Learning Decks

About DEC Learning Decks

  • Webinars are hosted on GotoTraining.

Upcoming Learning Decks:

  • One week, one day, and one hour prior to each Learning Deck, registrants will receive a link for the webinar and handouts from presenters.

  • All Learning Deck sessions will be recorded, archived, and available for purchase in case participants miss a session or want to sign up for a session which they cannot attend on the date offered. 

Archived Learning Decks: 

  • Archived Learning Deck purchases will also be sent via email. This process can take 1-3 business days. 

Certificates of Attendance: 

  • Individual live webinar purchases include one certificate of attendance.

  • Group orders and archived webinar purchases do not include certificates of attendance. 

​Placing an Order: 

  • All Learning Decks, upcoming & archived, are available for purchase. 

  • Purchase orders and credit card payments are accepted. 

  • Orders can be placed here. You will be taken to a separate website to upload your purchase order or complete payment via credit card.

Group Logistics:

For each group order, the purchaser will need to designate a host. If the group is placing an order for a live webinar, the host will receive a link to log on to the webinar platform. All group members will need to view the webinar from the same location using the host's computer.* 

The Difference Between Large Group and Statewide or National Purchases: 

Group pricing allows the purchaser to complete a one time viewing for a group of participants of a certain size. If an agency (e.g. a Part C/619 program) purchases statewide access, then they would be able to use the webinar for ongoing training and would not need to repurchase for each group. 

*Due to the COVID-19 Outbreak, group members can temporarily view the webinars in separate locations as long as the number of participants does not surpass the number of group members included in the original webinar purchase. 

Please Note: Sharing a Learning Deck with one or more parties, without prior written permission from Division for Early Childhood, is a violation of copyright law.


February Learning Deck

Modern Family
How Early Intervention Providers Can Support Foster Parents using a Family-Centered Approach

This Learning Deck takes place Wednesday, February 24th, 3:00 to 4:00 PM Eastern Time. Purchases made at 2:00 PM Eastern Time or after will likely receive a copy of the recorded webinar.

Description: The CAPTA legislation requires child welfare professionals to refer children between birth and three years old to early intervention programs (About CAPTA: A Legislative History, 2019). Many of these children are being cared for out of their biological homes by foster parents. Early intervention providers are in the unique position to support foster parents as they care for and support the development of a vulnerable population. This presentation aims to provide guidelines for supporting foster parents using a family-centered approach that is inclusive to the unique needs of foster parents and those they care for. We will use the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices on Family and Teaming and Collaboration as our reference point (i.e. F1 & TC 2). Real-life vignettes will be shared to illustrate the importance of terminology, as well as the importance of using family-centered practices to support foster parents of young children with disabilities. First presenter will also share experiences as a foster parent and a certified early intervention specialist in Massachusetts.

Participant Outcomes:

1. Participants will understand the value of family-centered practices when supporting foster parents who are caring for young children with disabilities.
2. Participants will understand the importance of terminology when engaging with foster parents during initial meetings and ongoing service provision.
3. Participants will gain knowledge about the CAPTA legislation as it pertains to collaboration between early intervention and child welfare agencies.

Presenters: Kelly Brown; Serra Acar, PhD; Angi Stone-MacDonald, PhD

KELLY BROWN is a doctoral student at UMass Boston. She has been active in the field of Early Intervention since 2008, becoming a certified early intervention specialist in 2011. Kelly’s primary research interest is the collaboration between child welfare and early intervention. Kelly is also a foster and adoptive parent.

SERRA ACAR, PhD (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education and Care at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. Acar’s research interests include culturally and linguistically responsive assessment in EI/ECSE, EF in dual language learners, and personnel preparation.

ANGI STONE-MACDONALD, PhD is the Associate Dean for Grants and Research College of Education and Human Development, associate professor, and Early Education and Care in Inclusive Settings Program Director in University of Massachusetts, Boston. Her research focuses on increasing fidelity in assessment and supporting EI practitioners working with diverse families.


Free Learning Deck

Understanding Implicit Bias and Its Role in Early Learning Environments

Archived Webinar - This webinar was originally recorded on June 6, 2018.

Description: Racial inequities have long been present in our educational system. Recently, there has been a growing emphasis on the role of implicit bias in how programs discipline children, implement classroom practices, and establish teacher-child relationships. This session aims to support early childhood professionals in reducing implicit biases and using culturally responsive practices. Specifically, the session will focus on (1) identifying barriers to equity in early childhood environments for children of color (L7; E1); (2) defining implicit bias and its role in perpetuating inequitable practices (L7); (3) describing strategies for identifying and overcoming implicit bias (INS6); and (4) providing specific culturally responsive practices that can be used in early learning environments to promote equitable outcomes for children from culturally diverse backgrounds (E1; INS2; INS6). This session will actively engage participants in learning self-reflection and debiasing strategies, and how to use culturally responsive practices.

After taking part in this session, participants will be able to:
1. Identify barriers to equity in early education, specifically related to the disproportionate number of Black children who are suspended or expelled from programs.
2. Have a basic understanding of implicit bias and its role in early childhood education.
3. Describe specific strategies for identifying and overcoming implicit biases.
4. Describe the components of a culturally responsive teaching practices, including an emphasis on family involvement, how to view child development through a culturally responsive lens, and specific culturally responsive strategies designed to prevent challenging behaviors within early learning environments.

Presenters: Jen Neitzel, PhD, Megan Vinh, PhD, Ebonyse Mead

JENNIFER NEITZEL, PhD, is a Research Scientist at the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Neitzel’s work is focused on implicit bias, early childhood suspensions and expulsions, and racial equity in early childhood education.


MEGAN VINH, PhD, is the Co-Director of the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center, a co-PI of the Early Childhood Recommended Practice Modules project (RPM), and the evaluation lead for the Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy).


EBONYSE MEAD is the Family Support Program Officer at the Smart Start of North Carolina. In her work, Ms. Mead focuses on implicit bias and its role in early childhood education, particularly related to families and their experiences within early learning environments.


All Available Learning Decks

A Framework for Engaging Families in Early Intervention: Current and Best Practice

Archived Webinar 

Description: Family engagement leads to improved outcomes for children. Some families are harder to engage than others. Explore recent research conducted by Indiana University and learn about a family engagement framework that incorporates practical strategies for getting all families engaged during early intervention and the benefits for children, families and providers.

Presenters: Katherine Herron and Janet Ballard

KATHERINE HERRON, PhD is a research associate with the Early Childhood Center, Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University. Katie has a PhD in Clinical Psychology from Indiana University (2003), a program that focuses on high-quality research and the importance of implementing empirically based treatments. Her focus shifted to early intervention during graduate school when her son was born with a disability. Her experience as a parent in First Steps, the state’s early intervention system led her to work as a service coordinator within the same system, as well as on grants focused on parent advocacy and transition. Katie has also worked within First Steps doing education and outreach to families and professionals. She serves as chair of a city-supported Council for Community Accessibility. Katie has worked at the Early Childhood Center for almost two years. She works on a quality
improvement grant for First Steps as well as doing work on preschool quality and family engagement in both early intervention and early education programs.

JANET BALLARD is a Research Associate at the Early Childhood Center (ECC) at Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. She works on the First Steps Quality Review grant and as part of the assessment team for the Early Education Matching Grant. She is CLASS trained and has worked in the Birth to three realm for the past 20 years as a First Steps Provider and State Consultant. More recently, Janet helped create and implement the Early Head Start Program in Monroe County and served as the Coordinator of the program before coming to ECC. She is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education.

Beyond Feedback: Communicating Assessment Information with Families

Archived Webinar

Description: Assessment is a multifaceted, complex procedure. Writing meaningful, functional, and individual reports to share assessment information with families is an important skill. This presentation aims to provide guidelines for early intervention/early childhood special education practitioners to successfully communicate assessment results with families and writing collaborative assessment reports from a family-centered approach. We will use the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Recommended Practices on Assessment as our reference point (i.e., A2 & A11). Real-life vignettes will be shared to illustrate the communication between practitioners and family members who have young children with special needs. Moreover, examples of high-quality assessment reports from the Battelle Developmental Profile: II (Bliss, 2007) will be shared to highlight the importance of word use, language, and format. Practitioners will learn to utilize the “LAFF don’t Cry” strategy as a method for active listening, a key concept in collaborative assessment reporting (McNaughton, Hamlin, McCarthy, Head-Reeves, & Schreiner, 2008). 

Participant Outcomes: 

  1. Participants will understand the value of family-centered practices during the assessment process, with a focus on providing verbal and written feedback.

  2. Participants will increase their knowledge of providing assessment feedback through a family-centered approach, including the use of the “LAFF don’t CRY” strategy.

  3. Participants will gain knowledge about follow-up activities to assessments that are framed in a family-centered approach.


Facilitators: Kelly Brown, Stephanie Silva, Serra Acar, PhD


KELLY BROWN is a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is a Certified Early Intervention Specialist and has spent 10 years working in the field. Her research interests include collaborations between early intervention and the foster care system and trauma-informed practice in early childhood settings.

STEPHANIE SILVA is a doctoral student in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Stephanie is a Certified Early Intervention Specialist and Master’s Level Psychologist in Early Intervention. Her research includes personnel preparation and transitions into and out of early intervention.

SERRA ACAR, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has worked in the field for more than 10 years. Her research includes culturally and linguistically responsive assessment, executive function, and second language learners, and personnel preparation in early intervention/early childhood special education (EI/ECSE).


