Universal Perspectives

A world class education begins with access to ideas that can transform learners. Higher education must challenge students to reach their full potential. Exploring beyond what students already know to dive into depths beyond the shore of their existing knowledge is the objective of higher education. This semester I went on a quest with our graduate students to learn more about early childhood assessment by hosting an international expert, Dr. Carmen Dionne.

Dr. Dionne shared her ideas and research on early childhood assessment. She brought up so many topics related to the challenges and opportunities we all face as researchers. Faculty in the School of Teacher Education, my Dean and Research Dean, and our talented graduate students in the College of Community Innovation and Education participated in the Research Symposium. Dr. Dionne is Professor at the University of Québec at Trois-Rivières, and she is the sole United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) Chair in Child Development with a focus on screening and assessment of young children. The purpose of the UNESCO program she chairs is to conduct research in early childhood intervention for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers who are at risk for developing a disability or have disabilities.

Thank you to Dr. Dionne for coming all this way to Orlando from Quebec. A BIG thank you goes to the University of Central Florida College of Graduate Studies and UNESCO for sponsoring our research symposium with Dr. Dionne. The research symposium with Dr. Dionne has given us the opportunity to reflect upon ways to improve the world for young children and their families.  Reaching past our direct sphere of influence leads to transformation that comes from learning about the immense world around us and global perspectives.

If you’d like to read more about the UNESCO child development chair, follow this link:

https://oraprdnt.uqtr.uquebec.ca/pls/public/gscw031?owa_no_site=1530&owa_no_fiche=4&owa_bottin=

Save the Date flyer Dr. Dionne March 4 2019.JPG

What's New?

Happy New Year! I hope your new year is off to a great start. In 2018, my colleagues and I will be putting the finishing touches on the new edition of the Assessment, Evaluation, and Programming System for Infants and Children (AEPS®).

We have been working on the AEPS®-3 since 2005 and I’m thrilled to see it going into production. Early childhood professionals can benefit from having a measure to assess young children that also links to a curriculum that could be used during play and routines. The AEPS®-3 Family component can be used to create positive and engaging partnerships with parents. Some of the most exciting new things in the AEPS®-3 are the early childhood math and reading areas.

Listen in to my iTunes show to hear a conversation with the pioneer of the AEPS® Dr. Diane Bricker (pictured below) talk about how she got started in our field, early childhood theoretical perspectives based on the work of Skinner and Piaget, and the influences and impact of her work in the area of early childhood assessment. 

If you would like professional development on the new AEPS®-3, start now. You can email me at marisamacy@gmail.com to begin. Wishing you all the best in 2018!

Left row: Carmen Dionne (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières), Amy Perkins (Brookes Publishing), Naomi Rahn (Wisconsin DOE), Diane Bricker (University of Oregon), that's me in green - Marisa Macy (University of Central Florida), and I-Ching Chen (Kent State University). Right row: Sarah Zerofsky (Brookes Publishing), Misti Waddell (University of Oregon),  Jennifer Grisham-Brown (University of Kentucky),  Joann Johnson (St. Cloud University), and Heather Shrestha (Brookes Publishing)

Left row: Carmen Dionne (Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières), Amy Perkins (Brookes Publishing), Naomi Rahn (Wisconsin DOE), Diane Bricker (University of Oregon), that's me in green - Marisa Macy (University of Central Florida), and I-Ching Chen (Kent State University). Right row: Sarah Zerofsky (Brookes Publishing), Misti Waddell (University of Oregon),  Jennifer Grisham-Brown (University of Kentucky),  Joann Johnson (St. Cloud University), and Heather Shrestha (Brookes Publishing)

 

Below is a PDF of our “Sneak Preview” my co-authors and I presented at a national conference. 

http://aepsinteractive.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/DEC-AEPS-3-Presentation-2017.pdf 

http://www.brookespublishing.com/resource-center/screening-and-assessment/aeps/

Parental Concerns

Many parents do not know where to turn when they are concerned about their child’s development. In one community I lived in, the lead agency placed ongoing advertisements in the local newspaper that they were conducting a free screening fair the third Friday of every month at the local library. Parents with concerns about their child could visit the library that day and meet a specialist who would conduct a developmental screening during a play-based assessment, as well as have the parent complete a questionnaire about their child’s growth and development. The screening is at no cost to the family or parent(s). Each community has their own way of doing what the law calls, “Child Find.” Community awareness and developmental-behavioral screening assessments are required in order to address parental concerns.

If you are a parent, here are some questions to consider:

Is there anything about my child that concerns me?

What do I hope to find out from the screening assessment?

How would I describe my child to a professional who is unfamiliar with my child or family?

How does my child communicate?

How does my child play?

How does my child participate in routines?

