Fall 2012 Message from the President

Hello everyone,

Yes, this is the President's message spot. I can give you statistics on the past conference attendance, ask you to consider joining the KDEC Board as an officer, or tell you how things are going in the world of KDEC*. Though all are important, today I want to do two other things.

First, and most important, say "thank you." Thank you for making the decision to become a teacher, early intervention specialist, administrator, or other professional and for devoting so much or your life to being selfless givers to infants, toddlers and young children with disabilities and their families. Your contributions are immeasurable and are so very important. You do make a difference.

Second, I want to ask: Why do you do what you do? I think your responses can brighten someone's day, become a motivational "yes" moment for a student trying to decide whether to join the world of early intervention/special education, or simply help someone else in the field say, "Yes!" "That's why I'm here." Let me know your thoughts/responses. I would like to include them in future newsletters and use them for motivational posters to place in the 2013 KDEC conference area. And…again…thank you for doing this.

See you on February 28th – March 1st at the Wichita Airport Hilton/Double Tree. Check the conference agenda for the KDEC membership meeting time. Be sure to be there to help us make important decisions about officers, by-laws, etc.

Take care, enjoy the upcoming holiday season and be safe.

Carolyn Nelson
President Kansas Division for Early Childhood

*If you want information about these topics, please feel free to make a request via my email address jn-cn@msn.com


Dr. Robin McWilliam photo

Mark your calendars and plan to attend the 31st Annual Kansas Division for Early Childhood (KDEC) Conference February 28 – March 1, 2013 at the Wichita Airport Hilton, Wichita, Kansas. This year's theme for the conference is "Survive and Thrive In Uncertain Times".

To be able to "Survive and Thrive In Uncertain Times", we all know that the quality of education is constantly on our minds. As we are working with parents and children, direct service providers and families, direct service providers and their colleagues, special educators and regular educators, is very important that we have a tool box full of techniques and strategies that provide effective developmental interventions for young children and their families. We hope to see many of you in Wichita on February 28th and March 1st for some great networking with your colleagues as we feature Robin McWilliam.

Dr. McWilliam is one of the nation's leaders in recommended practices in early intervention and early childhood special education. He has traveled to 48 states to help improve policies and services for young children with disabilities and their families. He has also consulted and taught overseas, particularly, since the 1990s, in Portugal. Components of his model for home- and community-based services, Routines-Based Early Intervention, have been adopted by numerous states and local programs, and his Engagement Classroom Model, based on research conducted with Amy Casey, is an evidence-based model for effective classroom practices. Dr. McWilliam has published six books and many scholarly articles. He runs the Routines-Based Interview Certification Institute every year. At Siskin Children's Institute, a nonprofit organization in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Dr. McWilliam is the Director of the Center for Child and Family Research and the Siskin Endowed Chair of Research in Early Childhood Education, Intervention, and Development. He also has an appointment as Professor of Education at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Earlier positions included Professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Senior Investigator at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Most important, Dr. McWilliam is a husband, father, and grandfather.

Working with English Language Learners
Claudia Shannon, MA CCC-S Special Education Coordinator

Due to the ethnic, cultural and linguistic makeup of this country steadily changing over the past decades, all educators including special educators and speech-language pathologists are needing to use strategies that are most effective for all learners which includes many who speak non-mainstream dialects of English. In the United States, racial and ethnic projections will increase to over 30% of the total population. According to the November 1, 2011. ASHA Leader, the number of foreign-born residents is projected to rise from 31 million in 2000 to 48 million in 2025. The Hispanic population alone is projected to triple by mid-century.

First of all, there is a need to develop a cultural competence that includes being sensitive to cultural and linguistic differences that affect the identification, assessment, treatment and management of communication disorders and differences. We need to be aware of personal biases and respect the differences of each child and their family. We need to be knowledgeable of assimilation and/or acculturation processes on management of communication disorders/differences. Appropriate intervention, assessment strategies and materials must include food, objects, and/or activities that don't violate the student's values and may form a bridge between the home and school environments. An understanding of sociolinguistic and cultural influences helps us to be able to distinguish typical and disordered language of students. Cultures may vary in discourse norms including what may be appropriate "eye contact, physical proximity, touching, or use technology for communication.

There may be a need to identify appropriate teams who speak native or near-native proficiency in the language spoken by the student and family. If you don't have a native or near-native proficient person then familiarize yourself with the features and developmental characteristics of the language. The internet is a great resource for characteristics of differing cultures and languages. Gather information on the sociolinguistic features of the student's significant cultural and linguistic influences. You may need to develop collaborative relationships with interpreters from the community or utilize family members. Learn the stages of second language acquisition so you can support the language learning process.

When teaching second language learners remember to always have a visual reference to the vocabulary that is being taught. Use pictures or realia, to make a connection for the learner. Also it takes many repetitions for someone to learn a new work. In summary, multi sensory connections to the context will help all learners to learn new information. The bottom line is that good, research-based teaching strategies will also be perfect for English language learners.

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