Supports for Preschool Special Education Staff During the Ordered School-building Closure

The Ohio Department of Education is providing this newsletter specifically for school district preschool special education staff as they continue to provide services during Ohio’s ordered school-building closure.

Welcome! This new communication from the Ohio Department of Education is being sent to service providers and administrators during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Each edition of the newsletter, which will be sent regularly, will feature a few, select resources to help preschool education staff pause (albeit briefly) and reflect on their practices. What you do makes a difference. But HOW you do it is even more important and how you decide to provide services during these difficult times can help build relationships for the future.

While the Ohio Department of Education wants to ensure each young child with disabilities continues to receive services as listed in his or her individualized education program (IEP), it also is important to ensure we are caring for the health and emotional well-being of all involved.

In this issue:

This first issue provides general resources about providing services through technology. We invite all districts to use video conferencing and related technologies, as well as indirect service delivery models as they continue providing services to young children with disabilities.

Please note, some of the suggested resources have been created for early intervention providers (birth to age 3). Early intervention has a long history of providing services at home and using video conferencing to deliver those services. While the age group may be different, the information on how to use the technology and how to work with families to provide services (indirect service delivery model) still applies for children ages 3 to 5 with disabilities.

Stay tuned! Upcoming issues will take a deeper dive into select topics.

NOTE: This list is not comprehensive, and the Ohio Department of Education does not endorse these products. We are making the list available to support engaging young children with disabilities in learning during the ordered school-building closure period.

How to Support Children and Families When Pre-K Programs are Closed for an Extended Time

Highly recommended! This podcast by Dr. Kristie Pretti-Frontczak and Beth Diedrick provides valuable information about how to think about and provide support. Specifically, they address three big ideas:

Practices that support a strong home-school connection and partnership versus trying to “do school” at home.
Considerations for children who have diverse abilities and IEPs in place – not from a legal perspective but in terms of supporting their growth and development.
Possibilities for our field – and ultimately our children – that are emerging in this time of uncertainty.
Check this website often as it will be updated regularly with new resources.

Suggestion for use: Have administrators and service staff listen to the podcast and then have a conversation together. How will you use the information in the podcast? What might you do differently?

Resources to Support EI/ECSE During the COVID-19 Outbreak

This site contains many resources specifically for supporting young children with disabilities.

The Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children promotes policies and advances evidence-based practices that support families and enhance the optimal development of young children (ages 0-8) who have or are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities. The Division for Early Childhood is an international membership organization for those who work with or on behalf of young children with disabilities and other special needs and their families.

The Council for Exceptional Children is opening its doors to the special education community in need of resources. Nonmembers can receive a free basic membership from now through May 31 by using the promotional code CECED60. This provides access to journal articles, member discounts on publications and events, and an online membership community where you can ask questions and receive support from special educators, administrators and support personnel. 

Tele-Intervention and Distance Learning

A number of states are providing distance learning to young children with disabilities and their families. The Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center has compiled information on tele-intervention and distance learning, including state guidance, technology and privacy, service delivery, activities for families at home and research on effectiveness.

The center supports state Part C and 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.

Video Conferencing 101: Guidance for Early Interventionists on Using Video Conference for Home Visits (and Other Purposes) During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This resource, listed on the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center’s site, deserves a special mention. The handout from Larry Edelman of the University of Colorado provides examples of how video conferencing might be used; general tips regarding technology, environment and interactions with others; and a series of helpful links. While it does seem to be directed more toward early intervention providers, much of the information still applies and is extremely helpful.

Virtual Kit: Itinerant ECSE Services Through Coaching/Consultation

The consultative approach is an indirect service delivery model. Instead of working primarily with a child, the special education teacher or related service provider works primarily with the parent (or other adults) who then will work with the child. During this time of school-building closure and providing services through technology, all preschool special education professionals should be using a consultative approach.

This site provides a bit more of an explanation of the consultative approach, as well as listings of other resources by category, such as “Show me now! (I need this tomorrow)” and “What does this look like in practice? (I have a little bit more time to read about this).”

We hope you find these resources useful. Stay tuned for upcoming newsletters. Be well and take care.


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