Upon completion of the course students will be able to:
1. Explain current special education laws and their impact on early childhood practice.
2. Describe strategies that support the central role of families and their collaborative partnerships
with team members and community professionals.
3. Demonstrate knowledge of reflective practice, cultural responsiveness, confidentiality, and
professional practices when working with colleagues, children and families.
4. Practice various formal and informal observation and assessment procedures used to guide
identification and intervention decisions.
5. Identify curriculum, environment and natural learning opportunities to meet individualized
needs, outcomes, and goals of young children and families.
6. Design modifications and accommodations based on observation, evidence-based practices,
and legal requirements to support children's development.
I. Policies and Procedures for Early Intervention and Special Education
A. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
B. Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)/Individualized Education Program (IEP)
C. Response to intervention
D. Least Restrictive Environment
E. Family rights
F. Working with local public/private school systems
G. People first language
H. Advocacy and public policy
I. Community resources and agencies
II. Environments and Curriculum
A. Typical development: milestones and domains
1. Physical and motor development; sensory
2. Cognitive development, including communication and language development
3. Social-emotional development and self-help skills
B. Creating environments for a variety of developmental needs
1. Developmentally appropriate environments for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and early
2. Adaptations to accommodate children's physical needs and disabilities
3. Guidance, interactions and challenging behaviors
C. Planning curriculum for young children
1. Developmentally appropriate curriculum for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and early
2. Adaptations for a variety of physical and intellectual special needs
D. Inclusion and mainstreaming
1. Compliance with laws and regulations for including children with special needs in early
2. Council for Exceptional Children, Division for Early Childhood (DEC) recommended
3. Adaptations for children's full participation in early childhood curriculum, routines and
indoor and outdoor environments
4. Program policies and classroom practices to support inclusion
5. Waivers and exemptions for early childhood programs
E. Respecting family and cultural diversity in curriculum practices
III. Types of Early Childhood Programs and Services
A. Early Childhood Programs; Special Day Class
B. Other educational programs
C. Recreation programs
D. Parent support programs
E. Community resources
IV. Support Professionals and Organizations
A. Working collaboratively with special education professionals
1. Individual Education Plan (IEP) and Individual Family Support Plan (IFSP)
b. make up and function of IEP and/or IFSP team
c. collaborating with families
d. adaptation and modification of the environment and curriculum to support goals and
2. Careers in the field
a. paraprofessionals in preschools and public schools
b. professional positions in education and support services
3. Collaboration between parents and professionals to support children with special needs
a. building relationships with parents
b. collaborating with specialists
c. understanding adult learning styles
d. resolving conflicts
e. negotiating culture and values
B. Support services and organizations
1. School district early intervention services
2. Regional centers
3. Easter Seals
4. California Early Start
5. Accessing services for children
6. Jurisdiction and collaboration between service providers
7. Multidisciplinary teams
V. Observation and Documentation of Children's Learning
A. Observation strategies
B. Uses of observational data
1. Program planning
2. Early identification and screening
3. Documentation of children's learning
C. Tools for recording data
D. Other methods of data collection
E. The referral process
F. Implementing program plans
G. The importance of early identification and screening
H. Communicating data to inter-agency, multidisciplinary teams
Assignments may include the following:
1. Reading and discussion of assigned text and handouts; approximately 30 pages per week.
2. Written analysis of reading (study questions, article responses) approximately 5 papers (3-4
3. Practical projects, including adapting learning materials and environments to meet the needs
of children with various disabilities.
4. Observation and written analysis of a child with special needs or a program for children with
special needs using observational research technique and developmental terminology. 2-4
observations of approximately 2-5 pages.
5. Written goals and objectives for children with special needs in an early childhood program
(1 paper of 3-5 pages).
6. Exams (2-5), including quizzes and midterm.
7. Project: design an inclusive preschool program (written paper and presentation).
8. Group role play IEP/IFSP in groups.
9. Interview of parent of child with special needs and in-class presentation of findings.
10. Research paper on selected topics related to development of young children with special
needs (approximately 6 pages).
11. Portfolio of resources for young children with special needs.
Strategies for Including Children with Special Needs in Early Education Settings. 2nd ed. Cook, Ruth and Richardson-Gibbs, Anne and Nielsen, Lauria. Wadsworth Publishing. 2017
A Practical Guide to Early Childhood Inclusion: Effective Reflections. Gruenburg, Ann and Miller, Regina. Pearson. 2011 (classic)
Developmentally Appropriate Practices. Copple, Carol. NAEYC. 2010 (classic)
DEC Recommended Practices in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education. Sandall, Susan. Council for Exceptional Children. 2005 (classic)
Young Exceptional Children Monograph No. 02: Natural Environments and Inclusion. Sandall, S. and Ostrosky, M. Sopris West. 2001 (classic)