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Description: We are a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting foster, kinship, and adoptive families of children and youth with disabilities and other special needs. We serve families, educators and child welfare professionals in the Northern Virginia area. Formed Families Forward’s mission is to improve developmental, educational, social, emotional and post-secondary outcomes for children and youth with disabilities and other special needs through provision of information, training and support...
Description: The American Academy of Pediatrics released Info-graphics on the Opioid Crisis and its impact on children nationwide. Virginia's info-graphic includes: A GROWING CRISIS A DEVASTATING TOLL ON CHILDREN A NEED FOR FAMILY-CENTERED POLICIES WHAT YOU CAN DO
Description: Scientists and parents know that young children’s brain development is critically important—and researchers learn more every day. Children experience their most profound cognitive, social, and emotional growth in the first eight years of life. Children’s Institute has put together a series to share educational resources and the latest news from experts about young children’s growing brains and how their caregivers can support and nurture this growth. In this series,...
Description: Childhood trauma is common. More than two thirds of children in the United States experience a traumatic event or circumstances—such as abuse or neglect, death of a loved one, or community violence—by the time they turn 16. Young children in particular are disproportionately exposed to traumatic events and circumstances. Children exposed to trauma may display heightened aggression, impulsivity, or poor social skills. They often struggle...
Description: Childhood experiences, both positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity. As such, early experiences are an important public health issue. Much of the foundational research in this area has been referred to as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
Description: What is ARC? ARC is a framework for intervention with youth and families who have experienced multiple and/or prolonged traumatic stress. ARC identifies three core domains that are frequently impacted among traumatized youth, and which are relevant to future resiliency. Designed to be applied flexibly across child- and family-serving systems, ARC provides a theoretical framework, core principles of intervention, and a guiding structure for providers. ARC is designed for youth from early...
Description: Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to...
Description: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC) Attachment, Regulation and Competency (ARC) (Trauma Center at Justice Resource Institute) Child Trauma Toolkit for Educators (2008) (The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, NCTSN) Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence (Activities Guide) Handbook: The Heart of Learning: Compassion, Resiliency, and Academic Success (Compassionate Schools: The Heart of...
Description: Families are the enduring presence in the lives of young children with disabilities. This volume contains activities to support early care and education staff and families in developing positive relationships that support collaboration and family leadership. Session 1: Creating Bright Futures (Building Relationships with Families) Session 2: Listening to Families Session 3: When Concerns Arise: Learning from Families' Experiences Session 4: Getting...
Description: The SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library was designed to strengthen the inclusion of young children with disabilities and their families in programs serving infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The Library includes four learning modules. Each module contains a presenter’s guide, training scripts, handouts (in English and Spanish), and videos (in English, and with English and Spanish captioning). The materials can be used in a variety of professional development settings. They...
Description: For parents, daycare providers, and early educators, new research describes a simple and powerful way to build children’s brains: talk with them, early and often. A study in Psychological Science shows how conversation — the interplay between a parent or caregiver and a child — ignites the language centers in a child’s brain. It’s the first study to show a relationship between the words children hear at home and the growth of their neural processing capacities...
Description: Evaluation is an essential beginning step in the special education process for a child with a disability. Before a child can receive special education and related services for the first time, a full and individual initial evaluation of the child must be conducted to see if the child has a disability and is eligible for special education. Informed parent consent must be obtained before this evaluation may be conducted.
Description: Wherever you work, children come to you with gifts, curiosity, challenges, and needs.  They are small wonders, to be sure, and as full of diversity as society itself. And because disability is a natural part of life, it’s also likely that some of your little ones may have a disability or a developmental delay that can impact their learning and growth. As a child care provider or preschool teacher, you may even be among the first to notice a child’s difficulties or...
Description: The birth of a child is an exciting, life-changing event. A beautiful new baby comes to your house, family, and neighborhood. It is a time for celebration. But what happens when this new child has a disability? What if there are health problems? What if, as time goes by, it seems as if the child isn’t learning and progressing as quickly or easily as other children? What do you do? CPIR offers a suite of resource pages that can help you find answers and people who can...
Description: The education of children with disabilities is a top national priority. Our nation’s special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), sets high standards for their achievement and guides how special help and services are made available in schools to address their individual needs.
Description: Cerebral palsy—also known as CP—is a condition caused by injury to the parts of the brain that control our ability to use our muscles and bodies. Cerebral means having to do with the brain. Palsy means weakness or problems with using the muscles. Often the injury happens before birth, sometimes during delivery, or, like Jen, soon after being born. CP can be mild, moderate, or severe. Mild CP may mean a child is clumsy. Moderate CP may mean the child walks with a limp. He or she may...
Description: Kids grow fast, don’t they? And early intervention is designed for children from birth up to age three.  At that point, services under EI end. If the child will need continued support once he or she moves on to preschool, it’s very important to plan ahead so that the transition is smooth.  The resources below will help you do just that.
