Early Childhood SIG


The Early Childhood Special Interest Group at AUCD provides information to Network members on critical issues related to early childhood.  The EC SIG Co-Chairs are Mary Beth Bruder and Corry Robinson.


News and Resources



Request for Applications: AUCD-funded Pilot Study Using Administrative Data to Evaluate "Child Find" Early Identification Systems

This project will support evaluation of Child Find activities in 1-2 states using existing administrative data from the state early intervention (Part C) program and at least one other early childhood program such as preschool special education (Part B of IDEA), Medicaid, and developmental screening registries or a data system that already includes linked data from the Part C program and other early childhood programs.



Mailman Center for Child Development's Families First Program: The Impact of a Community-Based Program on Parenting

The University of Miami's Families First Program, funded by The Children's Trust since 2004, delivers free parenting services to at-risk families with children ages birth to 3 throughout Miami-Dade County. Goals include building resources for parents, strengthening families, promoting optimal child health and development and reducing parental stress. Families First partners with over 20 community organizations including childcare facilities, places of worship and healthcare sites to offer two evidence-based/best practice parenting groups in English and Spanish at times and locations convenient to families. Baby & Me, developed by the University of Miami's Perinatal C.A.R.E., is a ten-session curriculum for parents and their infants ages birth to 12 months.



The Ohio State University Nisonger Center's Early Learning Program Collaborates with Early Head Start

The Early Learning Program at the Nisonger Center just received an expansion to collaboration with Early Head Start; they will be providing social-emotional, developmental, and behavioral supports for an increased number of children/families, and will be hiring a social worker to assist their existing staff with these activities.



Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) TRIAD and TEIS Partnership Continues, Expands Early Intervention Services

The Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) has renewed its contract with Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) to continue and expand a partnership with Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS). The $4 million grant will continue to be driven by a shared mission to facilitate quick access to high quality early assessment and intervention services.



NH-ME LEND Trainees Display Scholarship and Leadership in 2021 Capstone Poster Session

On May 7, 2021, twenty-four trainees from the 2020-2021 New Hampshire-Maine Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (NH-ME LEND) Program shared their scholarship and leadership development during the annual Capstone Poster Session and Celebration. In keeping with federal and state Centers for Disease Control (CDC) health and safety guidance, the event was held online. For the second year in a row, the trainees remotely collaborated with faculty mentors and leadership partners to complete their capstone projects throughout Maine and New Hampshire.



RETAIN Kentucky Receives Grant to Expand Services

The UK Human Development Institute will collaborate with the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation to implement the $21.6 million RETAIN Kentucky award from the US Department of Labor to deliver return-to-work/stay-at-work services through strategic partnerships, early intervention strategies, and innovative support services for people who have acquired an injury or illness outside of the workplace that makes it difficult to work.



Koeller Named WKU Child Studies 2021 Alumnus of the Year

Stephanie Koeller, a Professional Development Coach at Child Care Aware of Kentucky / University of Kentucky Human Development Institute has been named WKU Child Studies 2021 Alumnus of the Year. Stephanie has been a great leader and advocate for children during her more than two decades of service in the early childhood community.



UC Davis MIND Institute Takes Its Social Skills Group Online

The UC Davis MIND Institute has offered Social Skills Groups for children, preteens, teens, and young adults since 2001. Traditionally, groups ran for 25 weeks, and catered to 8-15 children at a time. Groups were offered for children (ages 8-10), tweens (ages 11-13), and teens (ages 14-17).



MI-DDI Manuscript Accepted for Publication to Developmental Disabilities Network Journal

Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute (MI-DDI) is excited to announce that the manuscript, Assessing and Mitigating Risk for Applied Behavior Analysis Providers During a Pandemic, has been accepted for publication to the Developmental Disabilities Network Journal! The manuscript was written by Krista Clancy, Ph.D., LBA, Josh Plavnick, Ph.D., LBA, and Sharon Milberger, Sc.D. in response to the report, Risk Assessment and Mitigation Strategies for Applied Behavior Analysis: Treatment of Children with Autism During a Pandemic, published in July 2020.



Building Resilience in Families with Young Children

The Act Early COVID-19 Response Teams are working to bolster the 4 steps of early identification of developmental delays and disabilities and to improve resiliency among families with young children during COVID-19 response and mitigation efforts. As one strategy to achieve these goals, the New Jersey team leads, Deepa Srinivasavaradan (Act Early Ambassador) and Caroline Coffield (NJLEND/UCEDD) along with Stephanie Michael (NJLEND Trainee), authored an article, Building Resilience: Resources to Help Families Grow from Challenging Times, featured in the 2021 Guide of Exceptional Parent magazine.



