Resources

  • Evidence-Based Practices - The resources provided here are supported by research and evidence. Topics include assessment, child development, curriculum & instruction, family involvement, inclusion, and transition.
  • Superintendent's memo - This page provides superintendent memos specific to Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Administrators and individuals responsible for administrative oversight of local ECSE programs.
  • State/Federal Organizations - This page provides national and state level initiatives and organizations relevant to early childhood special education.
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Showing Results 1 - 50 of 259
Description: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the U.S. Department of Education (ED) have partnered to announce the release of a joint Dear Colleague Letter encouraging state education and early childhood leaders to collaborate and leverage federal resources expanding access to preschool through a mixed delivery approach. The mixed delivery approach to preschool urges states and local communities to use resources to support...
Description: It is never too early to consider assistive technology supports and services. The following resources will assist you in exploring AT and AAC for young children. Check out these Professional Learning Possibilities on TTAC Online: AT/AAC to support language, play, literacy, and early math skills **TechKnowledgy 2016-17 Archived Webinar: Technology Use in Early Childhood Special Education: Teaching the Swipe Generation Adapted Books  Resource: How do I use Adapted books to promote...
Description: This customizable lesson plan template contains fields that can be used to intentionally plan for co-teaching arrangements and differentiation in a preschool classroom. Sections can be easily modified to fit your daily schedule. Other considerations related to total participation techniques, evidence-based practices, and positive behavior supports are also included within the template. Supplemental materials consist of a completed sample lesson plan and corresponding activity video....
Description: In response to feedback and collaboration with the field, as well as to legislation passed by the Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) has released the Video Guide to the Special Education Evaluation Process for Families as additional guidance to support accurate and consistent eligibility determinations and access to special education services across school divisions. These video modules will provide parents, families, and other stakeholders with a brief but...
Description: IDEA: Assistive Technology Devices and Services for Children With Disabilities Under the IDEA (Jan. 22, 2024) - The Office of Educational Technology and the Office of Special Education Programs are pleased to share the guidance in support of children with disabilities who need assistive technology (AT) devices and services for meaningful access and engagement in education. A Dear Colleague Letter (Jan. 22, 2024) on the provision of assistive technology devices and services for children with...
Description: Crosswalks cross-reference the functional skills assessed by various published instruments with the three child outcomes required by OSEP for Part C and Part B, Section 619 programs to assess the degree to which these instruments measure the required outcomes. Crosswalks were generated for instruments based on the frequency of informal requests from states.
Description: Local school divisions provide special education services for young children, ages two to five, who have developmental delays or disabilities. Depending on the learning needs of the child, these services may be provided in early childhood care and education (ECCE) settings such as Virginia Preschool Initiative, Head Start, Mixed Delivery, child care, and community-based preschool programs. When special education services are provided in ECCE settings, Itinerant Early Childhood Special Education...
Description: Local school divisions provide special education services for young children, ages two to five, who have developmental delays or disabilities. Depending on the learning needs of the child, these services may be provided in high-quality early childhood care and education (ECCE) settings such as Virginia Preschool Initiative, Head Start, Mixed Delivery, child care, and community-based preschool programs. When special education services are provided in ECCE settings, Itinerant Early Childhood...
Description: Guiding positive behavior is a learning process for young children as their brains are growing and developing the ability to regulate behavior, emotions and manage impulses. Creating safe, warm and supportive environments motivate children to learn and practice positive behaviors when adults are responsive and consistent. As a Specialist in Early Education with 6 years of experience as a CLASS coach, Michelle Galindo has supported many educators in classrooms with infants, toddlers and preschool...
Description: Children are supported to manage their behavior when they know what to expect, their needs are met, and they are valued for who they are. Adults can help by establishing consistent routines and clear expectations. When they are aware of children’s needs, adults can meet them where they are and provide support. Then children can develop the skills they need to be aware of and manage their behavior. When adults focus on the behaviors that help children to succeed, they are more likely to...
Description: Biden-Harris Administration Announces Updated Resource to Support the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs (11/2023) Recently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Education (the Departments) announced the release of an updated joint-policy statement on supporting the inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood programs. The HHS-ED Policy Statement on the Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood...
