Fall 2006 Message from the President

Presidents Message

This newsletter should find you in the midst of fall festivities! With the KDEC annual conference, just around the corner, this newsletter holds much information for you – our members!

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the annual KDEC Conference! As we look to our past and towards our future, we will celebrate all that Kansas has accomplished in the field of early childhood. In addition to statewide contributions, many of our KDEC members past and present have gone on to make significant national contributions to the field of early childhood. Please make plans to celebrate with us February 22-23, 2007 in Wichita! Keep checking the web site for conference updates at www.kdec.org

I would like to invite you to join me in saying good-bye and thank you to our out-going officers. Jennifer Tasset completed a four-year term in the president “track”. Jennifer is Child Services Manager for Arrowhead West, Inc. and serves as their Infant Toddler Services Coordinator. Jennifer Oborny, Secretary, completes a two year term. Jennifer is an ECSE teacher for Barton County Special Services. Both of these women did an outstanding job of representing our organization.

With every door that closes, another opens… please join me in saying “welcome” to our new officers! Deanna Peterson joins us as Vice President. Teri Varuska joins us as Secretary.

Dale Walker moves into the President position this year. Dale did a wonderful job of planning last year’s conference. We extend our gratitude. This year’s conference chair duties belong to our President Elect, Gayle Stuber. Gayle highlights her plans later in this newsbrief.

As always, I encourage you to check the DEC website for current policy issue information as well as best practice recommendations and more! www.dec-sped.org. The public policy section has up to date information about IDEA, what’s happening in Washington, and more.

In closing, I am proud to say that KDEC is a strong professional organization. As I transition into the role of Past President, I look back with gratitude for the opportunity to serve as an officer of this organization for four years. I ask that each of you make a commitment to KDEC this year by supporting the organization through participation in our annual conference and encouraging colleagues to join us! Please consider what contributions you could make to KDEC and make it your goal to be involved. Your continued involvement keeps our subdivision strong, resourceful, and innovative in our field.

We look forward to seeing you in Wichita!

Peggy Miksch, President

A Message for KDEC Membership

KDEC 2007 Conference

The KDEC 2007 conference is coming up. This year, the KDEC annual conference, “Making Beautiful Music Together” will be held in Wichita, Kansas at the Hilton Wichita Airport Hotel February 22nd - 23rd, 2007. This is a special conference—twenty-five years of service by KDEC so please come celebrate with us. We have two keynote speakers who will bring two perspectives to the focus of our conference: collaboration. Kathie Snow who will challenge us to think differently. She challenges conventional wisdom and encourages us to adopt new ways of thinking about disability issues. Kathie believes each person who has been labeled has strengths, gifts, and talents, and when we focus on those – instead of the diagnosis – great outcomes are possible! Join us for proactive questions, positive solutions, and innovative thinking, mixed with humor and real-life experiences. Our second keynote speaker is Bongo Barry Bernstein who will help us ‘learn with a beat’ by creating rhythmic connections for learning. This session will be fun—and give us the challenge of connecting music, rhythm, curriculum and brain-based learning.

Along with many excellent presentations from state and local level professionals, we also have exhibits from the publishers of assessments that are a part of the OSEP Early Childhood Outcomes work. This will be an opportunity to review several assessments and curricula.

Gayle Stuber is the Conference Chair, and she is working closely with the conference committee to put together a special conference. We received many quality submissions and have notified presenters. Thank you to all those who submitted proposals!

You may register for the conference at www.kdec.org. Hotel reservations can be accessed at www.kdec.org. Directions to the Hilton Wichita Airport Hotel are included in this NEWSBRIEF.

We Welcome Membership Involvement at the 2007 Conference!

Are you friendly, outgoing and willing to make a difference by assisting your fellow KDEC members? If you answered “YES,” then we need you to join the ranks of other KDEC members who volunteer their time to ensure that the Kansas Division for Early Childhood continues to be the most informative, educational and inspiring event year after year.

Volunteering is a great way to meet and get to know other early childhood professionals, plus you will be doing something to help your member organization. Various tasks that are available include: help at the registration desk, assistance with hosting sessions, and other adventures! For more information and to apply for a volunteer position, contact us at www.conferencechair@kdec.org
We hope you will attend the exciting events planned this year and look forward to seeing each of you at the conference.

Kansas Division For Early Childhood – Board Nominations

The Nominations and Elections Committee of KDEC is soliciting recommendations from the membership for the offices of Vice President and Treasurer beginning July 2007. Self-nomination is encouraged. The Vice President Position requires a commitment of 4 years with a rotation of 1 year each in the positions of Vice-President, President-Elect, President, and Past-President. The Treasurer position requires a two-year commitment. All nominees must be current KDEC members at the time of nomination and throughout the commitment and nominations must be received by December 20, 2006. Please email or send your nominations (name, position, address, phone, e-mail, and your name) to: KDEC nominations Committee, c/o Peggy Miksch, 40627 Hwy K99, Wamego, KS 66547, Phone: 785-456-8881, e-mail: pmiksch@ku.edu.