Current and Former LEND Trainees Provide Unique EI Services Through the FOCUS Program

As the New Mexico LEND cohort liaison to the Emerging Leaders Community, I had the opportunity to interview Una Vicenti and Laura Hawkey of the FOCUS program. Vicenti is an Occupational Therapist and Director of Early Intervention Services and Laura works as a Family Service Coordinator and developmental specialist within the program. Hawkey is a current LEND trainee and Vicenti is a LEND fellow. Vicenti reported that 3 other employees at FOCUS, including the program director, are LEND fellows.



Mailman Center for Child Development Faculty Awarded Dual Grants to Improve Language Skills for Children with Hearing Loss

Investigators Dr. Lynn Perry and Dr. Daniel Messinger at the University of Miami College of Arts and Sciences Department of Psychology have been awarded federal funding to study the development of children with hearing loss at the University of Miami's Debbie Institute, which is affiliated with Mailman Center for Child Development. Children with hearing loss are less likely to read at grade-level than their typically hearing peers'a gap that exists as early as preschool.

Miya R. Asato MD


Two LENDS Collaborate to Help Trainees

By Jennifer Drummond

Striving to train the next generation of child and maternal healthcare leaders is more than a slogan for Va-LEND (Virginia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities). It is an ideal, which includes innovative ways to make training more effective. One such example is the collaboration between another LEND program.



Preschool During the Pandemic: Early Childhood Education in Extraordinary Times

It's been said that "necessity is the mother of invention". When the pandemic struck last year, practitioners in early education and early childhood special education, and parents came together to support young children and their families through remote service delivery. This multi-part video series, produced by Larry Edelman and sponsored by the Early Childhood Technical Assistance center (ECTA) features preschool staff and families from five states and illustrates their working together to use technology to make the virtual learning experience exciting, effective and engaging for young children.



Supporting Families and Systems that Serve Young Children through the Act Early Response to COVID-19

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) has expanded its National Center on Disability in Public Health efforts with an investment of over $4M in the Act Early Network through an Act Early Network-wide Response to COVID-19 made possible by a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 43 State and Territorial Act Early COVID-19 Response Teams were awarded a one-year (September 2020-August 2021) grant opportunity for Support for Early Childhood State Systems Through the Act Early Network.



#WhatsYourPurpose2021 Youth Transition Campaign

The Institute for Disability Studies (IDS) Transition to Adulthood Programs announce a new 2021 campaign, #WhatsYourPurpose2021. Throughout the year, transition leaders including youth/young adults with and without disabilities, their family members and those that serve them will be featured in short videos and social media posts promoting transition successes and challenging others to pursue their goals. Each video and post will highlight young adults and members of their support networks sharing their future life purposes.



Act Early Ohio Initiative

The UCCEDD was awarded a one-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to build upon existing Ohio Act Early Ambassador activities. The goal of the initiative is to increase awareness about the importance of developmental screening in early childhood and tracking of developmental milestones with the support of the evidence-based Learn the Signs Act Early materials developed by the CDC.


Past Events

Division for Early Childhood's 37th Annual International Conference on Young Children with Disabilities and their Families

Division for Early Childhood's 37th Annual International Conference on Young Children with Disabilities and their Families  Copy to Calendar

Monday, September 20, 2021
1:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. ET
Location: Virtual

Join the Division for Early Childhood for a two-part Special Federal Event on September 20th, 2021! This two-part event is free to attend. Everyone, conference attendees and non-attendees alike, please register to attend live OR register to receive the recordings.

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"Learn the Signs. Act Early." in Health Center Settings  Copy to Calendar

Wednesday, August 18, 2021
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET
Location: Zoom Webinar

This quarter's Act Early Network Webinar will highlight the work of pediatricians to integrate "Learn the Signs. Act Early." resources and tools into their surveillance and screening practices within Federally Qualified Health Center settings. Federally Qualified Health Centers are community-based health providers that receive funds from the Human Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) Health Center Program to provide primary care services in underserved areas.

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Supporting Teachers' Use of Assistive Technology in Early Childhood: Lessons Learned in a Post-Pandemic World

Supporting Teachers' Use of Assistive Technology in Early Childhood: Lessons Learned in a Post-Pandemic World  Copy to Calendar

Tuesday, June 22, 2021
3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. ET
Location: Zoom Meeting

In this webinar, presenters will discuss lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic to modify a professional development program designed to support early childhood educators in using assistive technology with young children with disabilities. Following a brief overview of the core features of our coaching model, presenters will discuss responsiveness to the needs of both parents and educators as they pivoted to using AT for remote learning. The presentation will highlight unique challenges, unexpected benefits, key takeaways, and implications for the future of AT training in a virtual world.

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EC efforts are funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities through technical assistance contract #Contract #HHSP23320110016YC. The contents of this page do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Community Living, US Department of Health and Human Services, or the US Government.