Focus Age Group: 0 - 3

Building Essential Toolkits for Novice Teachers

Archived Webinar

Description: Beginning teachers are often overwhelmed in the first few years as to what their classroom should have in order to provide essential teaching and implementation of the information learned in higher education. In this webinar, Dr. Reinking will outline a toolkit for first year teachers and/or veteran teachers entering an early childhood special education classroom for the first time. The “essential tool-kit” focuses on collaboration, assessment, and implementation of math, literacy, and science areas.

Participants will learn about essential items for beginning classrooms; gain knowledge on how to use a small toolkit of items for several instructional methods in the classroom; and report an understanding of how to use and gather a toolkit.

Presenters: Anni Reinking, EdD

ANNI REINKING, EdD, is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE). She has degrees in Psychology, Early Childhood Education, and Curriculum and Instruction. Dr. Reinking’s research interests include play-based and developmentally appropriate practice in birth-2nd grade classrooms, teacher preparation techniques, effective coaching and mentoring strategies, and multicultural education in early childhood classrooms

Collaborating with Interpreters in EI/ECSE

Archived Webinar

Early intervention/early childhood special education (EI/ECSE) professionals need strategies for working with interpreters in order to provide effective services to children and their families who are linguistically and culturally diverse. In this session, we will share guidelines and ideas to improve communication in EI/ECSE service delivery when the EI/ECSE team includes an interpreter. This session will help you to improve your knowledge and skills when working with interpreters in order to deliver high-quality and cost-effective services.


Participants in the Learning Deck will:

(1) Increase awareness and understanding of the roles and responsibility of interpreters and the EI/ECSE team when working with families who are linguistically and culturally diverse; and
(2) Identify strategies that EI/ECSE professionals can implement in their programs to effectively collaborate with interpreters.

Presenters: Patricia M. Blasco, PhD, Serra Acar, PhD

SERRA ACAR, PhD, received her PhD in the Early Intervention Program from the University of Oregon. Dr. Acar is working as project coordinator at The Research Institute (TRI) at Western Oregon University and an adjunct faculty at Portland State University. Dr. Acar’s primary areas of expertise include family-centered practices, culturally and linguistically responsive assessment approaches, and personnel preparation in early EI/ECSE. She is from Istanbul with a multicultural family.


PATRICIA M. BLASCO, PhD, Dr. Blasco is a project director at TRI and an Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). She has extensive experience in collaborating with interpreters and families and their children who are linguistically and culturally diverse. She has worked collaboratively with EI/ECSE teams as a supervisor of EI/ECSE and ECE students and as a researcher.

Collaboratively Supporting Social Emotional and Mental Health

Archived Webinar

Description: Early childhood mental health and social emotional development are such important parts of overall child health. Even with recognition of this, we don't yet have a system that truly supports these factors in young children. This session will help put the puzzle pieces together of how leadership, practitioners, and families support the social emotional development of young children and make sure their mental health is prioritized. This session is geared towards decision-makers and leaders of early childhood initiatives, who can then provide guidance to programs and practices on best practices in early childhood mental health.

Participants will receive a framework for best practices in early childhood mental health, including ideas such as how social emotional screening as well
as maternal depression and anxiety can be addressed in well-child visits; policies and practices to support early childhood mental health consultation in early learning environments; and integrated care strategies.

Presenters: Sarah Davidon, PhD

SARAH DAVIDON, PhD, has led policy and systems-building initiatives related to early childhood, mental health, disabilities, and coordination of human services systems and practices, and has provided guidance and direction for 20 years in Colorado’s development of an early childhood system-of-care that intentionally includes social emotional, and mental health.

Creating Accepting Classroom Communities: How Are Positive Attitudes Formed

Archived Webinar

Description: As classes become more diverse, negative attitudes towards those who are different persist, and bullying behaviors are on the rise. Self-reflection activities that teachers can use to understand how attitudes are formed will be
shared, along with research-based strategies from the Making Friends Program. Together, these foster a sense of belonging for all children.

Presenters: Michaelene M. Ostrosky, PhD, Paddy C. Favazza, EdD

MICHAELENE M. OSTROSKY, PhD, is a Professor of Special Education and the
Head of the Special Education Department in the College of Education, University
of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

PADDY C. FAVAZZA, EdD, is a Professor of Early Childhood Special Education
and a Center for Social Development and Education Senior Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Culturally Responsive Behavioral Supports for Children With Challenging Behaviors and Their Families

Archived Webinar

Description: Presenters will describe issues and challenges for supporting
preschool children with challenging behaviors and their families and provide recommendations for using
culturally responsive, evidence-based strategies when conducting functional behavior assessments,
creating behavior support plans, and supporting parent implementation of the plan.

Presenters: Rashida Banerjee, PhD and Erin Barton, PhD

RASHIDA BANERJEE, PhD, is an associate professor and Special Education: Early Childhood Program coordinator at the University of Northern Colorado’s School of Special Education. Dr. Banerjee’s research areas and interests are culturally responsive practices for young children and their families who are from diverse backgrounds, effective assessment of young children, teacher preparation, and effective community, family, and professional partnerships. She serves on the DEC Executive Board and the DEC Recommended Practices Commission. She is an associate editor for Young Exceptional Children.

ERIN BARTON, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education. She teaches courses on single-case research design, early childhood assessment, and social and behavioral interventions. She focuses on identifying evidence-based behavioral interventions that teachers and parents can implement in natural settings. Her intervention research is largely focused on socially valid and effective practices for increasing pretend play skills in young children with disabilities.

Deconstructing Decision-Making with Families to Foster Meaningful Partnerships
Archived Webinar

Description: DEC (2014) recommends early educators collaborate with families in decision-making that incorporates family knowledge, concerns, and priorities (F3, F4, TC2). How early educators facilitate dialogue with families plays a key role in the extent to which families participate in decisions about their child. Understanding how conversations unfold is important to promoting equitable interactions with all families, and particularly families from culturally, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse backgrounds. Yet nuances of language use are difficult for speakers to recognize in the moment, and educators are likely to need supports to recognize specific ways in which they use language.

In alignment with DEC Recommended Practices (2014) and the DEC Family Monograph (2017), this Learning Deck deconstructs decision-making, illustrating how decisions are made through language with examples from real-life interactions between early educators and families. Participants will learn to identify and interpret key aspects of decision-making, focusing on implications for parents’ participation in decisions. The session highlights research-based communication strategies that contribute to more equitable parent participation in decision-making conversations. In doing so, this session supports participants’ understanding of how early educators engage in responsive interactions with families (TC2, F3) that foster shared decisions regarding a child’s goals or individualized plans (F4).


Participant Outcomes: 

  • Participants will understand ways in which discourse contributes to decision-making by families and early educators in EI/ECSE settings.

  • Participants will be able to identify key features of EI/ECSE decision-making interactions with families.

  • Participants will learn a range of communication strategies early educators can apply to foster more equitable parent participation in EI/ECSE decision-making.

Presenters: Christine Hancock, PhD, Greg Cheatham, PhD

CHRISTINE HANCOCK, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Special Education at Wayne State University.  Her scholarship focuses on how early educators and families of young children communicate and collaborate.  She aims to support professionals in facilitating more equitable interactions with all families, resulting in meaningful and mutual decisions.  

GREG CHEATHAM, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Special Education at the University of Kansas.  His scholarship focuses on the provision of effective, appropriate, and equitable services for young children and families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. He has a particular interest in language diversity.

Deliver Effective Professional Development and Support Inclusion: 3 Tips for Blending Practices

Archived Webinar

Description: As a teacher educator, supervisor, consultant, trainer, or coach, have you struggled with delivering professional development (PD) that results in actual change in practice? Do providers in your area struggle with meeting the needs of children with diverse abilities? If yes, then join us for a webinar designed specifically for PD providers to support blended practices. Like you, we have struggled to support adult learners, and recognize that to get to change, we need to utilize strategies that help shift mindsets. We have carefully designed a webinar where information on the elements that underlie blended practices will be described, while simultaneously demonstrating 3 effective PD strategies to support early educators to implement key practices. All participants will also receive training materials for future use when delivering lectures, workshops, and/or conducting coaching sessions on blended practices.

Presenters: Kristie Pretti-Frontczak, Ph.D., Jennifer Grisham-Brown, Ed.D., and Songtian (Tim) Zeng, M.S.E

KRISTIE PRETTI-FRONTCZAK, Ph.D., is the owner of B2K Solutions, Ltd, a company dedicated to transforming services for children from birth to kindergarten. Dr. Pretti-Frontczak spent 16 years in higher education as faculty at Kent State University and served as an applied researcher, trainer, and mentor. Dr. Pretti-Frontczak areas of expertise include authentic assessment practices, blended approaches, and the curriculum framework, a tiered instructional model.

JENNIFER GRISHAM-BROWN is a Professor in the Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education program and faculty director of the Early Childhood Laboratory School at the University of Kentucky. Dr. Grisham-Brown is co-author of two books on blended programs in early childhood education. Her research interests include authentic assessment, tiered instruction, and inclusion of children with significant disabilities. Dr. Grisham-Brown is the founder of a children’s home and preschool program in Guatemala City called Hope for Tomorrow.

SONGTIAN (TIM) ZENG is a doctoral student, research assistant, and field supervisor at the University of Washington. His research interests include blended practices and effective instruction strategies for children with and without disabilities, effective use of online technologies for teacher preparation, professional development and parent support.