Description: Supporting transitions can have positive effects on children and families, and collaboration is key to effective transition. Each brief in this series focuses on a different partnership level: the child and family, early educators, early care and education (ECE) programs, and ECE partners. The Head Start Program Performance Standards outline transition requirements in 1302 Suppart G- Transition Services. Supporting Transitions: Using Child Development as a Guide Supporting Transitions: Early...
Description: In almost every early care and education (ECE) program across the country, there are children who have experienced trauma or who will, during their early childhood, experience traumatic events. Trauma in early childhood takes many forms, including abuse or neglect, witnessing violence, and having prolonged separation from or loss of a parent. An extensive body of research has documented the negative impacts of trauma on young children’s behavior, learning, and other long-term school- and...
Description: Virginia Family Special Education Connection provides a one-stop-shop for parents, families and caregivers of children with special needs to: Access local school system contacts and disability services in your community Explore an abundance of resources, including assistive technology and behavioral supports to help your child succeed. Learn about and plan your child's educational program Understand your legal rights and responsibilities POWER (Parent Organizer with Educational Resources)...
Description: Assistive technology is any kind of technology that can be used to enhance the functional independence of a person with a disability. Often, for people with disabilities, accomplishing daily tasks such as talking with friends, going to school and work, or participating in recreational activities is a challenge. Assistive Technology (AT) devices are tools to help to overcome those challenges and enable people living with disabilities to enhance their quality of life and lead more independent...
Description: What you do and say matters! Explore and practice everyday strategies to develop Positive Goal-Oriented Relationships with a family. These relationships are key to our work with children and families, including the journey toward school readiness. Simulation 1 allows you to practice building bonds with families, beginning with an intake visit. Simulation 2 explores the process of developing and implementing goals with families. Simulation 3 explores using strengths-based attitudes to partner...
Description: This includes the following chapters: Enhancing Progress for Meaningful Family Engagement in all Aspects of Positive BehavioralInterventions and Supports (PBIS) and Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Family Engagement Foundations: Supporting Children and Families Engaging Families Through School-Wide Positive Behavior Support: Building PartnershipsAcross Multi-Tiered Systems of Support Translating Family Engagement Strategies to Practice in Local Sites Implementing PBIS Promoting Family Engagement...
Description: The mission of Virginia's public education system is to educate students in the fundamental knowledge and academic subjects that they need to become capable, responsible, and self-reliant citizens. Therefore, the mission of the Virginia Board of Education and the superintendent of public instruction, in cooperation with local school boards, is to increase student learning and academic achievement.
Description: The Administration for Children and Families, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations, the Administration for Community Living, the Offices of the Assistant Secretary for Health and the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at HHS have worked together to develop the resources at this website, which was released in January 2017. Visit the site to discover concept papers, discussion questions, examples, and frameworks. Taken together they provide an...
Description: There are numerous studies in early childhood that show that AT can have a positive impact in just a short amount of time, yet research and anecdotal data still show the underutilization of technology. Leverage the ever expanding category of helpful items in the category of assistive technology to help young children with disabilities be included, grow, and learn. We can do this by:• Increasing and/or expanding our understanding of what assistive technology for children ages birth to 5...
Description: The POWER (Parent Organizer With Educational Resources) web app provides parents and families with online resources to answer questions about child development, disabilities, community services, Special Education, diploma options in Virginia and transition to life after high school.  The questions and potential resources are separated into age levels: Early Childhood, Elementary School, Middle School and High School. This project is a collaborative effort between the Parent Resource...
Description: Celebrate the uniqueness of each and every child! In the U.S., 1 in 68 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). In fact, almost every school and university in the country has students with autism. While the diagnosis is common, public understanding of autism is not. The lack of understanding around the condition contributes to discrimination, verbal abuse, even physical violence. A recent study reveals that children with autism are five times more likely to be bullied than...
Description: BULLYING BASICS in Early Childhood: Bullying can emerge in early childhood. If you don’t know that bullying happens among young children, you won’t see it or stop it. If you don’t stop bullying, it will grow and spread. When early childhood educators are prepared, they can nip bullying in the bud. Find out how to stop bullying before it starts.
Description: Included in this VPI+ Professional Development library are resources that have been carefully vetted and selected by staff from the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL). Articles, online learning, web pages, and documents on specific topics can be narrowed down using the categories or by searching for a particular keyword. Topics include: Classroom Interactions and Organization Teacher-child interactions (CLASS) Supportive Environments Play-based learning...
Description: Infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are now growing up in environments saturated with a variety of traditional and new technologies, which they are adopting at increasing rates. Although there has been much hope for the educational potential of interactive media for young children, accompanied by fears about their overuse during this crucial period of rapid brain development, research in this area still remains limited. This policy statement reviews the existing literature on television, videos,...
Description: A variety of one hour professional development archived webinars focused on early intervention and early childhood topics.  These are hosted by the Division for Early Childhood and can be purchased $35.00 for non-DEC members; $25.00 for DEC members.
Description: What is  music therapy? How are children referred to music therapy services? Do music therapists conduct assessments? These are just a few of the questions that parents, educators, and allied health professionals may have when first encountering music therapy in the early childhood setting. This article provides a brief overview of music therapy and outlines the major aspects of the systematic treatment process.
