Decisions about instruction, the environment, and our interactions must be intentional and informed by our knowledge of individual children. As we gather information about children, we are compiling valuable data upon which we can make powerful decisions. Here are a few recommended practices related to assessment:

• Create a systematic practice of ongoing assessment and information gathering.
• Work with family members and other professionals to gather information about the child.
• Use a variety of methods to gather assessment data, including observations from multiple sources and across multiple environments (home, classroom, etc.).
• Assessments should be conducted in the child’s dominant language and be appropriate for the child current level of development.
• Assessments should measure development across all areas of development to gather a complete picture of the child’s development, their strengths, needs, preferences, and interests.
• Share information gathered during assessments on a regular basis, in an easily understandable manner.
• Assessment data is used to create goals, target behaviors, track progress, and inform instruction.

Once assessment data is collected, caregivers can make decisions about instruction. Here are a few recommended practices related to instruction, according to the DEC:

• Children’s strengths, preferences, and interests will be incorporated into learning opportunities to boost engagement.
• Collaborate with family members and other practitioners to identify target skills that help a child learn new skills and connect socially.
• Integrate skills instruction into routines and across multiple activities throughout the day.
• Plan and adapt activities based on individual physical, social, emotional, and cognitive needs of children to promote full participation in activities.
• Use systematic Instructional strategies, explicit feedback and consequences to promote learning and engagement.
• Identify functions of behavior in order to prevent and address challenging behaviors.
• Consider the frequency, duration, and pace of learning activities when creating instructional plans.
• Include language supports for individuals who are dual language learners or who need support in learning to communicate.
• Share strategies with other primary caregivers to promote interactions and reinforce learning across multiple environments.

Adapted from DEC Recommended Practices: 04/14/2014