The Trohanis Technical Assistance Projects Close in on a Half-Century of Work on Behalf of Children with Disabilities

Date Published: 04/08/2018
Young child with disabilityWith the recent launch of a new center to help states deliver high-quality services to young children with disabilities and to their families, the Trohanis Technical Assistance Projects at FPG have cemented their first 50 years as forerunners in the field. These projects provide integral support to state Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education—programs that annually enrich the lives of hundreds of thousands of infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities.
 
“Pat Trohanis was an early innovator here at FPG,” said Christina Kasprzak, director of FPG’s Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), the largest of the Trohanis Projects. “He was a brilliant leader. His work supported programs nationally and internationally, bringing recognition and support for systems for young children with disabilities.”
 
Former ECTA director Lynne Kahn once famously defined “technical assistance” as simply “helping people do what they do.” For almost five decades, the Trohanis Projects have provided technical assistance to all 60 U.S. states and territories. 
 
“We’ve learned that to be effective, we must build and maintain trusting relationships,” said Kasprzak.
 
Joan Danaher, associate director of the ECTA, said the Trohanis Projects have adapted over the years to support changes in early childhood programs.
 
Trohanis projects overview
“It’s not good enough anymore only to get children in the door,” said Danaher. “Today, the questions are: What kinds of services are provided and how high is the quality and what are the outcomes?”
 
The latest funding for the Early Childhood Systems Technical Assistance Center continues a half-century tradition of helping to improve services and results for children with disabilities and their families. The center assists state leaders in building more effective and sustainable systems that provide high-quality services and inclusive learning opportunities for young children with disabilities.
 
According to Kasprzak, the center includes a national team of partners with “unmatched expertise and experience.”
 
“A growing number of children under age 6 in the U.S. need high-quality early intervention and preschool special education services," said Kasprzak. "While our knowledge of brain science and research has vastly increased in the last few decades, states continue to be challenged by a variety of issues related to implementing state and local systems that support the best possible services for these young children with disabilities and for their families.”
 
There is little doubt that as the Trohanis Projects transition into their second half-century of groundbreaking work, challenges and barriers for children with disabilities will continue to shift and change. If the last 50 years are any indication, for these children and their families the Trohanis Projects will continue to evolve to support their needs and expand their strengths.