Action Imperative 1: By 2018, a seamless and comprehensive statewide system of coordinated services for children with disabilities, birth through age 5, and their families will be fully implemented to narrow the school readiness gap.

DSE/EIS Action

It is critical that the DSE/EIS offer leadership that supports the coordination and alignment of early childhood  services that transition seamlessly to our Local School Systems and Public Agencies.

Therefore—

1.1

The DSE/EIS, in partnership with local early intervention and early childhood programs, will implement evidence-based family-centered practices, interventions, and instructional strategies that actively engage families in all aspects of their child’s early intervention and early childhood programs.

1.2

The DSE/EIS, in partnership with local early intervention and early childhood programs, will expand access for children with disabilities to the full range of community and school-based early childhood programs and settings through collaboration with general education, family and center-based child care, Early Head Start and Head Start, libraries, park and recreation organizations, and other programs and settings in which children without disabilities and their families participate.

1.3

The DSE/EIS, in collaboration with the Division of Early Childhood Development (DECD) and other early care and education organizations and agencies, will develop and implement a set of shared metrics and expectations to effectively measure ongoing child progress, inform intervention and instructional practices, and evaluate the effectiveness of local programs in promoting school readiness for young children with disabilities, aligned with the DSE/EIS Birth through Five Assessment Framework.

1.4

The DSE/EIS will support Local Infants and Toddlers  Programs (LITPs) to increase the number of infants and toddlers appropriately referred for early intervention services.

Why is this important?

When we intervene early with family-centered supports and services, children have the foundational skills needed to be successful in kindergarten.

  • High-quality, coordinated early childhood services are critical to foster the growth and development of infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children who have disabilities or developmental delays.
  • In order for young children with disabilities to be ready for kindergarten, early intervention and early childhood programs need to implement evidence-based family- centered practices, interventions, and instructional strategies that actively engage families in all aspects of their child’s early intervention and early childhood programs in natural environments.
  • Early childhood programs need to support families in knowing their rights, effectively communicating their children’s needs, and helping their children develop and learn. Preschool programs need to facilitate parent involvement as a means of improving services and results for young children with disabilities.
  • Meaningful assessments should be available to accurately measure a young child’s progress and inform practices, services, instruction, and interventions.
  • When services are aligned across various providers, and when educators and service providers are aware of available services, knowledgeable about evidence-based interventions, competent in early childhood assessment, and skilled in working with and supporting families, then young children with disabilities will enter kindergarten ready to learn and participate in the kindergarten curriculum.

by Maryland State Department of Education Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services Staff