Designing Inclusive Environments that Promote Physical Activity

Archived Webinar

Description: Childhood obesity is a national concern. While recent reports show that rates have begun to decline for preschool age children, special educators need to be particularly attentive to this issue. Data indicates much higher rates of overweight and obesity for children with disabilities, especially those with autism. Early childhood and early childhood special education practitioners report difficulty meeting national recommendations for physical activity and for including children with and at risk for disabilities.

Participants in the Learning Deck will: (1) Learn to use utilize universal design for learning (UDL) principles to design high-quality environments that promote physical activity for all young learners (Recommended Practices E2, E6); (2) Use an established rubric to reflect on instructional and physical aspects of the learning environment; (3) Identify strategies to set the stage for physical activity and to lead structured activities

Presenters: Karin H. Spencer, EdD, Lorelei E. Pisha, EdD

KARIN H. SPENCER, EdD, is a parent educator and professional learning consultant. She also serves as adjunct faculty at the George Washington University and Shepherd University. Dr. Spencer has over 20 years of experience in the field of early childhood education as a practitioner, program administrator, and teacher educator. She has directed personnel preparation and training grants and a national training and technical assistance center. She has published and presented nationally on physical activity, resilience, inclusion, and culturally responsive practices.

LORELEI E. PISHA, EdD, is adjunct faculty at the George Washington University and Project Coordinator for an Office of Special Education Programs funded early childhood leadership personnel preparation and training grant at GWU. Dr. Pisha has extensive experience as an early interventionist, early childhood practitioner and teacher educator. She provides online professional development and coaching for early intervention systems and families through Early Intervention Partnerships. Her expertise includes language development, inclusion, culturally responsive practice, and physical activity play. She has published and presented nationally on these topics.

Designing Read Alouds to Engage All Learners – Part 2 of Using Picture Books to Engage and Educate Children with Disabilities

Archived Webinar

Description: This is part two in a three-part series on using picture books to engage all children. Part two of this series specifically focuses on how to plan for an engaging read aloud using Stanley Greenspan’s Functional Emotional Developmental Capacities (FECDs) and each child’s sensory processing, oral language abilities, motor skills, an ability to attend. The session will
provide an overview of Greenspan’s FEDC’s stages 1 through 3, and how teachers and parents can use these stages to support students’ shared attention, regulation, engagement, and two-way purposeful, reciprocal communication. The session will recommend practices, adaptations, and specific picture books that correspond with each stage.

Participant Outcomes:
1. Participants will be able to recognize a child’s development along Greenspan’s Functional and Emotional Developmental Capacities 1-3.
2. Participants will understand how to adapt the read aloud experience to meet a child’s developmental needs.
3. Participant will identify the qualities of a picture book that lends itself to an engaging read aloud experience.
4. Participants will gain ideas from one another about book titles that have been successful in their classrooms, and ways they have adapted the read aloud experience to meet the needs of their children.

Presenters: Ann-Bailey Lipsett

ANN-BAILEY LIPSETT is a special education consultant and DIR/Floortime therapist who works with families, schools, and libraries to increase children's engagement, learning, and inclusive opportunities. She has her master’s in special education from the University of Virginia and is a certified DIR/Floortime therapist through the International Council for Developmental Learning.

Developing Functional Assessment-Based Interventions in Early Childhood Settings: A Systematic Approach

Archived Webinar

Description: Functional assessment-based intervention has been identified as a best practice for addressing the challenging behavior of young children in preschool and childcare settings (Dunlap et al., 2006). In this session, we will share a number of easy to use tools that will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the assessment and development of a function-based intervention for young children. We will provide a step-by-step description for the assessment and intervention development process and teach participants how and when tools are most effectively used. Specific strategies and tools discussed during this DEC Learning Deck presentation will address interviewing forms and techniques (including child interview strategies), developing a replacement behavior, assessing the classroom environment, using data to identify function, and procedures for linking assessment information to function-based intervention components.

Presenters: Brenna K. Wood, PhD, BCBA-D, Jolenea B. Ferro, PhD, BCBA-D

BRENNA K. WOOD, PhD, BCBA-D is an Associate Professor in the Department of Education and Human Services at Lehigh University. She has a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Arizona and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst - Doctoral. A driving force for Dr. Wood’s research in the areas of social emotional competence and interventions for decreasing the challenging behavior of young children is the concern for the number of young children suspended and/or expelled from their early childhood programs. Her research focuses on the implementation of positive behavior support strategies to decrease challenging behavior and increase the pro-social behavior of young children. In addition, her research includes strategies to support early childhood practitioner involvement in behavior intervention plan development and to provide training in the use of positive behavior supports in early childhood classrooms.


JOLENEA B. FERRO, PhD, BCBA – D, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies and the Training Director for the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities at the University of South Florida Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. She has a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Florida and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral. Her research and practice are focused on developing interventions and supports for learners with severe behavior problems and applications of both targeted and individualized behavioral support for young children. She has trained and coached early childhood professionals in community settings, Head Start, and school-based programs. In addition, she guides and coaches preservice teachers in the implementation of evidence-based practices and individualized interventions.

Dual Language Learnings and Executive Function

Archived Webinar

Description: The population of young dual language learners (DLLs) with disabilities in the United States continues to increase (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015). Researchers who have studied both executive function (EF) and DLL have found that linguistically responsive practices can be a strength to build EF skills in young children who are DLLs. Specifically, inhibition, working memory, and shift components are utilized more frequently in children who are DLLs (Bialystok & Martin, 2004; Carlson & Meltzoff, 2008; Gathercole, et al., 2014). Despite the robust research documenting the benefits of early bilingualism/second language acquisition, most DLLs do not receive linguistically responsive instruction that incorporate EF skills as a learning tool for these children.


This Learning Deck will share information from the latest research on EF skills and all young children, describe linguistically responsive practices to scaffold EF skills in children with disabilities, and will conclude with implications for practice to the field. Participants will be provided a list of linguistically responsive EF activities for young children, ages birth to five. Participants will increase knowledge about supporting EF skills of young children who are DLLs and gain knowledge about linguistically responsive practices to support these children.

Presenters: Serra Acar, PhD, Patricia M Blasco, PhD

SERRA ACAR, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has worked in the field for more than 10 years. Her research includes culturally and linguistically responsive assessment, executive function and bilingual/dual language learners, and personnel preparation in early intervention/early childhood special education (EI/ECSE).

PATRICIA M BLASCO, PhD, The Research Institute at Western Oregon University (WOU) and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), directs Project EF: Executive Function in Infants and Toddlers Born Low Birth Weight (LBW) and Preterm, funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and the Ford Foundation. Her research focuses on neurodevelopmental disabilities and supportive interventions for young children and their families.

Early Mobility Enhances Participation 
Archived Webinar

Description: Children with mobility impairments may miss out on opportunities to participate in family routines. This session will explore evidence-based, child directed, and family delivered strategies for interventionist to coach which improve participation by enhancing early mobility. 


Participant Outcomes: 

  • Participants will describe three ways in which early mobility enhances social, emotional, language and learning experiences.

  • Participants will describe three evidence based ways to enhance early mobility.

  • Participants will be able to coach families in developing strategies to enhance mobility. 

Presenters: Ginny Paleg, PT, DScPT, Tricia Catalino, PT, DSc


GINNY PALEG, PT, DScPT is a pediatric physical therapist from Silver Spring, Maryland, USA.  For the past 16 years, she has worked for Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers Program.  Ginny earned her Masters Degree in Physical Therapy at Emory University and her DScPT at the University of Maryland Baltimore.    Ginny specializes in postural and mobility assessment and interventions for children with severe mobility impairments.  She is certified in General Movement Assessment and the Hammersmith Infant Neurological Exam (HINE).  Her most recent publications are on PT and OT  interventions for children with hypotonia, and a care path for infants and toddlers with hypotonia.

TRICIA CATALINO, PT, DSc is Program Director and Associate Professor of Hawai'i Pacific University, Doctor of Physical Therapy Program. During her 20 plus years of practice, Dr. Catalino has served children with disabilities and their families in the early intervention (EI) setting. She is a Board Certified Clinical Specialist in Pediatric Physical Therapy, Co-Chair of the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy (APPT) Annual Conference and the Chair of the APTA, APPT, EI Special Interest Group. Dr. Catalino is Chief Delegate of the Nevada Chapter of the APTA and is President of the Nevada Division for Early Childhood Subdivision. She is the physical therapy coordinator for Nevada LEND.

Enhancing Child and Family Outcomes through a Continuous Improvement Approach

Archived Webinar

Description:  “The DEC Recommended Practices support children’s access and participation in inclusive settings and natural environments and address cultural, linguistic, and ability diversity. They also identify key leadership responsibilities associated with the implementation of these practices.” – DEC Recommended Practices 2014 ​

Continuous improvement is a common aspiration of many educators. What’s less common is the lack of dedicated processes and protocols to ensure it is effectively practiced. An approach developed by Johns Hopkins University faculty provides a coherent way to engage stakeholder teams in continuous improvement. Regardless of which evidence-based practice leadership is considering, this approach will help leaders develop ongoing routines that: build high-performance teams, use processes and protocols that will drive changes to practice, and focus on implementation fidelity within a team-based continuous improvement cycle. In this webinar, participants will learn about the four high leverage drivers that distinguish the Dynamic Impact approach from traditional Plan Do Study Act (PDSA) cycles and will have an opportunity to reflect and compare Dynamic Impact with their own practices for continuous improvement. Approach increases a team’s capacity for high performance, focuses on the fidelity of implementation of evidence-based practices, and provides protocols and processes for planning, needs assessment and root cause analysis, strategy selection, and progress monitoring within a cycle of continuous
Participants will leave the webinar understanding how the Dynamic Impact approach increases a team’s capacity for high performance, focuses on the fidelity of implementation of evidence-based practices, and provides protocols and processes for planning, needs assessment and root cause analysis, strategy selection, and progress monitoring within a cycle of continuous improvement.

