Early Intervention & Special Education

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Early intervention and special education programs provide supports and services to children with disabilities so they can develop, learn, and grow to reach their fullest potential. Early intervention focuses on family engagement and includes specialized services such as physical, occupational, or speech therapy for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities in their natural environments. Special education programs provide therapies and educational services to preschool and school-age children in the least restrictive environment. FPG's work in early intervention and special education is extensive and conducted at every level of the system (i.e., national, state, and local ). Our technical assistance projects include tools, resources, and processes to support system leaders in building the infrastructure necessary to facilitate practitioners’ use of evidence-based practices to improve outcomes for children with disabilities and their families. Projects also provide faculty and professional development providers with strategies for preparing the early childhood workforce to support the learning and development of young children with disabilities.

Featured FPG News Story

FPG researchers have recently launched the Child Find ACCESS project, a model demonstration to improve services and results for infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities. The project is designed to address ongoing challenges experienced by states in identifying infants and toddlers needing early intervention services, which has resulted in persistent racial inequities and disparities in identification rates.

Featured Publication

Children with disabilities tend to participate in fewer physical activities than typically developing children. During motor play, children with disabilities often depend on teachers to provide direct instruction and frequent opportunities to practice motor skills, to interact with their peers, and learn new skills. A recent study examined teachers' perceptions about structured motor programs, and factors that may influence their motivation to implement them.

Featured Person

Hsiu-Wen Yang, PhD, is a technical assistance specialist and research investigator working with both the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education Center and the North Carolina Early Learning Network to develop infrastructure to provide evidence-based support and technical assistance to families, practitioners, local education agencies, and school leaders. Recently, she was elected treasurer to the Division for Early Childhood Executive Board.

Current Projects

This project will support the Foundation in gathering and analyzing implementation and outcomes data for students with disabilities (SWD) served by charter management organization (CMO) grantees and their schools. NIRN will provide input on measures and tools used to gauge measurement and reporting capacity of CMOs and their schools; help design, develop, and deliver technical assistance and associated materials and events to support CMO capacity to provide data; and help design implementation and outcomes studies.
The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy Center) provides national leadership and technical assistance to states to support early intervention and early childhood special education state programs in the development or enhancement of coordinated early childhood longitudinal data systems.
UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute will support implementation of the Center’s effort to provide technical assistance in the role of state liaison and/or content specialist to state Part C early intervention lead agencies (LAs) to help them meet their federal obligation to collect and report special education fiscal data as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). FPG will support the Center in continuing to meet the needs of states and entities by using content expertise to engage in collaborative activities designed to improve the knowledge of LA staff and increase state capacity to implement the underlying fiscal requirements as well as the calculations necessary to submit, as part of the annual state application, valid and reliable data on the use of Part C funds and restricted indirect cost rate/cost allocation plan.
This model demonstration seeks to increase family uptake of developmental screenings and service enrollment of traditionally underserved populations by centering family and cultural voice throughout the implementation process.
The purpose of this project is to support the use of implementation science methods and practices within the technical assistance services provided by the Comprehensive Center Region 7. The NIRN team will support capacity building efforts of the TA providers and the state education agencies being served by the comprehensive center as well as the implementation of cross-state initiatives.
The Early Childhood TA Center (ECTA) is funded to support state Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education programs in developing high-quality early intervention and preschool special education service systems, increasing local implementation of evidence-based practices, and enhancing outcomes for young children with disabilities and their families.
This study will iteratively develop and test an adapted professional development model to be used with the Advancing Social-communication And Play intervention.
The National Clearinghouse on Autism Evidence and Practice (NCAEP) is conducting a systematic review of the current intervention literature targeting individuals on the autism spectrum. NCAEP is a continuation of the evidence review that was completed by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The overall goal of this project is to improve services, program management, and child outcomes for preschool children in the Exceptional Children Program in all Local Education Agencies across North Carolina through the development of a statewide system of professional development and support. Activities provide support for local coordinators and staff who serve preschool exceptional children through training, technical assistance, follow up, networking, and opportunities for collaboration.
The Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PATTN) EITA is seeking support for the capacity development of their systemic support staff in best practices of implementation science to support implementation of evidence-based practices with their participating early childhood providers. To support development of internal implementation capacity, the National Implementation Research Network proposes providing virtual training, coaching, and consultation supports.
Effective implementation capacity is essential to improving education. The SISEP Center supports education systems in creating implementation capacity for evidence‐based practices benefiting students with disabilities. Project funding is by the Office of Special Education Programs.
This project's purpose is to develop and enhance the knowledge on the practices and supports necessary to improve access and participation within STEM learning opportunities for young children with disabilities.
Early childhood educators (ECE) work with young children with disabilities as well as children from diverse backgrounds to support learning and development. It is critical for ECEs to be adequately prepared to serve children who are linguistically, culturally, and ability-diverse. The purpose of this project is to work with early childhood community college programs in North Carolina to enhance and redesign courses to better prepare ECEs to work with children with disabilities and children from diverse backgrounds.
The ECTA Center will assist the CDC's EHDI team with (1) identifying some best practices/models with Part C programs at the state and national levels to better address issues of documenting that infants with hearing loss are receiving ED services, (2) measuring progress, (3) assessing outcomes, and (4) meeting national benchmarks.
The Trohanis Technical Assistance Projects group is dedicated to improving the availability and quality of services, and ensuring optimal outcomes, for very young children with, or at risk for, disabilities and their families. We assist states and local agencies that provide early intervention and early childhood special education.