Early childhood inclusion and early childhood intervention have been inextricably linked for the past 10 years. As a result, there have been documented benefits for children with and without disabilities. As an example, a child's first experience in the early care and education system can determine the degree to which she and her family feel connected to their natural community. When families with children with a disability experience a high degree of belongingness with their children during the early years, it shapes their expectations for the future. And, the benefits continue as children grow up. Students of all abilities who attend inclusive early childhood programs are better equipped to learn, live, and work in inclusive communities throughout their life.
The availability of high-quality inclusive early care and education programs is a goal for all children, and although there has been progress toward this goal, there is still much to accomplish. Recognizing this need, the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services recently released a policy statement to facilitate the adoption and implementation of practices to support the successful inclusion of young children with disabilities in high-quality early childhood programs. The policy proposes that all young children with disabilities have access to inclusive early childhood programs, where they are provided with individualized interventions and supports to reach developmental and behavioral outcomes. The policy statement also contains a comprehensive set of recommendations for state and local early care and education agencies to follow in order to maximize inclusive opportunities for all children. These recommendations address actions that can be taken to ensure that quality early childhood inclusion occurs across policy, practice, and, most importantly, with all members of the early care and education workforce. The systems-level approach described in the statement creates a model of synergy between federal, state, and local programs. I thank the authors of this policy statement for choosing Infants & Young Children (IYC) to disseminate it.
The first article in this issue by Jina Noh, Elizabeth A. Steed, and Kyungmin Kim describes a survey of 169 early childhood education teachers in Korea. The teachers were asked about the importance and implementation of Program-Wide Positive Behavioral Support strategies in their classrooms. The analysis of the results suggested that although teachers considered these strategies important, they implemented few universal practices in their classrooms and reported an absence of program-wide supports in their early childhood programs. Suggestions to facilitate the adoption and implementation of Program-Wide Behavioral Supports in Korea are provided.
Angela Kyzer, Leanne Whiteside-Mansell, Lorraine McKelvey, and Taren Swindle authored an article focused on the use of a screening tool, the Family Map Inventory (FMI). This tool was designed to be used in home visiting programs to assess and build upon family strengths and needs. Thirty-nine home visiting coordinators implemented this inventory with 70 families that were enrolled in the Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters (HIPPY). The results provided information about both the home and parenting skills. This study demonstrated that the FMI is a feasible and useful tool to assess and measure family needs in home visiting programs over time. The authors also suggest that the FMI could be used as a system tool to measure program effectiveness.
Our next study by Amy Scott, Anne van Bysterveldt, and Brigid McNeill used an experimental design to test an emergent literacy intervention with 27 teenage mothers and their very young children. The 7-week intervention focused on strategies that the mothers could use when reading with their young children. Changes in the type and frequency of mothers' reading behaviors were demonstrated through videotapes of shared reading interactions between the mothers and their children, as were changes in the home literacy environment for those in the intervention group. The results suggested that those who received the training demonstrated positive gains in vocabulary, questioning strategies, and book reading behavior in comparison to the control group. Recommendations for emergent literacy interventions are provided.
Lastly, Ana Teresa Brito and Geoff Lindsay reported on a specific training program that focused on key principles in early childhood intervention. The program was developed in England for professionals and parents. An exploratory study was implemented using qualitative methodology to measure the training impact on participants' competencies. Forty-two participants comprising trainers, trainees (mostly working with young children), and families were included in the study. Outcomes of the training were analyzed through document analysis, training observations, focus groups, reflective practice, and semistructured interviews. The results suggested that the early support and the training program was successful. Implications for further training using this program are shared.
As always I thank the authors who chose to publish their work in IYC and the members of the editorial board who helped review and shape the articles in this issue.
UPCOMING SPECIAL ISSUE
Inclusion is a quality indicator of early childhood intervention programs all over the world. To emphasize this global expansion of inclusive early care and education programs, I am pleased to announce an upcoming special issue of IYC will be devoted to examples of high-quality early childhood inclusion in countries outside the United States. These articles will be authored by early childhood intervention professionals who reside and work in inclusive early childhood settings in these countries. Through the IYC collaboration with the International Society on Early Intervention, I am proud that the guest editors of this upcoming issue will be Michael Guralnick, PhD, Ibrahim Halil Diken, PhD, and Manfred Pretis, PhD. I thank them for their work on this very important upcoming issue.
—Mary Beth Bruder, PhD