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 Project

The Early Childhood TA Center (ECTA) is funded to support state Part C and Preschool Section 619 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.

Featured Publication

The "State of the Special Education Profession Survey Report" provides a snapshot of the current state of the special education profession. The survey was commissioned by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Pioneers Division and serves as a foundation for CEC leadership and program development.

Featured Person

Senior research scientist Samuel L. Odom, PhD, holds a dual appointment on the faculty of the UNC School of Education. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 publications and editor or co-editor of 11 books on early childhood intervention and developmental disabilities. His current research focuses on autism spectrum disorder.

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.
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.
The project team will research national trends and relevant models of governing and delivering early childhood special education systems, including but not limited to implementation of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), quality and control measures, and innovative approaches in other states and jurisdictions that hold the potential for enhancing the effectiveness, efficiency, or accountability of the early childhood special education system in the state.
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 primary project goal is to prepare working professionals from diverse backgrounds to become interdisciplinary, collaborative leaders in early childhood special education implementing culturally responsive and evidence-based practices for facilitating the successful inclusion of young children with disabilities and their families in high need schools and community based programs.
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 purpose of this project is to develop the Supporting paraprofessionals-Teachers use of Evidence-based practices with Learners having Autism (STELA) program, a professional development intervention targeting the knowledge and skills that paraprofessionals need to implement evidence-based practices for students with autism spectrum disorder.
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.