the Journal for Early Intervention.
The DEC Family Award is given to a DEC member who is the parent/guardian of a child with a disability and has made significant contributions through service to the field and community. This award is given to demonstrate the importance of recognizing families who are making a difference in the field.
The DEC Mentoring Award is given to a DEC member who has provided significant guidance to the development of students and/or new practitioners in the field. This award is given to demonstrate the importance of training and guiding the next generation of leaders in the field.
See a list of past award recipients