Presenters: Jennifer Dale, EdD, Cecilia Leger


JENNIFER DALE, EdD, is the Program Administrator for Johns Hopkins University Center for Technology in Education (JHU-CTE), leads research and evaluation projects related to general and special education across the Center. She provides technical assistance to state and local teams in the Dynamic Impact approach to support systems change.

CECILIA LEGER, is an Early Childhood Program Quality Specialist for Johns Hopkins University Center for Technology in Education (JHU-CTE), provides development and technical support for Maryland’s early intervention data systems. She helps to foster systemic change through the use of high-quality early childhood data to inform practice and policy.

Everyone on Board: Implementing the Pyramid Model Program-Wide

Archived Webinar

Description: Implementing the Pyramid Model program-wide involves several key components, such as obtaining staff buy-in, establishing a leadership team, and employing Pyramid Model practices to fidelity across classrooms. This learning deck will provide an overview of the steps to program-wide implementation and describe tools, resources, and examples of how it has worked in real world early childhood programs.

Presenters: Elizabeth Steed, PhD, Lise Fox PhD

ELIZABETH STEED, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the School of Education and Human Development at University of Colorado Denver. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Purdue University and was an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the ECSE program at Georgia State University. She has been the Principal Investigator on a number of research grants related to young children’s challenging behavior. She is also the first author of a published assessment tool used to measure critical features of program-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports in early childhood settings, the Preschool-wide Evaluation Tool (Steed, Pomerleau, & Horner, 2012).

LISE FOX, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies and the Director of the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities, the University of South Florida Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. She also serves as Division Director of The Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC). She has a PhD in early childhood special education from Florida State University (1989) and was a faculty member in the Department of Special Education of the University of Florida prior to her appointment at the University of South Florida. She is the principal investigator of the OSEP funded Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention for Young Children and a faculty member with the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning.

Family-Centered Practice in Early Intervention Context

Archived Webinar

Description: Research has documented the impact family-professional partnerships have on family and child outcomes. This learning deck will guide participants in understanding the benefits and barriers to family-professional partnerships in early intervention context.

Participants will learn effective and strength-based practices to collaborate with families to support young children. Applications of these practices will be demonstrated through scenarios. Specifically, participants for this learning deck will:
1. Understand the importance of collaborating with families
2. Reflect on best practices to support families from diverse background.
3. Learn key strategies to incorporate families as partners during home-visits/intervention sessions

Presenters: Angel Fettig, PhD

ANGEL FETTIG, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at University of Massachusetts, Boston’s College of Education and Human Development. Angel Fettig received her doctorate in special education with a concentration in early childhood from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in May 2008. Her dissertation examined the effects of function-based parent intervention in reducing children's challenging behaviors. She completed a post-doctoral research fellowship in 2012 at Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and worked as an investigator on the National Professional Development Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Feeding Challenges in Young Children: An Overview

Archived Webinar

Description: Many young children with disabilities and developmental delays experience feeding challenges. While their cause and treatment vary, there are a number of common approaches to assessment and intervention. This session will provide ways to collect information about feeding development and an overview of effective strategies and specialized interventions to facilitate feeding development. An emphasis on collaboration across professions will be shared. Resources will also be offered.

Presenters: Deborah A. Bruns

DEBORAH A. BRUNS, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Counseling, Quantitative Methods and Special Education at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Dr. Bruns teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in early childhood special education and working with families. She serves on Editorial Boards for the Journal of Early Intervention, Early Childhood Research & Practice and Young Exceptional Children. Dr. Bruns is the Principal Investigator of the Tracking Rare Incidence Syndromes (TRIS) project focusing on rare trisomy conditions. Dr. Bruns also conducts research, provides professional development and publishes on strategies and interventions to address feeding difficulties in young children.

Focusing on the Environment: How the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) Framework is Linked to Child Participation

Archived Webinar

Description: The International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) framework provides a means of examining a child’s ability to participate in daily routines and activities. A primary focus of the ICF is the environmental factor, which includes physical, social, and attitudinal environmental components. Specifically considering the environmental factors of the ICF affords practitioners with a framework for considering all possible facets of a child and his/her life that may be limiting full participation.

Participants in the Learning Deck will:
(1) Describe each component of the ICF with specific consideration of the physical, social, and attitudinal components of the environmental factor.
(2) Explore the environmental factors that can be facilitators and barriers to participation.
(3) Identify environmental modifications that can be used to facilitate child participation.

Presenters: Lynn Jeffries, PT, DPT, PhD, PCS, Alyssa LaForme Fiss, PT, PhD, PCS

LYNN JEFFRIES, PT, DPT, PhD, PCS is an Associate Professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. She is director of clinical education and has teaching, research and service responsibilities. She primarily teaches pediatric and professionalism topics. Dr. Jeffries participated as co-investigator on the multi-site PT COUNTS, Move & PLAY, and On Tracks studies. These studies focused on school-based physical therapy services and children with cerebral palsy. Dr. Jeffries has presented at state, national, and international conferences. Locally she held many positions with the state association and recently was the Chair of the Practice Committee of the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy.

ALYSSA LAFORME FISS, PT, PhD, PCS is an Associate Professor and Director, Physical Therapy Research at Mercer University, where she teaches courses in research, pediatric physical therapy, and pediatric service learning. Dr. Fiss served as a co-investigator in the Move & PLAY and On Track research studies which focus on children with cerebral palsy. Her other research interests include models of service delivery and effective interventions for children with disabilities. Dr. Fiss has presented at state, national, and international conferences. She is board certified as a Pediatric Clinical Specialist and continues to provide services for children with disabilities. She currently serves as the Chair of the Practice Committee for the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy.

Giving Our Quietest Children a Voice: Implementing the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology

Archived Webinar

Description: This webinar will provide information learned from an ongoing longitudinal, mixed-methods research study. The purpose of the research is to examine the impact of implementing the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT) with educational teams supporting six young children with various disabilities, all with varying degrees of Complex Communication Needs (CCN). The children range in age from three to six years old. The comprehensive team supporting the children include the Child Development Lab (CDL) Director, two university-based researchers, teachers, teacher assistants, a Speech and Language Pathologist and an Occupational Therapist from Oklahoma Able Tech, and our state Assistive Technology (AT) agency. Following the eight QIAT guidelines, multiple Recommended Practices from the DEC are being followed and implemented. Families are an integral part of the research process. Each child receives individualized interventions and are now using different AT communication devices. Results, challenges, and successes will be shared in the webinar.

1. Participants will develop a deeper understanding of the eight steps in the Quality Indicators for Assistive Technology (QIAT) and how they relate to the DEC Recommended Practices.
2. Participants will examine documents from the longitudinal, mixed-methods study and be able to relate and connect them to their own settings and needs.
3. Participants will be able to integrate the new knowledge gained regarding the implementation, successes, and challenges identified of the steps of the QIAT with six young children within the session.

Presenters: Gretchen Cole-Lade, PhD, Claudia Otto, PhD, Dianna Ross, MS

GRETCHEN COLE-LADE, PhD, is a retired special education teacher and an assistant professor teaching early childhood education pre-service teachers. She earned a BS in Special Education, an MEd in Early Childhood Education and a PhD in Professional Education Studies with an emphasis in Special Education.

CLAUDIA OTTO, PhD, was a special education teacher and is currently a Clinical Assistant Professor preparing K-12 pre-and in-service teachers to meet the diverse needs of students with disabilities. She earned a BS in Business Administration, an MS in Teaching, Learning, and Leadership, and a PhD in Professional Education Studies.

DIANNA ROSS, MS, is the director of the Child Development Lab at Oklahoma State University. She earned a BS Family Relations and Child Development and MS in Curriculum and Instruction. Her expertise is child development, and children with and without developmental delays and disabilities.

Grandparents Matter: Strategies for Involving Grandparents in ECSE Settings

Archived Webinar

Description: Grandparents play an important role in the lives of children with disabilities and their families. In this webinar, we will examine the roles grandparents play in supporting their grandchild with disability and the family, and the barriers they face in navigating care for their grandchild, their adult children, and themselves. Join us as Marci Nemhauser, a psychologist and a grandmother to a child with disability shares her unique perspective as a grandparent and a professional. Participants will learn about strategies for professionals and schools to engage different groups of grandparents, including grandparents from diverse backgrounds.

Presenters: Xueyan Yang, Marci Nemhauser, PsyD, PCC

XUEYAN YANG is a doctoral candidate in the Early Childhood Special Education program at the University of Washington. She has been involved in research projects in Singapore, her hometown, on early childhood intervention programs and facilitators and barriers to inclusion. More recently, her areas of interest focus on the supports and experiences of parents and grandparents of children with autism and other developmental disabilities.

MARCI NEMHAUSER, PsyD, PCC is a retired Clinical Psychologist and currently a Professional Certified Coach. Over her 30 plus years in clinical practice, she worked with many people and families. Once she became a grandparent, her focus turned to supporting her son and his family as they deal with their son's autism. It is a journey of love, patience, laughter, and learning.

