Ambassadors Chosen to Spearhead the Use of Recommended Practices for Young Children with Disabilities

Date Published: 10/12/2016

The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute has selected 16 experts across the country to serve as “ambassadors” to spearhead the use of new Recommended Practices for the care and education of young children with disabilities.  

“We hand-picked the ambassadors for their broad expertise and skills,” said Joan Danaher, associate director of the ECTA. “They form a national cohort with knowledge of evidence-based practices, professional development and training, and their state’s early childhood services and practitioner networks.”

Danaher explained that ambassadors will serve as an extension of the ECTA Center, disseminating information and providing training within their states. Not only will ambassadors collaborate with one another to develop and share strategies and resources, but each will develop and implement goals aligned with a state improvement effort. 

“As part of this inaugural group of ambassadors, these experts will also participate in designing, documenting, and making recommendations for subsequent groups as we continue to disseminate materials nationally,” said Danaher.

The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children developed the Recommended Practices to provide guidance to practitioners and families about the most effective ways to improve learning outcomes and promote the development of young children, birth to age 5, who have or are at-risk for developmental delays or disabilities. 

Danaher said that through a cooperative agreement with the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education, the ECTA Center has developed a suite of products for practitioners and families to learn how to apply the Recommended Practices to developmental interventions in everyday routines and settings involving children and families. All of the products and resources are free, including popular videos starring “aRPy,” an animated spokesperson created by the ECTA Center.

The “aRPy Ambassadors” are based in state and local agencies and universities. They will receive support for their roles from state programs for children with disabilities birth through age 5 under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

The aRPy Ambassadors will debut at the DEC International Conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 18.

More about aRPy

Meet the aRPy Ambassadors

More about the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center


Joan C. Danaher, Associate Director
Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center
UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

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