The DEC Recommended Practices

DEC Recommended Practices are a DEC initiative that bridges 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. In the late 1990s, work was undertaken to revise the initial set of practices and establish the evidence base for the practices through an extensive review of the literature. Through recent collaborative work with the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), the practices have been revised and updated, and a new set of DEC Recommended Practices is now available.

The purpose of the DEC Recommended Practices
The DEC Recommended Practices were developed to provide guidance to practitioners and families about the most effective ways to improve the learning outcomes and promote the development of young children, birth through age 5, who have or are at-risk for developmental delays or disabilities. The purpose is to help bridge the gap between research and practice by highlighting those practices that have been shown to result in better outcomes for young children with disabilities, their families, and the personnel who serve them.

Using the DEC Recommended Practices
The Recommended Practices are intended to be used by individuals working across a variety of early childhood settings providing services to young children who have or at-risk for developmental delays or disabilities. The updated set of practices consists of eight domains: leadership, assessment, environment, family, instruction, interaction, teaming and collaboration, and transition. It is anticipated that the practices also will be helpful for those engaged in both preservice and in-service professional development.

The 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.

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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. 

To reference the DEC Recommended Practices, please use the following:
Division for Early Childhood. (2014). DEC recommended practices in early intervention/early childhood special education 2014. http://www.dec-sped.org/recommendedpractices