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"Let Me Tell You What I Want"

The Office of Special Education Program’s Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL) and the Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute bring us this week, “Let Me Tell You What I Want.” The intention behind this practice guide is to capitalize on the gestures infants naturally use to communicate and to help parents find ways to adapt gestures and signs for children with disabilities who may struggle with communication.

The brochure offers step-by-step guidance on how to observe a young child’s attempts at gestures, then reinforce what’s working and what makes sense within their family. It also gives three real-life examples of families putting the practice to use with amazing results. If you work with a family of a child who is learning to communicate, this practice guide might be just what you need. Leave us a comment below to let us know how you used the information and what the family thought.

 If you’d like to check out other practice guides from CELL, click here.

 This resource is related to

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six multicolored concentric rings as sound in original articleTips for Infants

Tips for Toddlers

These information-packed documents from the U.S., Department of Health and Human Services offer “tips to help caregivers use co-regulation to support early development of self-regulation skills” in infants and toddlers. Aimed at practitioners who work in childcare or other caregiving settings, the tips cover evidence-based practices in six broad topics:

  • Start with you;
  • Establish a warm and responsive relationship with each child;
  • Create calm and structured childcare environments;
  • Respond with warmth and structure during stressful moments;
  • Work closely with parents; and
  • Cultivate a sense of community.

These documents also include definitions, real-world examples, and strategies to try right away. Dive in to your appropriate age group and leave us a comment about the piece of information you are most excited to have discovered.

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out

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child trends logo with a yellow 40 year anniversaryWe all know that talking, reading, and singing are great ways to baby’s and caregivers to bond, but recent research suggests that eye contact can be just as important to a newborn’s development. Infants naturally begin to make eye contact at six to eight weeks and capitalizing on this behavior may help to promote social and emotional development.

In June 2018, Child Trends reported that “researchers conducted two different experiments to determine if eye gaze mattered when an adult sang to an infant. They used EEG [electroencephalogram] to measure brain activity and found when adults and babies looked directly at each other, their brain waves would sync up more than when the adult avoided eye contact. The babies also tried to communicate more often when adults made eye contact—implying that this small gesture could help develop social skills” (McGrath et al).

Experts recommend that caregivers be face-to-face with babies during social interactions like feedings, baths, and diaper change

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Make the Most of Playtime

Fred Rogers said, “For children, play is serious learning.” That’s why the folks at the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) at Vanderbilt University want us to Make the Most of Playtime. In an article of the same name, adapted from a Zero-to-Three resource, CSEFEL staff describe not only the importance of play but the hallmarks of play development over the first three years of life. They also provide specific ideas parents can try with children at various ages, like imitating sounds in a back-and-forth “conversation” with young babies and supporting an older toddler’s imagination “by providing dress-up clothes . . . and props such as plastic kitchen bowls and plates or toy musical instruments.” This is an excellent resource to share with families. Check it out and share your ideas in the comments below.

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit this res

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black ribbon logo“The early childhood years build the foundation for a lifetime of health and development” (DEC, 2012).

In a position statement from September 2012, the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) outlined six recommendations “for the promotion of health, safety, and well-being of all young children including those with or at‐risk for disabilities.”

These six recommendations included the following:

Prenatal care services and early universal screening;

  • Culturally-responsive, developmentally appropriate, individualized care in affordable, safe, nurturing, and inclusive environments;
  • Correctly administered, ethical, valid, reliable, culturally sensitive, formal and informal assessments;
  • High quality systems of pre‐service and in‐service professional development;
  • Advocacy efforts focusing on public regulations and policies for supporting the provision of services for all young children; and
  • Research that focuses substantial attention and resources to id
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children at school collageThe Center for Disease Control and Prevention website states: Essentials for Childhood proposes strategies communities can consider to promote the types of relationships and environments that help children grow up to be healthy and productive citizens so that they, in turn, can build stronger and safer families and communities for their children.” The authors outline four goals:

  1. Raise Awareness and Commitment to Promote Safe, Stable, Nurturing Relationships and Environments and Prevent Child Maltreatment;
  2. Use Data to Inform Actions;
  3. Create the Context for Healthy Children and Families through Norms Change and Programs; and
  4. Create the Context for Healthy Children and Families through Policies.