How does my child perform self-help tasks like washing hands, feeding, toileting, etc.?

How does my child use her small and large muscles? 

How does my child interact with familiar and unfamiliar adults?

How does my child interact with familiar and unfamiliar peers?

What are my child’s strengths?

What are some of my child’s characteristics that make me smile or laugh?

What are the best ways to communicate follow up information with me? Email, phone, text, face-to-face meetings, etc.? Do I need an interpreter?

 

If you would like more information about screening, contact Dr. Macy and/or check out this book:

Bricker, D., Macy, M., Squires, J., & Marks, K. (2013). Developmental screening in your community: An integrated approach for connecting children with services. Paul H Brookes Publishing, Baltimore, MD.

Screening Book.gif

Screening with Meaning

Parents and familiar caregivers have a unique view into the window of their child’s learning and development.  

The view from the Santa Maria del Fiore of Florence, Italy from inside Filippo Brunelleschi's dome.

The view from the Santa Maria del Fiore of Florence, Italy from inside Filippo Brunelleschi's dome.

We are usually the first one to notice when something does not seem right. A screening assessment is an initial step into verifying a concern. It is only a snapshot with a limited view. A more comprehensive evaluation may be warranted, depending on the results of the screen, where a bigger picture will be taken. Screening with meaning happens when we use the information obtained from parental/caregiver report and observations.

I just finished editing a special issue on promising practices, models, and research in the early identification of young children with delays and disabilities that will appear in the next issue of the Journal of Intellectual Disability - Diagnosis & Treatment. There are eleven journal articles written by experts from around the world in this collection with a wide range of topics related to early detection of delay or disability in early childhood. Three of the articles are international and show what early identification practices look like in Greece, Japan, and Sweden. Other topics range from improving ways to assess children with social emotional difficulties and behavioral challenges to innovative methods for screening young children in remote, hard to reach locations and communities. The innovative ideas in the articles can be applied to create useful meaning out of screening.

To get the most out of developmental-behavioral screening, here are some things parents can do to have a meaningful screening assessment experience.

Before the screening:

  • Locate free screening assessment. All states and outlying territories are required by law to offer services free of charge to parents.

  • Request alternate language if needed.

  • Reflect and jot down your concerns about your child’s development so that you can share them with the professional. Your notes will help you remember everything.

During the screening:

  • Participate in the screening assessment with your child.

  • Share information about your child with the professional. Explain what you notice him or her doing during: routines (e.g., meal times, sleep, brushing teeth, toileting, bathing, dressing, etc.), transitions, play, interactions with you, your family, peers, and others.

  • Bring someone to the screening assessment who can offer you support. Having a trusted and supportive person can help you and your child feel comfortable, and be an extra set of ears to listen to the information given to you by the professional.

  • Share your concerns with the professional.

  • Ask your questions.

After the screening:

  • Find out what the next steps are.

  • Implement positive and healthy coping strategies while you wait for the screening assessment results. Waiting for results can be scary. Don’t panic. Screening is an initial stage of gathering information and there will NOT be a diagnosis from this brief screening assessment. The results will either indicate further assessment is needed, or not.  

 

Meaningful Screening in Action:

A friend of mine who I will call “Aurora” was concerned about her son. He was 15 months old and not walking. Aurora was worried about him. She contacted the early intervention program in her community, and found out they were hosting a screening clinic at her nearby shopping mall. Aurora arranged to have an interpreter because English is not her native language. She wrote down her concerns about her child’s development and brought them with her to the screening assessment.

The day of the screening assessment Aurora made sure her son was well rested and fed. He was comfortable and performed the way he usually does. Aurora shared information with the professional, asked questions, and explained concerns about her son not walking yet. Her best friend accompanied her to the screening assessment for support. When it was over, the professional explained what would happen next in the process.

While Aurora waited to hear back from the professional with results from the screening assessment, she implemented positive ways to cope with her anxiety. She called her brother who always makes her laugh. She went running. Aurora and her son did fun activities they both enjoy. Like going to the swimming pool.

Two days later Aurora got the call from the professional with results from the screening. Aurora’s intuition was right. Her son performed differently from his same-age peers in the area of gross motor. A team of professionals completed a comprehensive evaluation on her son. He qualified for therapeutic services called early intervention. He eventually started walking and getting stronger in all areas of his development. After a year, Aurora’s son exited early intervention services. The delay in his gross motor development was temporary. Today he has typical development. The meaningful screening assessment was instrumental in addressing Aurora’s concerns.

If you would like more information about screening, contact your local early intervention office. This book is also a helpful resource:

Bricker D, Macy M, Squires J, Marks K. Developmental screening in your community: An integrated approach for connecting children with services. Paul H Brookes Publishing, Baltimore, MD; 2013.