2006 KDEC Mini Grant Awards

Congratulations to the following applicants who were awarded $500 from KDEC:

Pam Epley, Judith Gross, Hy Ran Park, Luchara Sayles Wallace
Graduate Students
University of Kansas Beach Center on Disability
Website/Media Development for Family Outcomes Website

Jane Eby, Advanced Doctoral Student in Community Psychology, WSU
Debbie Mai, Director of Programs and Services, Rainbows United, Inc.
“Individualized Family Service Plan Videotape/DVD for Parent”

Nathan Woodward, Pre-Dentistry Student, Pittsburg State University
Sheri Womeldorff, Interlocal #637
Oral Health Curriculum for Children with Autism

Northern Valley Schools, Roger W. Lowry, Superintendent
Early Literacy Take-Home Packs

KDEC Award Nominations

The KDEC Awards Committee NEEDS nominations from the field for five special awards to recognize individuals who have made important contributions to the field of early childhood special education/early intervention. Now is the time to give recognition to those who deserve it within our field. The five categories of awards include:

Outstanding Contributor Award

This award honors an individual who has made significant contributions to early intervention in Kansas. This award is open to members as well as nonmembers. Persons who might be considered could include family members, legislators, physicians, educators, and any individuals providing services to young children and their families.

Direct Service Provider Award

This award is presented to a current DEC/KDEC member who has made significant contributions to young children with exceptionalities and their families. The candidate for this award should have less than ten years of direct service in the field. This award honors those who are beginning their career and have made exemplary contributions in their local area.

Award of Excellence

This award honors an individual who has made significant contributions in the following areas of early intervention: publications, research, development of new concepts, approaches or programs, new techniques for diagnosis or rehabilitation, improved psychological or education evaluation procedures, improved administrative procedures, practical application of improved teaching devices, and dynamic leadership

Distinguished Service Provider Award

This award is presented to a current DEC/KDEC member who has demonstrated exemplary performance over a period of at least ten years as a direct service provider and is recognized by members of the profession as someone who demonstrates innovativeness, imagination, creativity, and the ability to inspire. This person must be a member in good standing both currently and for at least the previous five years.

Outstanding Student DEC Member Award

This award is presented to a current full time student member of DEC/KDEC who has contributed a great deal of time, energy, or support to early childhood special education. This can include activities within their Student CEC Chapter and/or to children who are exceptional and their families.

Please take a few moments of your time to nominate a candidate for one or more of these awards. Awards will be presented at annual KDEC conference February 22-23 2007 in Wichita. Nominating an individual simply involves filling out a nomination form. This form can be found on the on the following page or at www.kdec.org. Contact Peggy Miksch, Past President at (785-456-8811) or email: pmiksch@ku.edu with any questions.

KDEC Awards Nomination Form

All nominations must be in writing and must include the nominee’s vita/resume, a cover letter describing the individual’s worthiness for receiving the award, and a minimum of one letter of recommendation (outside of the nominator).

Category individual is being nominated for:

___Outstanding Student
___Direct Service Provider
___Distinguished Service Provider
___Award of Excellence
___Outstanding Contributor

Name of Nominee:________________________________________________________

KDEC ID Number:________________________________________________________

Home Address:________________________________________________________

Home Phone:__________________________________________________________

Name and Address of Nominee’s school or agency (if employed)


Nominee’s Current Position:______________________________________________________

Number of years of experience: Current position______ Total years______

Nominator Completing This Form





NOMINATIONS DUE: January 15, 2007

Please submit by mail or an email attachment and forward to:

Peggy Miksch
Past President
41673 Hwy K99
Wamego, Kansas 66547

Questions? 785-456-8881

Meet the New KDEC Board Members

Office of Secretary

My name is Teri Varuska and I’m looking forward to serving on the KDEC board as secretary. I am currently the Program Coordinator for Educare, a full day, inclusive preschool program, operated through the Department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas. I have been in this position for 7 years. I received both a B.A. and M.A. degree in Human Development from KU with an emphasis in early childhood education. After graduation I worked as the Education and Disability Coordinator for ECKAN Head Start and was in this position for 8 years before taking the position at KU. Recently I completed the requirements for a M.S.Ed. degree with an emphasis in early childhood special education. Currently I am certified in early childhood and early childhood special education. I was interested in becoming more involved in an early childhood organization and I felt it would be a good learning experience to be part of the KDEC board.

Student Representative

My name is Sara Corbin and I’m excited to begin a new role as student representative for KDEC. I am currently in my third year in the Clinical Child Psychology Program at the University of Kansas and am so thankful to have another avenue in which to explore how children develop - especially the little bitty ones. There is something magical about children in general, but most of all about children in the infant to preschool age range. These are the years (so few!!) in which the foundations are laid for who those children will grow to become. And that is the power of the difference we can make as we work with very young children. I look forward to serving on this board to increase the participation of students in KDEC so that we continue to make an impact on the field.

