The week after the world was rid of the international terrorist Osama bin Ladin, the International Society of Early Intervention (ISEI) held its third conference in New York City in conjunction with the YAI International Conference on Developmental Disabilities. More than 3000 participants from 54 countries around the world attended the large conference. It was quite the juxtaposition!
The ISEI conference celebrated the many contributions the international community has made to early childhood intervention across research, training, policy, and practice. The conference was held over 4 days and consisted of 233 papers and 54 posters presented by more than 504 primary and coauthors. All were outstanding and informative! Beyond the expertise and commitment displayed by both the presenters and audience, the conference generated an energy that was palpable and extended beyond the formal presentation and poster sessions.
The United States was very well represented by both attendees and presenters. Through this contingent, the international audience was able to learn about the evolution of early childhood intervention systems through the long US history of research, education, policy, and practice. While not surprising, presenters from other countries brought up issues that also confront children, families, and professionals in the US. There were many discussions that revolved around the commonality of these issues, and joint solutions that could work across the world. It was truly humbling to be among the international community focused on improving outcomes for infants and young children with special needs and their families.
The first article of this issue focuses on a construct that describes the “work” of childhood: play. While seemingly the appropriate foundation for early childhood curricula, the current emphasis on academic readiness in preschool has pushed playtimes aside in favor of more focused literacy and numeracy activities. Karen Lifter and colleagues present to us an article that addresses the importance of play with an analysis of its role in early childhood intervention, and its continued relevance to assessment and curricula. Recommendations for practitioners, policy makers, and researchers on the application of play in early childhood intervention.
Our next article addresses infants with special health care needs. Suzanne H. Long and her colleagues provide insight into one specific health impairment: those born with congenital heart disease (CHD). A number of risk conditions are associated with those infants who undergo surgical repairs for CHD. These include cognitive and motor delays as well as musculoskeletal impairments. The authors provide a rationale for interdisciplinary team services for these children beginning in the hospital through home adjustment and early childhood intervention. Two case studies are included to illustrate the recommendations for the interdisciplinary care of children with CHD.
In our third article, Hatice Bal Yilmaz and colleagues, from Turkey, examine a number of factors that influence attachment between a mother and her infant. The Maternal Attachment Inventory (MAI) was administered to 70 mothers with infants with congenital anomalies. The data that were collected suggested a relationship between the amount of attachment demonstrated by the mother, as scored by the MAI, and the type of congenital anomaly displayed by the infant.
The next article provides information to assist the early childhood intervention workforce to be more culturally competent when intervening with children from Latino families. Cristina Mogro-Wilson presents a thorough overview of Latino family strengths in the context of major theoretical models of resilience. These models promote individual, family, community, and cultural factors as protective mechanisms and areas of resiliency. Applications of these factors by professionals providing intervention to Latino families with children with disabilities should enhance the effectiveness of intervention, research, and policy.
Our last article by Deidre Igoe and colleagues provides an evaluation of the Dimensions of Mastery Questionnaire with 33 mothers of preschool children. This article provides information on a construct that has not been operationalized very well in early childhood intervention. While few would argue its relevance to learning, rarely has mastery motivation been included in assessment and curriculum protocols for infants and young children with disabilities. This article presents data on the test/retest reliability of the Questionnaire and, in doing so, provides validation on the use of the construct of mastery motivation for early childhood intervention.
For this current issue, I want to thank my international colleagues who authored 3 of the articles, my colleagues who are new to a career in publishing, and lastly my colleagues who are from a program sponsored under the Association of University Centers on Disabilities: Research, Education and Service (aucd.org). These programs include the UCEDDs and the LENDs.
It is fitting I close with a special note of thanks to our international readership. Thirty-eight percent of our Web hits in 2010 were by international visitors. In the near future, we will be offering an incentive to international subscribers (outside of North America) of IYC, and this offer will be disseminated through the ISEI.
—Mary Beth Bruder, PhD