HealthyInfants: Prevention-Promotion Supports for Vulnerable Families in Rural and Urban Communities

Archived Webinar

Description: Participants will be presented with the prominent features of the Healthy Infants model including the application of RTI for the infant and toddler population. A set of tools will illustrate the impact of using innovation and collaboration to ameliorate the effects of toxic stress and promote caregiver responsiveness and infant development in both urban and rural communities. We will provide recommendations for using strategies to support caregiver responsiveness and decrease the cumulative effects of adverse life events.

Presenters: Jennifer Tepe, PhD, Audra Redick, MEd, and Stephen Bagnato, EdD

AUDRA REDICK, MEd received her M. ED in Special Education at Waynesburg University, and her BS in Elementary Education from West Virginia University. She has worked in the early childhood field for the past 20 years. She currently works with Early Childhood Partnerships, Healthy CHILD and Healthy Infant projects within the Northern Panhandle Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Healthy CHILD and Healthy Infants are both RTI based approaches to social and emotional education for young children.

STEPHEN J. BAGNATO, EdD, NCSP is a Developmental School Psychologist and Professor of Psychology and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, Schools of Education (Applied Developmental Psychology) and Medicine (Pediatrics). He is director of the Division for Early Childhood Partnerships (www.earlychildhoodpartnerships.org) at the University (Office of Child Development), and affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC at the LEND Center at the University of Pittsburgh as a core interdisciplinary faculty member in leadership education for Maternal and Child Health Bureau fellows specializing in neurodevelopmental disabilities.

JENNIFER HARRIS TEPE, PhD received her PhD in Early Intervention at the University of Pittsburgh and her MEd in Special Education from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is currently the Project Manager for Healthy Infants at Early Childhood Partnerships at The University of Pittsburgh. Much of her experience is in home-based early intervention an urban setting. She is an adjunct instructor for the University of Pittsburgh CASE program with a focus on mentoring student teachers. Her focus continues to be on developing supportive interdisciplinary teams to increase developmental competencies and positive parent-child interactions through family-centered practice.

Home Visiting in Early Childhood Special Education: Effective Strategies and Practices

Archived Webinar

Description: Home visiting is a common service delivery model in early childhood special education, yet home visitors are often provided with little training and support to do this complex work. This webinar will cover best practices for home visitation with families of children with special needs, emphasizing the concept that “families own the agenda” for these visits. We will share strategies for effective home visits, data sheets, forms and ways practitioners can support families in embedding instruction within their ongoing routines.

Presenters: Ariane Gauvreau, PhD, BCBA-D, Tara Godinho, MEd, BCBA

ARIANE GAUVREAU, PhD, BCBA-D, is a teaching associate and lead fieldwork coach at the in the College of Education at University of Washington. Her research centers on effective practices for young children with disabilities, technology in early childhood, and parent support. She has worked at the Haring Center for many years as a Lead Teacher in Project DATA, where she home visited with many families with children with disabilities.

TARA GODINHO, MEd, BCBA is the Lead Behavioral Therapist for the Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention Day Treatment Program at Seattle Children’s Autism Center. Prior to her work at SCAC, Tara worked at the University of Washington’s Haring Center for several years in a variety of roles, including as a Lead Teacher in the Preschool and Infant Toddler Programs, and as the Toddler DATA Research Project Coordinator

Intentionally Using Environmental Practices to Support Child Access to Learning Opportunities

Archived Webinar

Description: Learn about a newly published comprehensive package of materials called PEAT's Suite that helps service providers, educators, families, and other stakeholders support the participation of young children with differing abilities in typical routines and activities. PEAT’s Suite makes the process of identifying physical environment feature and assistive tool solutions explicit and easy to undertake. Explore how anyone can use the materials to identify barriers to a child's full participation in everyday activities and to create a plan for fixing the problems — instead of fixing the child.

Participants will discuss the benefits of using these materials through one child's real-life story of preschool and transition to kindergarten. Participants will also learn about the principles behind this approach to individualizing plans that promote children's full participation in everyday routines and activities. These materials put a new twist on the approach used in the highly regarded and DEC distributed "CARA's Kit for Preschoolers" (Milbourne and Campbell, 2007).

Presenters: Suzanne Milbourne, Elizabeth Kennedy

SUZANNE A. MILBOURNE is the Director of a five-year, federally funded project focused on using assistive technology with young children. She is the co-author of the highly regarded CARA’s Kits (2007; 2012), and the TAM Technology Fan for Young Children (2006). Along with her co-presenter they field-tested a child- specific-AT-planner.

ELIZABETH KENNEDY is a speech language pathologist with a special interest in assistive technology. She is the AT coordinator for a large school district preschool program in Delaware. Along with Dr. Milbourne, Ms. Kennedy designed and leads the on-site activities to field-test a child-specific-AT-planner.

Just in Time: Providing “Real Time” Feedback to Teachers Around Individualized Behavior Support Strategies

Archived Webinar

Description: Challenging behavior can be frustrating and isolating for teachers. Coaches can play an important role in helping teachers design and implement individualized behavior support plans. Learn about a study that examined the use of Bluetooth technology to provide immediate feedback to professionals in real time as they provided behavior support strategies for young children. Coaches will share lessons they have learned and provide tips for providing efficient, respectful, and practical feedback in real time.

Presenters: Kathleen Artman Meeker, PhD, and Ashley Penney

KATHLEEN ARTMAN MEEKER, PhD, is an assistant professor of early childhood special education at the University of Washington. Kathleen has worked extensively with teachers around preventing challenging behavior and promoting young children’s social-emotional development. She is particularly interested in ways of designing efficient and effective professional development. Kathleen has been active in a number of educational roles throughout her career: childcare assistant, special educator, supervisor, coach, researcher, and faculty member. She has designed professional development materials for military childcare and collaborates with the Head Start National Center on Quality Teaching and Learning (NCQTL) to design and deliver professional development that supports coaches in Head Start classrooms. Kathleen is a co-author of the chapter “Helping Teachers Implement the Pyramid Model Using Practice-based Coaching” in YEC Monograph No. 15.

ASHLEY PENNEY is a doctoral student in special education at the University of Washington and a behavior and education consultant at the UW Autism Center. She is a certified special education teacher and earned her M.Ed. in special education at the University of Washington with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis in 2009. Upon completion of her degree, Ashley coordinated an intensive instruction program for preschool students with autism in a Pacific Northwest school district. She is also certified in reciprocal imitation training (RIT), a naturalistic behavioral intervention for young children with autism.

Making the Most of DEC Resources in Teacher Education

Archived Webinar

Description: DEC products can help you enhance your college courses, professional development events, or in-service trainings. Learn about the many valuable publications and products available through DEC. We will share successful strategies for combining low-cost or free resources like position statements, DEC Recommended Practices products, and archived Learning Decks into meaningful learning units. We will share syllabi, learning activities, and other recommendations for using DEC products in higher education, personnel preparation, or inservice professional development.

Presenters: Kathleen Artman Meeker, PhD, BCBA-D

KATHLEEN ARTMAN MEEKER, PhD, BCBA-D is an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington and the Director of Research at the UW Haring Center for Education and Training in Inclusive Education. She has worked as a childcare assistant, K-3 special education teacher, educational coach, and professional development provider. She earned her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University and has led state, local, and national trainings around preventing challenging behavior, promoting social-emotional competence in young children, and coaching early childhood educators. Kathleen is currently the chair of the DEC Publications and Products Committee and a co-author of the DEC Position Statement on Challenging Behavior in Young Children.

Managing Up: Using the DEC Recommended Practices for Leadership as a New or Beginning Practitioner

Archived Webinar

Description: New or beginning practitioners may struggle to understand how the DEC Recommended Practices for Leadership are not just meant for administrators and supervisors but connect to their work and professional growth as well. In this session, participants will learn the key principles of managing up to create an effective and productive relationship with program administrators or supervisors and how to create opportunities to use the Leadership Recommended Practices in their own work. The webinar will include an overview of the Leadership practices so that new practitioners start from a place of knowing what leaders are striving to do. Particular emphasis will be given to ways in which new practitioners can effectively communicate and advocate for the implementation of the Leadership practices in their programs. Topics of the session that will be connected to the practices include: developing positive working relationships; effective communication; identifying opportunities for growth; and providing constructive feedback. Participants will be given the opportunity to reflect on their own experience and will leave the session with at least two new strategies to utilize in their professional context.

Participants will:

  1. Know the content of the 14 DEC Recommended Practices for Leadership.

  2. Understand how the Leadership practices can be applied for a new or beginning practitioner.

  3. Understand the key principles of managing up and how they can be utilized to create leadership opportunities regardless of their role.

  4. Understand how they can support the implementation of the Leadership practices in their program or school.

Presenters: Kathi Gillaspy, Sarah Geldart, PhD, Corin Collier

KATHI GILLASPY has over 25 years of experience as an early intervention and early childhood special education provider, program administrator, and technical assistance provider. She currently serves as the Technical Assistance Program Director at AnLar, a small educational consulting firm based in the Metro DC area.


SARAH GELDART, PhD, is a Senior Technical Assistance Specialist and works on educational and policy programs for district, state, and national projects. She has developed and provided more than 50 trainings on early childhood special education. Sarah is particularly skilled in evaluation, professional development, facilitation, and training design and delivery.


CORIN COLLIER, is a Technical Assistance Program Analyst who supports statewide early childhood special education projects. She has experience designing high- quality professional development opportunities for families and educators incorporating the DEC recommended practices and effective leadership skills. She brings a keen eye to incorporating adult learning theory into training design.

