Families & Communities (3 - 8 Years of Age):
Early Childhood Special Education Inclusion
In September, 2015, the U.S Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education developed a Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs. This policy noted that children with disabilities continue to have difficulties accessing high quality early childhood programs. Too often, preschool children with disabilities are only offered the option of participating in settings separate from their peers without disabilities in order to receive special education services.
This policy notes the Departments’ position that all young children with disabilities should have access to high quality early childhood programs with typically developing peers. Access, participation, and supports, using individualized evidence-based strategies can be successfully implemented in early childhood programs. Research should children with disabilities, even those with significant disabilities, can make progress in these natural settings.
This inclusion policy also provides the states with the steps to take to increase inclusion opportunities. An overview of this policy can be reviewed in the Inclusion Policy Executive Summary.
Delaware’s Early Childhood Inclusion Guide for Children ages birth to five is available to the public.
Key Characteristics of High Quality Inclusion
Early Childhood Inclusion Committee (ECIC)
The Early Childhood Inclusion Committee (ECIC), formerly EIEIO, is a subcommittee of the Delaware Early Childhood Council, devoted to quality inclusive early childhood programs and services.
This group of early childhood stakeholders meets on a monthly basis to carry out the recommendations of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education Policy statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs. The goals include:
- Collaborate across early childhood programs to support high quality inclusive early childhood opportunities
- Increase public awareness regarding inclusion
- Develop materials to educate and support early childhood inclusion
- Address funding and financial barriers to inclusion
- Share and disseminate recent research regarding inclusion
Meetings will be posted here.
Please join us in our important work to improve and increase high quality inclusion opportunities in Delaware. For additional information, contact Dr. Kimberly Brancato.
Itinerant teachers are early childhood special education teachers employed by school districts to provide services to children eligible for special education services, in the least restrictive environment, such as community programs, to meet their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) IEP goals. These settings include Head Start, childcare, Early Childhood Assistance Programs (ECAP), preschools, etc. Itinerant teachers provide direct services, consultation with families, teachers, directors and support staff, along with training. Please contact your school district to determine if itinerant services are available.
Itinerant teachers can participate in a statewide monthly Community of Practice meeting to receive training, discuss pertinent issues, and problem solve. Please email Lillian McCuen for further information regarding the Community of Practice meetings.