|Autism and the Importance of Assessment in Early Childhood Education
It did not take long for the CDC's latest statistics on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to create a nationwide stir. News outlets focused on the alarming increase in the rate of ASD diagnosis, showing 1 in 88 children (including 1 in 54 boys) with mild to severe ASD. The report also reveals interesting data about possible causes and risk factors, including parent age and co-occurrence of genetic or other developmental disorders. Above all, the data shows that autism is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
As a result, researchers, educators, caregivers, and policymakers are focusing more intently than ever on developing effective, individualized treatments, as opposed to chasing a "cure" for something that affects everyone differently. And effective treatment (an ongoing, lifelong process) begins with the assessment and evaluation of individual needs.
The latest studies also confirm what many professionals with first-hand experience already understand: the overwhelming majority of children diagnosed with ASD do NOT have intellectual disabilities. But there is no ultimate, all-encompassing test to determine exactly where a child falls on the "spectrum" of autistic disorders, or what he needs in terms of instruction and guidance. At one end of the spectrum, you'll find conditions like Asperger disorder: a high-functioning form of autism affecting social interactions, which is typically diagnosed after age 6. On the other end, you may find a severely autistic child with a co-occurrence of Down syndrome. In between, you can find millions of children with varying skills, interests, and talents, as well as a wide range of special needs waiting to be discovered through ongoing assessment and evaluation.
With autism in the early childhood environment, assessment is instruction. All caregivers are involved in the constant questioning process: What works? What doesn't work? What triggers certain behaviors? What makes the child happy? With autism, there may never be final answers to any of these questions. The evaluation process is ongoing, and the methods and tools may be different for each child.
With the right combination of love and guidance, most children with ASD will grow up to be productive, capable, independent, satisfied adults. Diagnosis and intervention between ages 3 and 5 is shown to greatly increase these positive outcomes.
Autism presents many new challenges as well as new opportunities in the early childhood profession. Whether you pursue a career as a district ASD specialist or as a regular classroom teacher, autism will almost certainly have a noticeable impact on your job. The latest statistics suggest that every early childhood educator should be prepared to work with autistic children. Therefore, everyone involved needs to understand the crucial role of ongoing assessment and evaluation in a child's life.
|Autism Resources: Assessment Procedures
Sponsored by the California Departments of Education and Developmental Services
As more young children are diagnosed with ASD, the demand for autism specialists will continue to increase faster than the demand for most other types of teachers. Specialists are needed at all stages of the diagnosis and treatment process-and sometimes in all stages of life-and there are many possible career paths. In particular, there is increasing need for professionals to select and administer screenings and ongoing assessments in order to help teachers and parents maintain an effective individualized instruction plan (IEP) for each child.
Click the link below for a comprehensive (but not exhaustive) list of assessment and diagnostic resources. As you will see, there are dozens of possibilities, but only certain ones are right for certain children. This list illustrates the wide ranging areas for specialization within the field of autism research and education.
Resource Courtesy of Reinforcement Unlimited: Clinical and Behavioral Consultants
Assessment in Special Education Series
Welcome to NASET's Assessment in Special Education Series. This is an education resource that focuses on the process used to determine a child's specific learning strengths and needs, and to determine whether or not a child is eligible for special education services. Assessment in special education is a process that involves collecting information about a student for the purpose of making decisions. Assessment, also known as evaluation, can be seen as a problem-solving process...
Assessment Courtesy of National Association of Special Education Teachers
Understanding and Choosing Assessments and Developmental Screeners for Young Children Ages 3 - 5: Profiles of Selected Measures
By: Halle, T., Zaslow, M., Wessel, J., Moodie, S., and Darling-Churchill, K.
The following report, prepared by Child Trends in conjunction with the federal Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation, provides an important overview of commonly used assessments and screeners as required by Head Start. Most of the major developmental screeners (beginning on page 94 of the report) include accommodations and adaptations for children diagnosed with autism and children with possible but undiagnosed ASD.
Report Courtesy of the Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, and Child Trends
Storytelling Course Provides Enrichment, Early Literacy Skills, and Fun!
ChildCare Education Institute is proud to announce the addition of LIT100: Storytelling for Enrichment, Early Literacy, and Fun! to the child care training course catalog. The new online storytelling course provides comprehensive guidance for incorporating storytelling into the early childhood environment. Participants will learn why storytelling is important for young children, as well as strategies for effective storytelling and rich follow-up activities such as group discussion and playacting to promote self-expression and critical thinking skills. Different forms of storytelling, essential story elements, and ways to improve children's vocabulary and language skills are also covered within the course. "Storytelling is often viewed as a special treat for young children, but it can be a highly effective tool for building early literacy," says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI.
|Take Renewal Coursework from CCEI at $100 Off the Regular Price!|
Whether you've let your CDA expire or have an upcoming expiration date, take advantage of CCEI's offer and take CDA renewal coursework at a discount. Sign up for the CCEI Online CDA Renewal Program through June 30, 2012 and save $100! Enjoy this limited time offer from CCEI in support of The Council for Professional Recognition's CDA Amnesty Program, which allows all CDA graduates after January 2002 the opportunity to renew in 2012. CCEI's program allows students up to six months for completion. Upon completion of CCEI CDA Renewal coursework, students will have met the 4.5 CEU training component needed to renew a CDA credential with The Council for Professional Recognition.
