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A Pediatric Perspective

Reflections on Early Childhood Educators

Published November 14, 2012 12:27 PM by Cecilia Cruse
Last week I attended the National Association of Young Children (NAEYC) annual conference held in Atlanta, GA.  Thousands of Early Childhood (EC) educators, administrators and other related support staff were in attendance this year.  In my interactions with the attendees, I couldn't help but be impressed and heartened by the awareness and experience that most EC professionals now have with children with special needs.  Although there were many I spoke with that were in special education, most of the teachers I met  were working in a general education environment (day care, pre-school, Headstart etc.) yet all seemed to have some knowledge and experience with children with special needs, especially those on the spectrum.   Early in my career as a school OT, children in special ed were bussed from all points of the county into 1 separate building of an elementary school where I worked. (Ok...yes I am giving away my age as this was back in the days of PL 94-142!).  Back then most teachers, especially those in EC settings had little if any interaction with a child with autism, CP, TBI or other issues.  How far we have come with inclusion services and building awareness and acceptance of our kids with special needs!   As our Congress now works frantically toward coming together to avoid the fiscal cliff dilemma, I do hope that the advancements and funding (IDEA may be slashed by over $900 million if no agreement is reached) made in our educational services over the past 30 years will continue as we strive towards the principles of  Universal Design for Learning.


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