Maximizing the Benefits of Shared Story Reading for Young Children with Autism and Developmental Disabilities

Archived Webinar

Description: Reading to young children is a developmentally appropriate practice common in many homes and early childhood classrooms. Shared reading is also an excellent context to teach important early literacy skills that can provide the foundation for reading success. Many children with autism and other developmental disabilities may require behavioral supports and reading modifications to encourage active participation in shared book reading. This webinar will cover practical, evidence-based strategies that caregivers, teachers, and other adults can immediately implement to increase the quantity and quality of shared reading experiences.

Presenters: Veronica Fleury, PhD, BCBA-D

VERONICA FLEURY, PhD, BCBA-D, is an assistant professor of special education and the autism licensure and degree program coordinator at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Fleury’s research focuses on intervention for young children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), with a particular emphasis on the identification and development of instructional strategies that are both effective and feasibly implemented by caregivers and teachers. She has worked on several federally funded projects focused on ASD and is a co-author on the evidence-based practice technical report published by the National Professional Development Center on ASD. Dr. Fleury is a former special education preschool teacher and has worked with children with ASD and their families for over 15 years.

Mindfulness in Early Childhood for Educators and Students

Archived Webinar

Description: Are you looking to be more present in your professional and personal life? The goal of this presentation is to equip educational staff with tools to better manage their own wellness and relationship to stress. Participants will learn techniques that will allow them to teach from a place of mindfulness. Attendees will take home strategies to support their students in building the resource of awareness and healthy habits of the brain and body. Mindfulness is not just a catchphrase; it is something that can be naturally embedded into daily life for people of all ages.

Participant Outcomes: This training will provide educators with - 
1) An introduction to Mindfulness.
2) An increased understanding of how the practice of Mindfulness can impact one’s personal and professional life.
3) Evidence based techniques for the young child.
Qualitative data on a pilot curriculum being implemented in St. Louis County.
4) Ways to infuse mindfulness throughout the early childhood day.
5) A plan on how to begin implementing mindfulness techniques in their classroom & in their personal lives.


Focus Age Group: 0 - 8

Presenter: Melanie Fitzgerald

MELANIE FITZGERALD has over 30 years of educational experience in a variety of settings. She has extensive experience in providing professional development for staff and parents. She educates students, staff, and guardians on the importance of developmentally appropriate practice in support of young children learning self-regulation and mental focus skills.

More than Just Manipulatives: Teaching Math in Preschool Classrooms

Archived Webinar

Description: It is important that children have high-quality, developmentally appropriate math experiences from an early age. In this learning deck, we will discuss how engaging learning activities can be developed and implemented in preschool classrooms to help children learn a variety of math skills, from counting to patterning and beyond! We also will discuss how intentional, systematic instruction can be used in the context of engaging activities to ensure student learning.

Presenters: Jessica Hardy

JESSICA HARDY, PhD is an assistant professor in early childhood special education at the University of Louisville. She was formerly a Head Start teacher and a preschool special education teacher in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Hardy’s research interests include evidence-based instructional practices, early childhood math instruction and learning, social-emotional instructional practices, and early childhood coaching. She has published articles and book chapters about blended practices in early math instruction, coaching teachers to use social-emotional teaching practices, and assessing early academic skills.

Music to Promote Engagement and Learning for Children with ASD: The What, Why and How

Archived Webinar

Description: Music is an important part of young children’s everyday routines within their home and school environments. Everyday engagement to music may include listening, singing, dancing, moving to different rhythms, and playing musical instruments. Active engagement to music holds the potential to promote cognitive, emotional, and social abilities of young children in an interactive and engaging context. This is especially important for young children with ASD, who may have challenges participating in-group activities and miss important learning opportunities. Music can be one inclusive strategy that holds the potential to promote all children’s engagement, including those with ASD, in a contextually meaningful and developmentally appropriate way.

Participants in the Learning Deck will: 1) Understand different musical characteristics as the active ingredients of teaching and learning. 2) Reflect on music strategies to enhance engagement and academic growth of all learners. 3) Learn music strategies to embed within their classroom routines.

Presenters: Potheini Vaiouli, PhD

POTHEINI VAIOULI, PhD, is a Lecturer at European University, Cyprus. Dr Vaiouli holds a background in music therapy and music in early childhood special education and has extensive experience working with young children with ASD and their families. Her primary research interest focus on the use of music as a tool for supporting young children at risk and their families. Specifically, she is interested in promoting music as an instructional tool in inclusive early childhood settings, the social and academic growth of young children with ASD, and family partnerships. She has published and presented her work nationally and internationally.

Ordinary People Design and Build Extraordinary Assistive Tools for Children with Disabilities

Archived Webinar

Description: Acquiring assistive tool (or technology) solutions is a process not an event. It starts with considering and trialing a variety of tools until the “fit” between the user and the solution seems to be successful. However, there are instances when: 1) the time between the identification of a solution and the delivery of the tool to an individual is extraordinarily long; 2) even simple tools can be costly and are often paid for by the consumer; and 3) the “just right fit” tool might not be commercially available. To address these issues one idea is the installation of a Maker Movement that provides opportunity for ordinary people to design, create and build extraordinary assistive tools for individuals with disabilities. Real life examples from a local initiative called “fabricATe” will demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach that provides families and children with access to low- and light- assistive tool solutions. Access to the tools in turn promotes access to and participation in everyday routines and activities and finally and multiple opportunities for learning. This approach compliments the process described in the DEC distributed “CARA’s Kit for Preschoolers" (2007).

Participants will: 1. Gain knowledge about working with family and other adults to modify and adapt the physical environment to promote each child’s access to and participation in learning experiences. 2. Explore real-life stories about how a community-oriented maker movement is identifying and meeting children's needs for assistive technology. 3. Leave the session with a plan to create a low-tech assistive tool to promote a child's access to and participation in learning experiences. 

Presenters: Suzanne Milbourne

SUZANNE MILBOURNE, pediatric occupational therapist, is founding member of a DYI maker-initiative called fabricATe. Suzanne is the co-author of the highly regarded CARA’s Kits and the TAM Technology Fan for Young Children and of numerous articles and presentations on assistive technology in early childhood associated with DEC.

Outdoor Behavior of Young Children With and Without Disabilities in Early Childhood Environments

Archived Webinar

Description: Individuals with disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders and Down syndrome, may engage in less moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) than their peers without disabilities. In addition, delays in peer-related social behaviors, such as sharing and engaging in conversations, may further limit engagement opportunities for these children as they play on playgrounds or engage in outdoor activities. This webinar will provide an overview of physical activity and social behaviors of young children with and without disabilities in childcare and preschool settings, will review research-based procedures for increasing MVPA and prosocial behaviors, and will provide suggestions for practitioners for improving these behaviors in typical settings.

Presenters: Jennifer R. Ledford, PhD

JENNIFER R. LEDFORD, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University and is a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA-D). Her interests include improving prosocial, academic, and physical activity behaviors of young children with disabilities in inclusive school-based settings.

Play to Teach: Promoting Language Through Play in the Classroom

Archived Webinar

Description: This webinar will provide early childhood personnel with evidence-based strategies for facilitating language among young children with developmental disabilities (DD) during play-based activities in early childhood settings. These strategies include: (1) Following the child’s lead; (2) noticing and responding to all types of communication; (3) contingent imitation; (4) modeling and expanding language according to each child’s skill level; (5) environmental arrangement; and (6) prompting procedures. Participants will learn practical strategies for (1) naturalistic assessment of language skills; (2) selecting individualized language goals; and (3) embedding naturalistic language instruction into play-based activities with multiple children at a time with varying language skills. Video models on the use of naturalistic teaching strategies during play will be provided to facilitate learning. Participants will also be provided with access to printable materials to use in their classroom to aide with assessment and embedded instruction.

Participants will understand how to implement naturalistic teaching strategies to promote language with multiple children with varying levels of language skills during play-based activities; understand how to conduct naturalistic assessment of individual child language skills; understand how to select individualized language goals among children with varying levels of language skill.

Presenters: Rebecca Frantz

REBECCA FRANTZ, PhD, is a postdoctoral fellow (Family IMPACT) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include supporting natural change agents, or individuals the child interacts with in their daily lives, to use evidence- based practices in real world settings to promote young children's social communication and decrease challenging behavior.

Possibilities & Obligations: Our Role in Supporting Young Children with Disabilities Who Have Experienced Abuse

Archived Webinar

Description: Early Childhood (EC) and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) professionals support young children with disabilities who have experienced maltreatment every day. However, many EC/ECSE professionals have reported feelings of uncertainty and confusion regarding supporting children who have been maltreated.

Participants in this Learning Deck will explore:
(1) the connection between disability and maltreatment in the early childhood years;
(2) how early maltreatment can impact engagement, readiness, achievement;
(3) DEC’s position statement on Child Maltreatment

Presenters: Dr. Catherine Corr, Dr. Carlomagno Panlilio

CATHERINE CORR, Ph.D. is a Research Associate in the Department of Special
Education at Vanderbilt University.

CARLOMAGNO PANLILIO, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Education in the
Network on Child Protection and Well-being Faculty at Penn State University.

Preschool Inclusion: Challenges, Solutions, National Trends and Resources

Archived Webinar

Description: This webinar will present US data on the extent to which preschoolers with disabilities are receiving their special education and related services in regular early childhood settings alongside their typically developing peers. Common challenges to preschool inclusion will be described as well as solutions to those challenges. Participants will hear about national trends and resources and will have opportunities to ask questions.