Description: Smooth transitions from Early Intervention (Part C) to Early Childhood Special Education (Part B) are very important for children and families and require collaboration between sending and receiving programs. The VDOE updated the Transition from Early Intervention to Early Childhood Special Education Q&A Document (August 2023) with the most recent guidance for programs supporting transitioning students. 
Description: The Virginia Family’s Guide to Special Education is a revision of the former A Parent’s Guide to Special Education that was originally published in 2010. This new state guide was developed by the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to help those involved in special education, whether as families, teachers or school administrators, advocates, or students. Meeting the needs of children with disabilities requires an understanding of rights and responsibilities which include the...
Description: Bus drivers and transportation staff work directly with students with autism and are responsible for their and others' safety during the routes. Drivers and assistants are the first faces students see in the morning and the last ones in the afternoon. They are critical liaisons between home and school and often have more interaction with parents than other school staff. Beyond simply driving, transportation staff are in charge of managing behavior, implementing accommodations, and collaborating...
Description: When children can fully access their learning environment, they participate and learn. Discover how disability services coordinators can help program staff think about ways to give children with disabilities or suspected delays access to a full range of learning experiences and activities. Explore how to support educators to recognize each child's level of participation. Learn how to set up the learning environment for full participation and when to modify activities and materials, including...
Description: Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a framework for increasing access to education environments and opportunities, including in infant and toddler settings. Learning environments, materials, and activities are planned ahead of time, with the aim of welcoming all learners. UDL supports all children, including infants and toddlers with disabilities, to help them engage more fully in learning. It doesn't take the place of individualized curriculum modifications necessary for particular...
Description: Effective Practice Guides: Social and Emotional Development (ECKLC) - Positive social and emotional development in the early years provides a critical foundation for lifelong development and learning. Social development refers to a child’s ability to create and sustain meaningful relationships with adults and other children. Emotional development is a child’s ability to express, recognize, and manage his or her emotions, as well as respond appropriately to others’ emotions....
Description: Video: Supporting Social and Emotional Learning for Children with Disabilities (ECLKC) - Developing social and emotional skills are important for all young children! Making and keeping friends, solving social problems, and paying attention to emotions are key skills for children to learn during their early years. After all, social and emotional development is the foundation for lifelong learning and development. Learning these critical skills is especially important for young children with...
Description: Curated in conjunction with Mary Anne Prater, the author or co-author of seven books and dozens of academic journal articles on teaching students with developmental difficulties as well as special and general education topics, this search tool contains information and synopses of children’s and young adult literature about or having to do with people with disabilities. This information includes the name of the author and illustrator, year of publication, publisher, appropriate grade...
Description: Engaging families of children with disabilities is essential to supporting children’s learning and development. It is rooted in foundational Head Start resources, including the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement (PFCE) Framework and Relationship-based Competencies to Support Family Engagement. Learning about the hopes and goals of families of children with disabilities is important. It is equally crucial to communicate to families in culturally and linguistically responsive and...
Description: Early Childhood Recommended Practice Modules are developed for early care and education, early intervention, and early childhood special education faculty and professional development providers to use within their coursework and trainings. These modules are designed to support the implementation of the Division of Early Childhood Recommended Practices. Specifically, there are modules to support the use of 7 of the DEC Recommended Practice topic areas. The modules support your learners in:...
Description: This module offers a general overview of the concepts that principals should consider when creating inclusive schools (est. completion time: 2 hours).
Description: Children with IEPs, Ages 2-5 In 2015, 12,111 children In 2016, 12,515 children In 2017, 13,035 children In 2018, 13,497 children In 2019, 13,799 children In 2020 (Covid-19), 11,021 children (2020 total decreased of 2,778, 20%) In 2021, 11,535 children (2021 total decrease of 2,264 from 2019, 16%)* *Prior years were increasing by 3% In 2022, 13,389 children (16% increase from 2021) Children with IEPs, by Age Ages 0-2: 917 children with IEPs Age 3: 4,598 children with IEPs Age 4: 6,409 children...
Description: As educators interact with children with disabilities, they connect in ways that cultivate emotionally supportive relationships, engage learners in ways that create a context for learning, and leverage instructional support tailored to the needs of each child in order to inspire learning. The resources on this page are designed to guide efforts to use CLASS to capture these interactions.