New Toddler Curriculum Training Course Enhances the Early Care Experience
ChildCare Education Institute is proud to announce the addition of The Toddler Curriculum to the online child care training course catalog. CCEI's new online course, The Toddler Curriculum, is designed specifically for early childhood professionals who work with toddlers, a group that typically includes children between twelve and thirty-six months of age. The course covers basic information about appropriate, effective curriculum; recommended guidance and teaching practices; appropriate materials and design elements in the learning environment; and effective strategies for working and communicating with parents. "CCEI coursework serves educators in child care centers and schools serving children from birth through age eight," says Maria C. Taylor, President and CEO of CCEI. "With the introduction of so many new Infant and Toddler programs, particularly in Head Start, coursework of this kind can provide key information for those working with children during this particularly formative, and sometimes challenging, developmental phase."
Take Autism Training in Support of National Autism Awareness Month
CCEI offers new users the trial course SPN101: Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders at no cost during April, in recognition of "National Autism Awareness Month." SPN101 introduces ASD and the characteristics of children who are diagnosed with various disorders within this group. The course also offers classroom strategies that support students with various types of ASD, as well as ways in which educators can support and work with families. SPN101 is available at no cost to trial users and account holders with an active, annual individual or center-based subscription. This course is also available for purchase through online enrollment.
Congratulations to Allison Miller for successfully completing CCEI's Child Development Associate (CDA) Certificate!
Allison began her career in early childhood education a few years ago as a prekindergarten teacher, and is now employed as a director at a child care center. The children at Allison's center enjoy playing at free-choice center stations, and she loves seeing the looks of pride on their faces when they've completed a task they didn't believe they could. Allison also appreciates getting to know each child and family individually.
In her spare time, Allison enjoys reading and traveling. Allison currently receives her professional development through a center-based training subscription, and plans to further her education with a director credential. Allison recommends CCEI to anyone and says, "It's a great online training portal. I highly recommend any of the classes listed for directors and center management staff. They are chocked full of great ideas on how to get your center noticed out in the community as well as internal marketing ideas for current families. We also use CCEI for all of our teaching staff to help improve and hone their skills."
Congratulations, Allison! CCEI is proud to call you a graduate!
|Individual Professional Development Subscriptions for only $99 per year! |
CCEI offers over 100 IACET CEU-awarded child care training online courses that meet continuing education requirements. CCEI has professional development offerings in English and Spanish, and courses are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year from any computer with Internet access.
Center-Based Subscriptions are a great way for directors to manage and administer continuing education for staff members. CCEI's Center-Based Subscriptions, available for small and large centers, allow directors to provide training for as little as $20 per teacher for the entire year!
|Online CDA Coursework|
CCEI's Online CDA Certificate programs of study meet the clock-hour training requirement of The Council for Professional Recognition, which is needed in order to apply for the Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. CCEI's CDA Certificate programs focus on the six CDA Competency Goals established by The Council and contain the required hours in each of the eight specified content areas.
Online Director Programs
CCEI offers several online programs for directors including the CCEI Director's Certificate, the Online National Administrator Credential (Online NAC
) Certificate approved by the National Child Care Association (NCCA), and the Texas Director's Certificate. These programs provide the professional development required for early childhood professionals seeking to further their skills and knowledge in the management of a child care center. Each student receives support from an Education Coach (EC).
CCEI Early Childhood Credential
The CCEI Early Childhood Credential is designed to give a basic framework of early childhood theory and application through online content-based coursework, reading assignments, practical application exercises, essays, parent interviews, classroom observation and oral and written exams. The instructional units and the 180 hours of coursework cover major topics in early childhood education including the Principles of Child Growth and Development; Safe, Healthy Environments; Social and Emotional Development; Motor, Language, and Cognitive Development; Principles of Child Assessment; Program Management, Families, and Professionalism. The credential awards 18 IACET CEUs, and is recognized by NAEYC to meet a part of the Alternative Pathways for directors to achieve educational qualifications. The ECC is a clear pathway toward higher education and raising the knowledge and skills of the early education workforce.
CCEI coursework is eligible for college credit through articulation with one of CCEI's articulation partners, and has received college credit recommendations by the National College Credit Recommendation Service (National CCRS), which has more than 1,500 schools willing to consider credit. Contact Admissions at 1.800.499.9907, or visit the ChildCare Education Institute website for more information or to enroll online.
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