- Course Text: Heward, W. L. (2009). Exceptional children: An introduction to special education. London: Pearson Education, Ltd.
- Prologue, (pp. 2â€“4)
- Chapter 1, “The Purpose and Promise of Special Education” (pp. 9â€“15, 18â€“19, 22â€“23)
- Chapter 14, “Early Childhood Special Education” (pp. 535â€“563)
- Web Site: The Guidance Center Inc.
“Early Childhood Services”
Optional Readings and Resources
- Proven Benefits of Early Childhood Interventions
- “Helping the Most Vulnerable Infants, Toddlers & Their families”
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C and Related Topics (overview of the Program for infants and Toddlers with Disabilities)
- National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
The Science of Early Childhood Development: Closing the Gap Between What We Know and What We Do (PDF)
Application: Special Needs From a Variety of Perspectives
Throughout this course, you will be studying many topics related to children with special needs. The readings, content reviews, and Discussions will help you gain a valuable base of information. To expand your knowledge, the course Applications will offer ways to explore areas of special needs in more depth and increase your awareness of what it is like to teach and to parent a child with special needs, or to be someone who has been identified with a special need.
Before you begin the Week 1 Application, review the outline below in order to plan effectively.
- Week 1: Write a Brochure on Early Intervention Services. You will imagine yourself in the role of a Child Development Community Liaison for a nonprofit organization that provides programs related to infant/toddler healthy development. Your job is to create a brochure for infant/toddler program directors and caregivers informing them about your services.
- Week 2: Interview with a Teacher or Caregiver. You will have a choice of interviewing a teacher whose expertise is special education and who works with children ages 3â€“8, or a teacher or caregiver who has a child or children in his/her setting who have been identified with special needs.
- Week 3: Research and Information Exchange, Part 1. You will research a category of special needs that is of interest to you in order to gain a greater depth of knowledge.
- Week 4: Research and Information Exchange, Part 2. You will share, review, and reflect on fellow students’ research on different categories of special needs.
- Week 5: Interview with a Parent of a Child with Special Needs or with a Student or Adult with Special Needs. You will have a choice of interviewing a parent or other close adult family member of a child with special needs, or a person with special needs who would like to share his or her experiences and perspectives.
Week 1: Write a Brochure on Early Intervention Services
As you have learned this week, early intervention services can include programs for infants and toddlers who may be at risk from biological or environmental issues that could lead to developmental delays or other special needs. One challenge to early intervention service providers is to ensure that they reach out and connect with families. All of the various types of infant and toddler programs in a community, including family day care homes, Early Start, faith-based programs, community organizations, can play an important role in connecting families to available early intervention services.
For your Application Assignment this week, imagine that you have been hired as a Child Development Community Liaison for a community organization called The Guidance Center Inc. In reality, this respected, not-for-profit organization serves the communities of Cambridge and Somerville in Massachusetts. As part of The Guidance Center’s Early Childhood Services for ages 0â€“6 , their Infant-Toddler Services include four programs that provide services to pregnant women, infants, toddlers, and their families.
As the Child Development Community Liaison, your job is to connect with infant and toddler program directors and caregivers and communicate both a strong message about the importance of early intervention and the services The Guidance Center provides. Your supervisor has asked you to:
- Draft a two-page brochure that emphasizes why early intervention is important and the ways it is addressed through The Guidance Center.*
- Include in the brochure, an idea for an additional program or a way to improve a current program in order to better meet the goal of providing quality early interventions services for pregnant women, infants, toddlers, and/or their families.
* Though The Guidance Center is a real organization, this scenario has been created only for this course. The brochure you create is intended only to further your own knowledge of early intervention services and not to be used for distribution.
To complete this Application Assignment, do the following:
Step 1: Learn About Infant-Toddler Services at The Guidance Center
Click on the link below for the “Early Childhood Services” overview page on The Guidance Center Inc. Web site:
From the “Early Childhood Services” menu on the left of the page, click on and read about the Infant-Toddler Services programs. You may also choose to visit the Elizabeth Peabody House web site for further information. Be sure to refer to the Home Visiting section located under the Resources tab.
Step 2: Create The Guidance Center Infant-Toddler Services Brochure
Use the information you have learned about the Infant-Toddler Services to create a draft of a two-page brochure. Make sure your brochure includes:
- A strong rationale and foundational understanding of why early intervention is important.
- An overview of the ways The Guidance Center programs support early intervention.
- Based on what you learned while getting your degree in child development, a description of a new program The Guidance Center will be offering or a way that one of the current programs has been approved to offer even more effective services.
As you write, keep these tips in mind:
- Think about how to present the information in ways that are professional and, at the same time, capture attention.
- Think about how the brochure can help assure infant-toddler program directors and caregivers that families they refer will feel comfortable and respected, i.e., consider ways that The Guidance Center is sensitive to different cultures within the community.
Assignment length: 2 pages