KDEC Focus on Membership

The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) is an international professional organization designed for professionals and families associated with infants and young children with special needs. It was formed as a division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) in 1973. The Kansas Division for Early Childhood (KDEC) is a state subdivision of the International Division for Early Childhood and began in 1982. Our subdivision is seeking persons to be part of this organization. By joining, you will receive the benefits of numerous publications (Young Exceptional Children, Teaching Exceptional Children, Exceptional Children, and Journal of Early Intervention). KDEC also provides the opportunity to interact, collaborate, and communicate with others in the field; be informed on innovations in research, policy, best practices, and currents issues; and be eligible for reduced rates at the KDEC annual conference. New members may contact Ginny Butts, KDEC Membership Chair at membership@kdec.org or call 620-326-8906, ext. 224 for an application. Or, for easier and quicker membership, visit the Council for Exceptional Children at www.cec.sped.org. Please consider joining our organization and supporting the children and families around the state. If you are already a member, share this information with a colleague and invite them to check out the DEC website at http://www.dec-sped.org/index.html for more information about the benefits of membership.

Student Membership

The Kansas Division for Early Childhood (KDEC) would like to extend an invitation to currently enrolled early childhood/early childhood special education university students to join our organization as student members. The benefits are HUGE for the dues required. CEC, DEC, and KDEC provide many opportunities for you to become involved with the organization, and also support you as a student and a future early childhood professional. CEC's continuing education programs provide current news, state-of-the-art resources, and new ways of reaching students. CEC also provides you with essential training programs, materials, planning, and continuing education opportunities.

A student must first be a member of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) for a dues amount of $63.00, and then additionally join the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) for the amount of $25. That means for a total dues amount of $88.00, a student will receive the following:

Teaching Exceptional Children (6 issues per year)
Exceptional Children (4 issues per year)
CEC Today (7 issues per year)
Journal of Early Intervention (4 issues per year)
Young Exceptional Children (4 issues per year)

Student members of CEC and DEC automatically are members of KDEC. In addition to the five different journals that are received during the year, student members have access to Student Educator Professional Liability Insurance for the low cost of $15 per year. The policy is the
same as that offered to professional members, but does not include job protection benefits. As each student needs this during their practicum experiences, this insurance is available to student members at this low yearly cost. Student members also have reduced conference rates for national, regional, and state meetings. Please find out more about the benefits on the CEC website.

If you are currently a student member, please share this information with your peers and encourage them to join you in this professional organization. If you are a regular CEC/DEC member but have the opportunity to encourage a student to join KDEC through CEC/DEC, please do so. You will find opportunities to have a voice in public policy, and to become a part of a large network of local, national and international expertise and knowledge. Also, ask DEC or dec@dec-sped.org, is a great resource for students when looking to find answers to questions about young children with special needs.

This is a wonderful opportunity for upcoming practitioners to join their national and state organizations, and participate in future policy development and best practice in the field of early childhood/early childhood special education.


Sara Corbin
KDEC Student Representative, University of Kansas

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News from the State and Beyond

Legislative Alert

The School Readiness Project is in its second year and has added teachers from the Four Year Old At-Risk program to the Kindergarten teachers who participated last year along with some new Kindergarten teachers. Results from last year will be written up in a final document and available mid-December on several early childhood websites, including the KDEC website. The 2006-07 results should be especially helpful to early childhood special education teachers since many of ‘your’ children are located in four year old at-risk classrooms.
The Early Learning Guidelines and Standards are in their final editing and will be ready to go to the printers by the end of November. For updates on the status, email Gayle Stuber at gstuber @ksde.org

DEC International Conference Highlights

The Division of Early Childhood (DEC) 22nd Annual International Conference on Young Children with Special Needs and Their Families, “Advancing Knowledge, Enhancing Opportunities” was held in October in Little Rock, Arkansas. The conference featured many excellent and stimulating sessions. Some highlights of the DEC conference included the opening session recognizing the work on the DEC Recommended Practices in which Dr. Mark Wolery reminded attendees about the importance of looking at how well and how much we employ recommended practices to make sure that the young children and families we serve are indeed receiving quality services as intended. There were many excellent workshop opportunities covering topics such as, mental health in inclusive programs, strategies for supporting school readiness, bilingual issues, assessment and curriculum. Conference and poster sessions were exceptional and covered topics including, professional development, assessment and strengths-based intervention, challenging behaviors, evidence-based practices, embedded instruction, transition, and innovative teaching strategies to decrease problem behaviors. There were numerous presentations made by KDEC members at the national conference.

If you have questions about the KDEC NEWSBRIEF contact us at newsletter@kdec.org

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