Description: Developed by the VDOE’s Training and Technical Assistance Centers (T/TACs), Improving Inclusive Practices & Outcomes for Preschoolers (IPOP) is a systems change approach to support school divisions in the development, expansion, and/or improvement of inclusive placement opportunities for preschoolers with Individual Education Programs (IEPs). IPOP is designed to help local school divisions meet federal and state mandates requiring young children with disabilities to be educated in the...
Description: Part 1: The Essential Messages of Trauma Responsive Practices (Recorded): What does it mean to be trauma-informed and trauma-responsive, and how do these concepts apply to children with special education needs? In this first session of a three-part webcast series, we will discuss the Essential Messages of a trauma-responsive practice as defined by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. As part of this series, you will develop a personal trauma-responsive action plan so you can identify how...
Description: While there is no universal panacea for preventing challenging behaviors, there are several broad-based early intervention strategies that researchers suggest to prevent challenging behaviors. These strategies include:(a) arranging of the classroom environment, (b) scheduling, and (c) implementing rules, rituals, and routines. This article provides a brief overview of each of these prevention strategies.
Description: Programs can support education staff and families by using the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) Pyramid Model as a framework for understanding children's behavior. Many strategies can support healthy social and emotional development and prevent or reduce behaviors that could negatively affect children's development and learning. Education managers, child development specialists, home-based supervisors, mental health consultants, and coaches can help...
Description: Why is DEC taking a stand? Challenging behavior often can interfere with the development of social-emotional competence. Conversely, children with low social-emotional competence may develop challenging behavior as a way to communicate their needs. Punitive practices don’t teach children needed social and communicative behaviors. Additionally, punitive practices, such as corporal punishment, suspension, and expulsion disproportionately affect young children of color. Professionals and...
Description: These Quality Improvement Modules, created by Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF), provide general information on including children with disabilities. Topics include: Building Cultural Competencies High Quality Interactions Including Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs Introduction to Intentional Teaching Play-Based Learning Environments Resources for Working with Families Supporting Kindergarten Transition
Description: Social communication is a core area of difficulty for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Children with ASD express fewer gestures to communicate and may be less engaged with others. This webcast will review early core challenges in social communication, including joint attention, among young children with ASD and describe different types of engagement states. As educators play a role in teaching gestures and joint attention, this webcast will also review how to support the development of...
Description: Children with IEPs, Ages 2-5 (5 year olds in Kindergarten Removed) In 2015, 12,111 children In 2016, 12,515 children In 2017, 13,035 children In 2018, 13,497 children In 2019, 13,799 children In 2020 (Covid-19), 11,021 children (2020 total decreased of 2, 778, 20%) In 2021, 11,535 children (2021 total decrease of 2,264 from 2019, 16%)* *Prior years were increasing by 3% Children with IEPs, by Age: Ages 0-2: 940 children with IEPs Age 3: 3,722 children with IEPs Age 4: 5,497 children with IEPs...
Description: The Virginia Kindergarten Readiness Program (VKRP) aims to build a more comprehensive understanding of school readiness. As an assessment system, VKRP adds measures of mathematics, self-regulation, and social skills in Pre-Kindergarten and Kindergarten to complement Virginia’s statewide assessment of literacy skills (Pre-K Language and Literacy Screener and PALS K-3). VKRP uses the Early Mathematics Assessment System (EMAS) to measure children’s mathematical thinking. The EMAS is a...
Description: IDEA Child Outcomes Highlights for FFY 2020 summarizes data that states report annually to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) on three child outcomes for IDEA Part C Early Intervention and Part B Preschool programs: social relationships, use of knowledge and skills, and taking action to meet needs. The ECTA and DaSy Centers produce this annual illustrates national child outcomes data for children exiting Part C and Part B preschool and national trends over time and provides a...
Description: The 2022 Virginia Assistive Technology, Tools, and Strategies (VATTS) Resources will guide the IEP team through the consideration and documentation process. These resources replace the previous versions of the AT Consideration and Resource Guide. VATTS: Consideration and Assessment Guidance Document (PDF) - Guidance for school divisions in the consideration and assessment of AT, including planning and implementing those services for students with disabilities. VATTS: Consideration...
Description: The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Head Start are releasing new documents to encourage collaboration between state educational agencies (SEAs), local educational agencies (LEAs), and Head Start programs to effectively meet the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirements. These documents make clear that SEAs, LEAs, and Head Start programs all have responsibilities for...
