Value, as a word, is defined, in part as (1) the importance, worth, or usefulness of something; and (2) one's judgment of what is important in life. In the past months, it has become increasingly clear that the value of special education for students with severe and significant disabilities is being examined and questioned by both state and federal judicial systems.
In Connecticut, a ruling on school funding was issued by the State Superior Court on September 7, 2016. The majority of the ruling concerned general education funding formulas, though a critical component of the ruling focused on special education costs. The ruling questioned the value of educating students with profound disabilities; described as children who are too disabled to get any benefit from elementary or secondary education. The ruling went on to state that school districts should not make expensive, extensive, and ultimately pro forma efforts to educate these students, and should focus their efforts on students who can profit from some form of elementary or secondary education.
This decision is under judicial appeal. In addition, the Office of Special Education Programs in the U.S. Department of Education issued a letter reminding the CT State Department of Education of the state's special education obligation to all students, regardless of the severity or significance of their disability, as required by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
On January 11, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments for a case that involved a student with autism from Colorado. Lower courts had interpreted the intent of the IDEA as a statutory mandate for students with disabilities to receive a special education program that was merely more than of de minimis (minimal) benefit. The question before the court is how much educational benefit is required from a student's individualized education program under IDEA? The court will rule how courts and schools should interpret and measure educational standards for those receiving special education services under IDEA.
The values raised in these judicial cases include (1) the worth of a student with severe or significant disabilities and (2) the judgment of the courts as to the importance of such students' learning needs and potential. I am sad that in 2017, we are questioning the value and human rights of the most vulnerable of our society. And, I am incensed that the very values that are the foundation of our special education system are under scrutiny.
I want to apologize to Marta Gimenez-Dasi, Laura Quintanilla, Vanessa Ojeda, and Beatrice Lucas-Molina, who authored “Effects of a Dialogue Based Program to Improve Emotion Knowledge in Spanish Roma Preschoolers,” which appeared in our last issue. Their article was scheduled for this issue (30:2), which is why I didn't acknowledge it in my From the Editor for Issue 30 Volume 1. In my experience, the production team at Wolters Kluwer Health rarely makes errors. I apologize to the authors on behalf of all of us involved with the production of Infants & Young Children (IYC).
Our first article is a study that examined international adaptations of the 60-month Ages & Stages Questionnaires: Social-Emotional (ASQ:SE), which is used to detect social–emotional difficulties in infants and young children. Chieh-Yu Chen, Ching-I Chen, Jane Squires, Xiaoyan Bian, Kay H. Heo, Alberto Filgueiras, Svetlana Kalinina, Larissa Samarina, Evgeniya Ermolaeva, Huichao Xie, Ting-Ying Yu, Pei-Fang Wu, and Jesus Landeira-Fernandez analyzed a total of 25,042 ASQ:SE questionnaires from data sets of questionnaires translated and adapted in the following languages: Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese. The questionnaire responses were analyzed by items to measure differences between the original English version and the five adapted translated versions. Results indicated that there were differences, suggesting that cultural values, beliefs, and expectations affected parental responses. The authors provide information for those using or developing translated/adapted instruments across diverse cultures.
The purpose of the next study was to assess the validity of the NICHD Mother–Child Interaction Qualitative Ratings for use with premature infants and their mother in neonatal intensive care units. Kimberly D. Lakes, Yuqing Guo, Candice Taylor Lucas, and Dan Cooper videotaped a 10-min interaction between 24 mothers and their premature infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. Nine raters independently scored these videotapes, using the NICHD Mother–Child Interaction Qualitative Ratings. The results suggested adequate interrater reliability, and scores yielded normal distributions. The study provides preliminary evidence for the face validity of this assessment for use with this population.
Next, Erin E. Barton, Kristina Lopez, Andrea Dewey, and Mary Louise Hemmeter present the results of two single-subject multiple baseline studies that examined the relationship between praise and the use of different art forms and colors during art activities by young children. The first study used a reversal design with four preschool-aged children. The intervention resulted in the four children showing small increases in the use of form and color with descriptive praise, yet there was variability across the children and conditions. The second study utilized a multiple-probe design across three children at risk or having a disability. After intervention, all three had increases in their art behavior. Recommendations for future research in this area are provided.
Diane D. Behl, Kristina Blaiser, Gina Cook, Tyson Barrett, Catherine Callow-Heusser, Betsy Moog Brooks, Pamela Dawson, Suzanne Quigley, and Karl R. White provide the next study, which focused on the use of technology to deliver early intervention. The study examined the effectiveness of tele-practice with a national sample of families of infants and toddlers who were deaf or hard of hearing. A comparison group received traditional in-person home visits. Fifteen early intervention providers from five early intervention programs participated with 48 parents and their children. Results indicated that while children in the tele-practice group received more intervention, the number of prescribed sessions was equal across groups. The children in the tele-practice group scored significantly higher than children in the in-person group on language measures and also demonstrated higher scores for early intervention provider responsiveness and parent engagement. Though there were no significant differences between the groups on family outcomes of support, knowledge, and community involvement, the results suggest preliminary support for the use of tele-practice in early intervention for this population of children and their families.
Our last article by Elizabeth A. Steed and Andrew T. Roach assessed the use of evidence-based strategies to promote preschoolers' social–emotional competence in 38 urban childcare classrooms. Descriptive results from classroom observations and childcare teacher interviews indicated that the childcare teaching staff demonstrated few of the strategies being assessed. System supports have been found to facilitate the adoption and sustained use of evidence-based social–emotional strategies were also not in evidence. These supports include the presence of professional development, leadership teams, data-based decision making, and fiscal resources. The authors provide recommendations to support the implementation of strategies to facilitate young children's social–emotional competence in childcare settings.
I want to thank the authors of the articles appearing in this (and the last) issue for choosing to submit their manuscripts to IYC. I also thank the reviewers who assisted in the editorial process to bring the manuscripts to publication. I want to acknowledge our commitment at IYC to new authors, international authors, and authors focusing on training and the adult learning process. This issue contains articles from all three categories of authorships.
—Mary Beth Bruder, PhD