top of page

DEC Recommended Practices

The DEC Recommended Practices (RPs) bridge the gap between research and practice, offering guidance to parents and professionals who work with young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. The Recommended Practices were first developed by DEC in 1991 to provide guidance to the relatively new field of early intervention/early childhood special education. Through recent collaborative work with the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), the 2014 set of DEC Recommended Practices was completed. The 2014 set of practices consists of eight domains: leadership, assessment, environment, family, instruction, interaction, teaming and collaboration, and transition. The Recommended Practices are helpful for those engaged in both preservice and in-service professional development.

RP Resources


  1. The Recommended Practices

  2. Environment

  3. Family

  4. Instruction

  5. Interaction

  6. Teaming and Collaboration

  7. Assessment

  8. Transition

Referencing the DEC Recommended Practices: Division for Early Childhood. (2014). DEC recommended practices in early intervention/early childhood special education 2014.

Interactive Glossary
RPs wih Examples

aRPy Ambassadors

The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) established the aRPy Ambassador initiative to disseminate information about and promote the use of the DEC Recommended Practices (RPs). aRPy Ambassadors are DEC members who build state capacity in the use of the ECTA


Center’s Practice Improvement Tools. The tools bring awareness, support the dissemination and use of the DEC RPs, and include performance checklists, practice guides for practitioners, practice guides for families, online modules, and training materials. Benefits to being an aRPy Ambassador include opportunities such as exclusive access to the Ambassador Toolkit and Online Portal; collaborating with fellow ambassadors to develop and share strategies and resources; advising the ECTA Center on new RP-related products; and identify existing opportunities to disseminate and/or provide training on the products within their states.

aRPy Ambassados

DEC RPs History

The Recommended Practices were first developed by DEC in 1991 to provide guidance to the relatively new field of early intervention/early childhood special education. The original set of practices consisted of 417 different behaviors. In the late 1990s/early 2000s, DEC revised the initial set of practices and established the evidence base for them through an extensive review of the literature.

In collaboration with the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), DEC revised and updated the practices again in 2014 and now consist of 66 practices total.

Hundreds of individuals consisting of families, researchers and practitioners contributed to the development of the Recommended Practices and continue to shape the evolution of these practices.

RP Timeline.png

View the following DEC Recommended Practices 2014 videos to learn more about the development of the practices.

DEC Recommended Practices 2014
If the DEC Recommended Practices were an animal, what animal would they be? Watch the video to see w
Evidence Synthesis of the DEC RPs

Recommended Practices Committee

The Recommended Practices Committee assists DEC by completing products, projects and initiatives associated with the DEC Recommended Practices. Learn more about the committee members.

RP History
bottom of page