Description: Joint attention is a critical skill that develops early in life for typically developing children, however, those with ASD may struggle with this skill for many years.  VCU-ACE has developed a fact sheet on joint attention to help families and professionals support the development of this skill.
Description: This page supports high-quality Child Outcomes Summary (COS) ratings by helping teams connect their observations of children's functional skills and behaviors with the three child outcomes. Effectively aligning functional skills and outcomes will help Part C early intervention and Part B, Section 619 preschool special education program teams improve their outcome measurement. By making connections between provider and caregiver observations with the three child outcomes, it becomes increasingly...
Description: This practice guide, developed in conjunction with an expert panel, distills contemporary early childhood and preschool education research into seven easily comprehensible and practical recommendations. The guidance will help to prepare young children to benefit from the learning opportunities they will encounter in school.
Description: Preschool LRE Reference Points and Discussion Prompts is a summary of the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) provisions of the IDEA as it applies to preschool aged children with disabilities can be used as both a quick reference guide and training tool. Topics under the five sections outline reference points and discussion prompts. Reference points are drawn from several sources such as IDEA regulations and Federal Register comments. Discussion points are intended to help state and local teams...
Description: A Guide to Adaptations - Adaptations, such as those shared in this guide, can ensure that each and every child, including young children with disabilities, can fully participate and engage in STEM [and other] learning opportunities and experiences at home, in early childhood programs, and in the community.
Description: This guide highlights evidence-based practices to be used by adults or, in some instances by other children, to facilitate children’s participation in everyday routines, learning experiences, and activities. Each section (e.g., prompting, scaffolding, modeling, descriptive talking, wait time, and reinforcement) includes a description of the practice, examples of how it might be implemented, and links to additional information.
Description: Learning Paths are small collections of curated activities that focus on an early intervention topic. To learn about the topic, you will complete each activity on the path. Activities might include reading an article, taking an online module, watching a video, etc. Once you complete the learning path, you will take a final quiz to earn a certificate documenting the professional development hours earned. Autism Pathways Functional Assessment Pathways Transition from Early Intervention Pathways...
Description: This booklet defines Special Education Terms (Birth to 22) as well as General Disabilty Terms.
Description: When including children with disabilities in regular early childhood programs, it is important to carefully consider class size and the proportionate amount or limits to the number of students with IEPs. This resource outlines requirements and regulations that impact the number of students with IEPs placed in a classroom as well as offers guidance for best practice. This resource should be used  to plan and schedule for inclusive classes. This can include VPI, Head Start, Title 1,...
Description: Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) is excited to share a new tool that will help state, regional, and local partners better understand supply and demand of publicly-funded early childhood services in their local communities. The Early Childhood Access Calculator estimates the number of potentially eligible 3- and 4-year-olds in each city or county relative to available publicly-funded slots and enrollment. Please note that children in publicly-funded ECSE classrooms are included in data...
Description: The Making Sound Preschool LRE Decisions guidance document lists important actions in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) development process that should inform placement decisions for young children with disabilities. Organized by important actions within the IEP process. It includes reference to the corresponding IDEA rules and regulations to each action. A guiding principle is listed within each action, followed by additional guidance and resources. Most of the principles in this...
Description: The Early Childhood Virtual Town Hall held on April 19, featured State Superintendent Jillian Balow, Secretary of Education Aimee Guidera, Deputy Secretary of Education McKenzie Snow, and was moderated by Deputy Superintendent Jenna Conway.
Description: Radford University (RU) and the University of Lynchburg (UL) offer tuition support for teachers who are fulfilling requirements for their provisional Birth-5, Children with Disabilities license. This opportunity is funded through the Virginia Department of Education Early Childhood Special Education Consortium grant. Tuition support is available for students who are non-degree seeking (just taking courses to fulfil their license) or degree seeking (pursuing a Master’s degree). Support...
Description: The Ready B5 Recap newsletter will focus on how we work together to support all Virginia children- from birth to age five - to enter school ready. All programs that serve children from birth to age five including schools, Head Starts, child care centers, family day homes, preschools and faith-based programs, will be included. With this quarterly newsletter, we seek to: Appreciate – Ready B5 Recap highlights the incredible work happening in early childhood in Virginia. Build community...