Presenters: Barbara J. Smith, Ph.D.

BARBARA J. SMITH, Ph.D. is a Research Professor at the School of Education and Human Development, University of Colorado Denver. Barbara’s areas of interest include policy and professional development in early childhood. She serves on the Leadership Team of the national Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center as well as co-directs an early childhood policy doctoral program. She worked with DEC, NAEYC and other organizations on guidance to support quality inclusive early childhood environments. She is co-author of The Preschool Inclusion Toolbox: How to Build and Lead a High-Quality Program. Dr. Smith was an early developer of the Pyramid Model leadership strategies and consults with the Pyramid Model Consortium.

Preschoolers, Private Parts and Playmates: When to Really Worry!

Archived Webinar

Description: Do you know when “playing doctor” and experimenting is normal for kids and when it’s not? The types of behaviors that are clear cause for concern? How to keep your vulnerable kids safer? When you know the different phases of child sexual development, common and uncommon behaviors, and how to effectively talk to kids who are behaving this way, the kids in your care are protected - and so are you. In this class you will learn – Childhood psychological and social sexual development and the common behaviors for each age group; a simple checklist you can use to quickly assess a child’s behavior; techniques and scripts for interacting with children engaging “playing doctor” and other behaviors; and tips for keeping kids with disabilities safer from sexual abuse.

Presenters: Amy Lang, MA

AMY LANG, MA has a Master of Arts in Applied Behavioral Science and her focus was in adult education and group facilitation. Additionally, she has been a Sexuality Educator for over 20 years and has worked specifically teaching adults about childhood sexuality and how to talk to kids about sex for the past ten years. She’s presented at multiple ECE conferences including NAEYC, WA-AEYC, Infant And Early Childhood Conference and most recently as the keynote for the OR AEYC 2015 conference. She is also adjunct faculty at Saybrook University in the Psychology department and teaches their human sexuality classes. You can learn more about Amy and her work at www.birdsandbeesandkids.com

Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children: An Individualized Model of Positive Behavior Support for Early Childhood Settings

Archived Webinar

Description: Now you see challenging behavior, now you don’t! This webinar will focus on Prevent-Teach-Reinforce for Young Children, an individualized model of positive behavior support for young children in early childhood settings. Through the use of video footage from actual PTR-YC participants, presenters will demonstrate the PTR-YC process. By reviewing each step of the PTR-YC process, presenters will teach participants how they can use PTR-YC to prevent challenging behavior, teach proactive communication and social skills, and reinforce positive behavior

Presenters: Phil Strain, PhD, and Jaclyn Joseph, MSW, BCBA

PHIL STRAIN, PhD, has worked in the field of early intervention since 1974. He is the author of more than 300 scientific papers, and he serves on the editorial boards of more than a dozen professional journals. His primary research interests include intervention for young children with early onset conduct disorders; design and delivery of community-based, comprehensive early intervention for children with autism; and analysis of individual and systemic variables affecting the adoption and sustained use of evidence-based practices for children with severe behavior disorders. Phil recently served as faculty on two national training and technical assistance centers related to children’s social emotional development and challenging behavior, the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) and the Technical Assistance Center on Social Emotional Intervention (TACSEI), as well as other national
centers related to autism, social competence, and behavior.

JACKIE JOSEPH, MSW, BCBA, is a doctoral student at the University of Colorado, Denver, concentrating in early childhood education/early childhood special education and a research assistant for the PELE Center working on the randomized control trial of PTR-YC. Prior to her work and studies at UC Denver, Jackie was primarily involved with the provision of services for young children diagnosed with autism and in performing consultations with school districts regarding programming for young students with challenging behaviors. Jackie has also worked as a psychologist assistant performing psychological evaluations for children and adolescents with mental health and behavioral health needs and as an outpatient therapist supporting children and caregivers to improve parent-child relationships and reduce challenging behaviors in the home setting.

Promoting Appropriate Behavior Using Visual Supports

Archived Webinar

Description: Children who engage in challenging behavior associated with autism and related disabilities are at risk for social isolation, poor peer relationships, and exclusion from school and community settings. Visual supports are one practice frequently used to target this behavior. In this webinar, we will discuss ways teachers can use visual supports in early childhood inclusive settings to promote appropriate behaviors, provide examples, and share a framework for teaching, embedding, fading, and evaluating these interventions. By using visuals to teach functionally equivalent alternatives to challenging behavior, we can help children learn new skills and access inclusive settings.

Presenters: Ilene Schwartz, PhD and Ariane Gauvreau

ILENE SCHWARTZ, PhD is Professor of Education at the University of Washington. Her research interests are in the area of early childhood special education. Specifically, she is interested in understanding what instructional strategies and environmental arrangements are most effective in facilitating the learning of young children with autism and related disabilities. Dr. Schwartz is interested in developing, evaluating and disseminating school and community-based interventions for young children with autism. A main area of focus is on issues around sustainability and acceptability of these interventions. She is also interested in methods of staff training and coaching to ensure that teachers, behavior analysts, and related staff members are well prepared to provide effective, inclusive, educational programming to all students with autism and related disorders. Dr. Schwartz is the Director of the Haring Center - for more information: http://www.haringcenter.washington.edu/

ARIANE GAUVREAU is a doctoral student, instructor, and field supervisor at the University of Washington. Her research interests include sustainable interventions for young children with autism, effective use of mobile technologies in early childhood special education programs, family support, and pre-service teacher preparation.

Storybook Reading is Fun: Teaching Parents to Facilitate Social-Communication Skills for Their Children with Disabilities

Archived Webinar

Description: This session is intended for early intervention providers who partner with families to support the communication development of young children with disabilities. The objectives are to increase understanding of
1. The importance of involving caregivers in their children communication intervention program
2. The process of coaching caregivers of young children with disabilities
3. The use of shared book reading context to create communication teaching opportunities
4. The use of naturalistic strategies for enhancing communication of young children with disabilities

Presenters: Yusuf Akamoglu, PhD, Hedda Meadan, PhD, BCBA-D

HEDDA MEADAN, PhD, BCBA-D, is a Goldstick Family Scholar, University Scholar, and an associate professor at the Department of Special Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her areas of interest include collaborating with and coaching families, social-communication skills and challenging behavior of young children with disabilities, and intervention methods to enhance these areas of research.

YUSUF AKAMOGLU, PhD, is a Goldstick Family Fellow and a research scholar at the Department of Special Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research and scholarship area include (a) parent-implemented language and communication interventions with young children with autism spectrum disorder, (b) parent training and coaching to implement intervention strategies with high fidelity, and (c) supporting children’s language development, communication skills, and acquisition of early literacy skills.

Successfully Facilitating Development Through Daily Routines

Archived Webinar

Description: This presentation will focus on the four components EI providers need to successfully help parents and other caregivers facilitate infant and toddler development during daily routines: 1) knowledge about early intervention, 2) knowledge about typical development, 3) knowledge about families and their routines and 4) knowledge about teaching strategies and principles of learning. Practical information and strategies that Early Intervention providers can easily implement will be presented.

Presenters: Barbara Weber, MS, CCC-SLP, BCBA and Merle Crawford, OT & BCBA

BARBARA WEBER, MS, CCC-SLP, BCBA is a speech/language pathologist and a board certified behavior analyst. She is an Early Intervention provider. Barbara’s interests include children with autism and related development disabilities, developmental delays, motor speech disorders and building capacities of families to help the child.

MERLE CRAWFORD has a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education and Elementary Education and a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy. In addition, Merle has graduate certificates in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism. She has extensive training in relationship-based interventions and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Certified Infant Massage Instructor. Merle has worked in Early Intervention for over 25 years.

Supporting Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities in Child Care Settings: How Collaboration Supports Inclusion

Archived Webinar

Description: Infants and toddlers with disabilities are often enrolled in center or home-based childcare programs as their parents seek out employment, education, or respite. Therefore, IDEA Part C early intervention (EI) services are commonly delivered within these natural environments. However, meaningfully including very young children in childcare settings and effectively collaborating with childcare providers is challenging. Collaboration must be intentional and based respectful relationships among team members. In addition to reviewing the basic concepts of collaboration, this Learning Deck will provide strategies for EI providers, childcare providers, and family members to implement DEC Recommended Practices of Teaming and Collaboration, specifically TC 1-3, by discussing common barriers and potential solutions to supporting infants and toddlers with disabilities in childcare settings. Strategies and resources to accomplish each practice will include ideas for individuals, programs, and states.

Participants will gain an understanding of the concepts and key resources for collaboration for early childhood special education/early intervention. Participants will gain an understanding of common barriers to collaboration among family members, child care providers, and early intervention providers. Participants will gain an awareness of strategies, solutions, and resources to support and advocate for collaboration about family members, child care providers and early intervention providers.

Presenters: Jenna Weglarz-Ward, PhD

JENNA WEGLARZ-WARD, PhD, is an assistant professor of Early Childhood Special Education at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and is active in her state’s efforts to support early childhood inclusion. Her current research focuses on supporting young children with disabilities in community settings, professional collaboration, and family practice.