Description: The US Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs provided this letter of guidance  August 1, 2016 to clarify that the failure to consider and provide for needed behavioral supports through the IEP process is likely to result in a child not receiving a meaningful educational benefit or FAPE. In addition, a failure to make behavioral supports available throughout a continuum of placements, including in a regular education setting, could result in an inappropriately...
Description: Both the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education (ED) recognize the critical role of family engagement in promoting children’s success in early childhood systems and programs. As such, both agencies have developed research-based family engagement frameworks to guide the development of effective family engagement policies and practices: HHS’s Head Start Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework and ED’s Dual Capacity-Building Framework for...
Description: The vision of the U.S. Department of Education (ED) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (hereafter known as The Departments) is that 1) all young children will have adults in their lives who are well-informed on how to use technology to support learning at various ages; and 2) all young children will have opportunities to learn, explore, play, and communicate through a multitude of approaches, including the use of technology.  The purpose of this policy brief is to:...
Description: This is a web-based toolkit to assist in identification of specific practices and strategies around transition in early childhood.Practices are defined as key elements of transition planning that are broad and global in nature and can be implemented in ways that reflect a shared understanding of the intent of the practice and are regularly and consistently implemented across staff and programs. Strategies are defined as specific program or classroom activities used to implement a...
Description: If you have just recently found out about your child’s hearing loss or know of a child who has been recently diagnosed with a hearing loss you are on the right track to finding more information for Virginia residents. Knowledge is power! Being informed in the area of deafness/hearing impairment and teaching your child or children with hearing losses to be independent is important.
Description: Virginia’s Definition (PDF) of school readiness describes the capabilities of children, families, schools and communities that promote student success in kindergarten and beyond. Each component – children, families, schools and communities – plays an essential role in developing school readiness. Ready Children are prepared socially, personally, physically and intellectually to meet literacy, mathematics, science, history/social science and developmental standards for...
Description: This manual was developed by the Virginia Department of Education and the state system of Training and Technical Assistance Centers to help local school divisions meet federal and state mandates that children with disabilities be educated in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). The manual contains 8 modules and extensive resources which provide critical information for understanding, building, supporting, and sustaining inclusive placement opportunities for young children with...
Description: The I’m Determined project, a state directed project funded by the Virginia Department of Education, focuses on providing direct instruction, models, and opportunities to practice skills associated with self-determined behavior. This project facilitates youth, especially those with disabilities to undertake a measure of control in their lives, helping to set and steer the course rather than remaining the silent passenger. There are resources and videos for Educators, Parents and...
Description: From birth, children are curious. You can build on that natural curiosity by developing their interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Use daily routines to build on skills and concepts in math and science. By talking, reading, singing, playing, signing or using other ways to communicate—whatever works best for your infant, toddler or preschooler—you can help develop her STEM skills through play and exploration. Easy ways to promote young children's natural...
Description: The following presentations are available: State of the States on Systemic Improvement Planning: A National Overview of Phase I SSIPs A National Picture: Indicator C4 Family Data for FFY 2013 Using Surveys to Understand How the Child Outcomes Summary Process is Being Implemented in Local Programs Performance Checklists for Facilitating Practitioner Use of DEC Recommended Practices A National Picture: Child Outcomes for FFY 2013-14 Session 1: Use of Fiscal Data for Budget Development and...
Description: The Virginia Family Special Education Connection Website provides Local Disability Services information for all of the Counties/Cities in the Commonwealth of Virginia. These services include: Arc (The Arc) Care Connection for Children (Health Department Program) Centers for Independent Living Child Development Services Program - Clinics Community Services Board (CSB) Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) Department of Social...
Description: The incarceration of a loved one can be very overwhelming for both children and caregivers. It can bring about big changes and transitions. In simple everyday ways, you can comfort your child and guide her through these tough moments. With your love and support she can get through anything that comes her way. Here are some tools to help you with the changes your child is going through. (Jail)
Description: People with Special Health Care Needs includes: Medical Neighborhood Care Connection for Children Bleeding Disorders Program Child Development Services Sickle Cell Programs Metabolic Formula and Food Program
Description: The School Community Network is in the business of connecting classrooms to kitchen tables. We've developed a suite of services and a Resource Library that help teams work together to evaluate and fortify family engagement practices and create learning environments — at school and at home — where students thrive. Some resources are available in Spanish.
Description: Many parents wonder what they can do to ensure that their preschooler will be successful when she enters school, especially now with so much emphasis on state testing and learning standards. Through play and everyday activities such as cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping, your young child is acquiring the information and skills needed to learn more difficult skills, including how to read, write, and solve problems. This guide is meant to help you understand that the...
Description: Finding and safely recovering a missing child with autism presents unique and difficult challenges for families, law enforcement, first responders and search teams. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has special search protocols and checklists to help first responders.
Description: The following are implementation resources that correlate to evidenced based practices as identified by the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, http://autismpdc.fpg.unc.edu/. The resources listed are available for check-out in every Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance (T-TAC) lending library.