Volume 10, Issue 5

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Related Articles  Inclusive Environments



In This Issue...
Parent Emotions and the Inclusive Environment      

As defined in the joint position statement issued by two major ECE professional organizations (NAEYC and DEC), the phrase early childhood inclusion "embodies the values, policies, and practices that support the right of every infant and young child and his or her family, regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of families, communities, and society." There was a time when it was customary for young children with disabilities and development delays to be separated or isolated from children with typical or "normal" development characteristics. That is no longer the case.  

  

As a result, ECE professionals are familiar with the concept of inclusion. For starters, licensed programs are required by law to have certain policies in place to accommodate families and children with special needs. But ECE professionals should know that inclusion policies benefit everyone by fostering a positive, supportive, diverse learning environment for children of all abilities. However, it is also a fact that accommodating the needs of all learners can be quite challenging and strenuous.  

 

Fortunately, you are not alone. There are many resources available, not just online and in professional journals but in the form of colleagues, physicians, therapists, and counselors who may be on hand to help meet a given child's needs.  

 

Do you notice a missing word in that last sentence? Read it again... 

Parents! Simply put, close communication and trust between caregivers and parents (or guardians) is the single best way to ensure that a child's needs are met; equally, lack of communication makes everyone's life more challenging.

 

Many parents are eager and willing to strike up that relationship, but what if they're not? What if parents seem hesitant to discuss their child's behavior or abilities? What if they express doubts or suspicions about your practices? What if they are unwilling to discuss or try a recommended strategy? What if they are in denial about the true depth of their child's disability?

 

All of these "what ifs" are actually normal, because parents are humans, and certain aspects of human nature sometimes present obstacles. In most cases, parents are aware that something is "different" about their child early on, so they are not shocked when a doctor finally makes a diagnosis. Furthermore, parents love their children unconditionally, regardless of ability. Nonetheless, it is not unusual for parents to feel shame, guilt, denial, resentment and all kinds of associated stress as a result of that diagnosis.  

 

Unless the child's disability is a result of past abuse, neglect, or negligence, no parent deserves to feel shame or guilt, but such feelings can impede a child's treatment. Likewise, those in denial or those determined to find someone or something else to blame for their child's diagnosis, will only delay the course of treatment. As someone who spends nearly as much time (if not more) with that child, it is important for the ECE professional to be open and welcoming from Day 1.  

 

When parents inform you of a child's diagnosis, do not apologize or appear mournful; don't say "I'm so sorry to hear that." Do not reply with a look of shock or anxiety; don't say, "Oh my, that's going to be a problem!" Replying with a smile or joke is not appropriate, either, and you don't want to just shrug it off with "Oh well, no big deal." Finally, do not suggest that you alone have a solution; don't say, "I will take care of everything." So how do you respond?

 

When in doubt, be professional. As a professional, your goal is to assure parents that their child's needs will be met. Look them in the eye and say, "Thank you for sharing this with me. Let's sit down as soon as possible and make a plan to ensure that your child's needs are met." With one little sentence, you welcome the parents and let them know that there is no reason to feel ashamed or guilty. You signal that you understand this will be a process, not a one-touch solution. Most importantly, you let them know they are not alone and neither are you: the "let's" before "make a plan" implies that you are in it together.  

 

A good next step, before you get into specifics about the child's condition or needs or anything else, is to go ahead and invite parents to share their emotions. "If you don't mind telling me, how did you feel when you learned about the diagnosis?" This is a somewhat personal question, but it is an important one, because the parents' response will tell you a lot about the NEXT steps you need to take in this relationship, which must grow and flourish for the sake of the child, the family, and the program as a whole. 

This Month's Trial Course: Inclusion and Children with Special Needs

CCEIoffers CCEI968: Inclusion and Children with Special Needs as an online no-cost trial child care training course to new CCEI users during the month of May.

 

This course provides participants with a greater understanding of the importance of including children with disabilities in the early childhood environment. Participants will identify several types of common potential developmental delays or other signs that may warrant professional referrals, and participants will examine basic strategies for adapting classrooms and learning centers in order to accommodate children with diverse needs.  

New Courses from CCEI Cover Afterschool Care Market

CCEI is proud to introduce five new school-age courses to the online child care training course catalog available for online enrollment now. 

 

The goal of these new courses is to provide a wide variety of information about school-age care. SCH100, SCH101, and SCH102 focus on the developmental stages and characteristics of children ages 5 to 14, as well as recommended strategies and practices for supporting children's developmental needs. In addition, courses focusing on successful homework support (SCH103) and successful transitions (SCH104) are also available for immediate online enrollment. 

Individual Professional Development Subscriptions for only $99 per year!  
CCEI offers over 100 IACET CEU-awarded online child care training courses that meet continuing education requirements. CCEI has professional development offerings in English and Spanish, and courses are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year from any computer with Internet access.      
Center-Based Subscriptions 
Center-Based Subscriptions are a great way for directors to manage and administer continuing education for staff members. CCEI's Center-Based Subscriptions, available for small and large centers, allow directors to provide training for as little as $20 per teacher for the entire year!
Online CDA Coursework
CCEI's Online CDA Certificate programs of study meet the clock-hour training requirement of The Council for Professional Recognition, which is needed in order to apply for the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. CCEI's CDA Certificate programs focus on the six CDA Competency Goals established by The Council and contain the required hours in each of the eight specified content areas.

Online Director Programs
CCEI offers several online programs for directors including the Online Director's Certificate and
Director's Certificate Renewal, Georgia Director's Certificate, Texas Director's Certificate and Texas Director's Certificate Renewal, and Florida Director's Certificate Renewal. These programs provide the professional development required for early childhood professionals seeking to further their skills and knowledge in the management of a child care center. Each student receives support from an Education Coach (EC) and CCEI's Customer Support Help Desk.

CCEI Early Childhood Credential 

The CCEI Early Childhood Credential (ECC) is designed to give a basic framework of early childhood theory and application through online content-based coursework, reading assignments, practical application exercises, essays, parent interviews, classroom observation and oral and written exams. The instructional units and the 180 hours of coursework cover major topics in early childhood education including the Principles of Child Growth and Development; Safe, Healthy Environments; Social and Emotional Development; Motor, Language, and Cognitive Development; Principles of Child Assessment; Program Management, Families, and Professionalism. The credential awards 18 IACET CEUs, and is recognized by NAEYC to meet a part of the Alternative Pathways for directors to achieve educational qualifications. The ECC is a clear pathway toward higher education and raising the knowledge and skills of the early education workforce. Holders of the CCEI Early Childhood Credential can be considered qualified for Head Start positions that require a minimum of a CDA or other certificate. Graduates of CCEI's Early Childhood Credential (ECC) will have met all training, portfolio, and observation requirements of the national CDA Credential and only need to complete the Council's exam at a PearsonVue testing center to finalize the CDA Credential application process.The ECC is an expanded program that incorporates the other CDA required elements such as the formal observation and portfolio creation.

 

CCEI coursework is eligible for college credit through articulation with one of CCEI's articulation partners, and has received college credit recommendations by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (National CCRS), which has more than 1,500 schools willing to consider college credit recommendations. Contact Admissions at 1.800.499.9907, or visit the ChildCare Education Institute website for more information or to enroll online.

  

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