Supporting Young Children During Outdoor Play in Early Childhood and Early Intervention Settings 

Archived Recording


Description: The role of outdoor play in early childhood special education (ECSE) and early intervention (EI) settings provides children with opportunities for development in multiple areas, including physical activity, social interactions, behavior, and academic skills (Barros, Silver, & Stein, 2009; Jarret, 2002; Pellegrini & Bohn, 2005). For many typically developing children, outside time presents an opportunity for a break from the demands of the classroom. However, for children with or at risk for a delay or disability, outside time can be a difficult activity to navigate due to the unstructured nature in which it occurs. Because of this, children may show increased engagement in challenging behavior, as well as higher rates of self-stimulatory behavior. Meaningful, explicit instruction is needed to support children during outside play. Best practice outlined by the Division of Early Childhood Recommended Practices (DEC; 2014) identifies multiple topic areas aligned with meaningful instruction is implemented during naturalistic routines such as outdoor time, including environment, instruction, and interaction. This session will focus on providing teachers and other practitioners with low cost, low tech strategies and supports to increase positive outcomes attributed to outside time for children with or at risk for a delay or disability. 


Participant Outcomes: 

  • Participants will gain knowledge of the benefits of outside time in early childhood special education (ECSE) and early intervention (EI) settings. Participants will gain knowledge of the DEC Recommended Practices aligned with outside time in ECSE and EI settings.

  • Participants will gain an understanding of barriers affecting engagement in functional, appropriate behaviors for children with or at risk for a delay or disability during outside time.

  • Participants will learn instructional strategies to support engagement in meaningful play, social interactions, and engagement for children with, or at risk for a delay or disability during outside time.

Presenters: Katherine Bateman, PhD, BCBA-D


KATHERINE BATEMAN, PhD, BCBA-D, is a Postdoctoral Research Associate and Board Certified Behavior Analyst- Doctoral in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Katherine works on the Supporting Transformative Autism Research (STAR) initiative, conducting research geared at increasing quality of life for children and families affected by autism. 

Systematic Monitoring of Young Children's Social-Emotional Competence and Challenging Behaviors

Archived Webinar

Description: Systematic monitoring methods should be included in everyday early childhood classroom routines. Children’s social-emotional competencies are improved and challenging behaviors prevented when early educators regularly use these methods to make decisions. This webinar will focus on data-based decision making using various systematic monitoring methods, and presenters will demonstrate the process through guided data collection opportunities using video vignettes. Participants will understand how to easily use systematic monitoring methods in
their daily routines to make data-based decisions, teach social emotional competence, prevent
challenging behaviors, and design social-emotional interventions.

Presenters: Audra I. Classen and Gregory A. Cheatham

AUDRA I. CLASSEN, an Assistant Professor of special education at the University of Southern Mississippi, focuses on research to promote effective, meaningful, and data-based teaching practices. Specifically, practices that support young children’s social-emotional development (i.e., emotional literacy acquisition, curriculum and intervention development, assessment techniques) and incorporate the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework in teacher education programs. In addition, Dr. Classen is actively engaged in research to develop culturally responsive services for military families and their young children.

GREGORY A. CHEATHAM an Associate Professor of early childhood special education at University of Kansas, focuses on the provision of effective, appropriate, and equitable services for all children and families, particularly those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. He has been an associate editor for the journal Young Exceptional Children.

The Importance of Using Read Alouds with All Learners – Part 1 of Using Picture Books to Engage and Educate Children with Disabilities

Archived Webinar

Description: This is the first in a three-part webinar for teachers, parents, and practitioners in the field who are looking for ideas on how to put research into practice. The first session specifically addresses (1) current research on why it is critical for all children to be given access to read alouds (2) the most effective, research-based practices for engaging children in read alouds such as dialectic reading, wait time, and motivating prompts.

1. Participants will understand the benefits of including all students in read aloud opportunities and will be able to explain to parents and other professionals why children with disabilities should be included in whole group read alouds
2. Participants will apply an understanding of “serve and return” practices to creating engaging read alouds.
3. Participants will be able to identify the components of an effective read aloud and will be able to use dialectic reading strategies to increase engagement in students with diverse needs.

Presenters: Ann-Bailey Lipsett

ANN-BAILEY LIPSETT is a special education consultant and DIR/Floortime therapist who works with families, schools, and libraries to increase children's engagement, learning, and inclusive opportunities. She has her master’s in special education from the University of Virginia, and is a certified DIR/Floortime therapist through the International Council for Developmental Learning.

Tots on Tablets 

Archived Webinar 


Description: For the parent and practitioner who are learning alongside the tablet generation: how to best leverage this technology that is healthy, mindful, and fosters authentic engagement and skill building with young children and their families. Participants will appreciate the practical and mindful ideas and examples for tablet use for children 0-8, as supported by research and professional recommendation.


Participant Outcomes: 

  • Participants will identify 3 uses of tablet technology that can facilitate family and classroom engagement.

  • Participants will compare and contrast the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations of screen use across birth-2, 2-5, and 5+. 

  • Participants will identify 3 ways to adapt the tablet screen to make activities or assistive technology more accessible for children with disabilities.


Presenters: Jessica Conrad, M.A., CCC-SLP

JESSICA CONRAD, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist and specialist for the PATINS Project, providing support for Indiana public schools in assistive technology, accessible educational materials, and universal design for learning. Jessica is a specialist in the areas of Augmentative & Alternative Communication, Early Interventions, and Communication Disorders.

Understanding and Supporting Learners by Taking Action!

Archived Webinar

Description:  Teachers will learn how to use action research steps to identify children’s needs and/or the challenges they encounter in teaching children in preschool and early elementary school. The process of conducting action research will support the teachers in learning the different data recording systems(INS3), and interpreting data in order to improve the implementation of instructional practices and learning outcomes (INS6). The ultimate goal of learning the action research process is to support teachers in utilizing a clear methodology to identify their instructional needs, identify best instructional strategies, and implement them with fidelity to support the children’s learning of academic skills and other behaviors.

The gap between research and practice can be bridged by teaching and encouraging teachers to conduct action research in their educational settings. Teachers who are conducting action research take ownership of the identified problems, become experts in identifying proper solutions, and skillful in using data to explain the impact of evidence-based practices and interventions on children’s outcomes. The engagement in the action research process makes research relevant and meaningful for teachers because it addresses their own needs and encourages them to access research findings to learn about the latest and best practices (Mills, 2018).

Participants will describe the four steps of action research.
Participants will generate ideas for action research they can conduct at the classroom and/or school levels.

Presenters: Hasan Zaghlawan, PhD, Jennifer Ritchotte, PhD

HASAN ZAGHLAWAN, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Special Education in the School of Special Education at the University of Northern Colorado. He coordinates the MA ECSE program. His research interests focus on increasing children’s engagement in naturalistic environments, promoting early social and communication development, and managing challenging behaviors.

JENNIFER RITCHOTTE, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Gifted and Talented Education in the School of Special Education at the University of Northern Colorado. Her current research focuses on gifted underachievement, and developing effective practices for twice-exceptional learners.

Little Boy with Crayons
Using Art to Support Early Childhood Development, Communication, and Self-Expression 

Archived Webinar


Description: This presentation will cover basics of art-based intervention and how these therapeutic techniques are used to support development in young children. Case studies will be presented to illustrate the various techniques. Video will be also used to highlight both classroom and individual strategies when using this integrated approach.

This presentation will focus on how Creative Arts Therapy and play-based intervention can be utilized within the DEC Recommended Practices to support young children with learning or behavioral challenges.  We will demonstrate how to best meet the complex needs of our students, while demonstrating the best of both worlds in how we work together, determine programming, embed intervention in everyday routines (Recommended Practice E1) and assess children’s learning through art and play (Recommended Practice A3).  We hope to be able to share with others how we come to understand what collaboration of these two methods bring to the success of students and families (Recommended Practice L3). 

We will also review the results of a study by one of the presenters, which evaluated play-based creative arts therapy (CAT) programming for children with challenges (Recommended Practice L9).  The study found moderate evidence supporting the proposition that children who participated in a play-based creative arts therapies program experienced increased and improved social/emotional skills.  In addition, qualitative findings of themes in therapists’ notes of Regulation, Engagement, and Communication provided further support for the program’s fidelity and effectiveness. 

Participant Outcomes: 

  • Participants will identify at least 3 goals of using art with young children as both a creative process and a psychological process, to reduce anxiety and increase self-esteem. 

  • Participants will describe art- and play-based intervention components and how they support growth and development in young children.

  • Participants will describe at least 5 techniques to incorporate art– and play-based intervention in a one-to-one or individual session.

  • Participants will describe at least 5 techniques to incorporate art–and play-based intervention in a classroom group setting.

  • Participants will develop an individualized program for a student with challenges, using art– and play-based intervention.

Presenters: Michele C. Havens Ph.D., Faith Condon-Thayer LPC, LCAT, ATR-BC

MICHELE HAVENS, PhD, is currently an Educational Consultant to the Imagine Academy, a school for children with CHALLENGES, utilizing Play-based interventions and ABA. Dr. Havens is a retired Professor at Kean University in Union, NJ, and Montclair State University, in Montclair, NJ. She works as a private interventionist with children and adults with CHALLENGES and as an advocate with families.
FAITH CONDON, LPC, LCAT, ATR-BC is a Board Certified Art Therapist, as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Licensed Creative Arts Therapist (LCAT). She holds an MA in creative arts therapies from Pratt Institute, completing her doctoral studies at Lesley University. She is the Director of Mental Health at the Imagine Academy for Challenges in Brooklyn. She is the co-founder of SidekicksNYC in Brooklyn. She was previously the Director of Creative Arts Therapy Center and Overnight Camps for The Connecticut Institute for the Blind/Oak Hill.