Each goal is then broken down into multiple steps which community leaders and policy makers can follow to build relationships and environments that promote healthy social and emotional development and prevent child maltreatment. The guide is also filled with abundant resources to explore. Essen

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Guidance on Avoiding Preschool Expulsion

California Department of Education Management Bulletin 18-06, released just last Friday (August 24, 2018), outlines new requirements for steps which must be taken to avoid expulsion or disenrollment of children from California State Preschool Programs because of behavior. Previously, some of California’s youngest learners may have been expelled or unenrolled from preschool, child care, and other developmental settings due to challenging behaviors. Assembly Bill 752, however, requires agencies running state-funded early childhood programs to work with parents and guardians to take specific supportive steps before expelling or disenrolling a child. Learn more about the new requirements and information and training available to support social and emotional development and address challenging behavior by clicking here.

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit this resource in the Neighborhood he

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Screen time is a frequent concern among parents and professionals alike, specifically how much screen time is too much and how early is too early? The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has weighed in on the discussion with specific guidelines. In order to make those guidelines more accessible to parents, Dr. Christine Ly, school psychologist with Garden Grove Unified School District, developed a series of pamphlets. “Screen Time and Your Preschooler: Social-Emotional Development” is the specific piece we are focusing on today. In it, Ly cites the recommendations of the AAP, defines social-emotional development, and outlines its relationship with screen time. The pamphlet also includes Positive Parenting tips, organized by age, and a variety of resources to check out. We learned about these brochures through Comfort Connection Family Resource Center in Orange County. They house the other brochures in the series on their website. Take a look.

Screen Time Handbook

Screen Time and Your

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Tips on Helping Your Child Learn to Cooperate

mom carrying child“Cooperation is the ability to balance one’s own needs with someone else’s.” We round out the school year with an article from Zero-to-Three entitled Tips on Helping Your Child Learn to Cooperate. This resource gives concrete examples of “how cooperativeness grows across the first three years of life” and offers tips on a variety of situations, such as:

  • Taking turns,
  • Setting limits and explaining requests,
  • Taking time to problem-solve,
  • Suggesting developmentally-appropriate chores,
  • Praising cooperation, and
  • Giving choices.

It’s well worth the read. Check it out today and leave us a comment to let us know what you thought.

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit this resource in the Neighborhood here.


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father walking baby with blue and purple backgroundIn 2015, a “Research-to-Practice Brief” from the Network of Infant-Toddler Researchers, stated that “infants and toddlers are disproportionately exposed to trauma.” The brief, entitled Services for Families of Infants and Toddlers Experiencing Trauma, also noted that young children “show severe and long-lasting consequences of this exposure on their development.” Early childhood education, early intervention, and child welfare programs are all poised to assist in the identification of these infants and toddlers who have experienced trauma and to provide trauma-informed services.

While only a small number of interventions have been studied for effectiveness with the birth-to-three age group, existing data do suggest “promising benefits (for) evidence-based parenting interventions . . . designed to reduce trauma exposure and buffer very young children against the effects of trauma.” These include routine screening for trauma, use of culturally appropriate assessment and treatment procedu

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blue teal orange green yellow and purple circles with child on the right“Children who have experienced trauma and require services need responses that are sensitive to what has happened to them and how it has shaped their behaviors.” Subsequently, an organization may need to examine their own culture, fundamental values, and functioning through self-assessment to identify needed modifications. The National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health (NTACCMH) at Georgetown University’s Center for Child and Human Development offers us “Module 3: Creating Trauma-Informed Provider Organizations.” This online course consists of five video interviews: Introduction, Implementing Trauma-Informed Care and Supporting Policies, Sanctuary Model, Creating Cultures for Trauma-Informed Care and Risking Connection, and Secondary Trauma, which “provide background (information) and share lessons learned.” Visitors to the site will also find “a comprehensive list of links to additional resources and materials” by clicking on “Resources” at the bottom of the Mod

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father kissing baby at hotel

Today on the Blog, we’re highlighting a resource for parents to help young children build strong relationships with others. Healthy relationships are a key component of social-emotional development, and it’s within these relationships that children learn and grow. gathered seven tips for parents to support their infant’s and toddler’s relationship-building skills. Check them out at the link below!

 This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit this resource in the Neighborhood here.


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baby collage kitParenting can be rewarding but also challenging. Luckily, there are several resources available for parents of infants and toddlers to help them support their children’s development. Today, we’ll look at two “parent kits” full of information and resources developed just for parents.

First 5 California’s “Kit for New Parents” is a package containing a variety of resources that is shipped to new parents in California, free of charge. In it, you’ll find an Advice for New Parents DVD, a touch-and-feel book, and more. The kit is available in six languages: English, Spanish, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, and Vietnamese. To learn more, or to order a Kit, visit the First 5 California website.

First Things First in Arizona created a digital “Parent Kit” to help guide parents from pregnancy through preschool. The kit also covers family health and wellness. Please note that some of the resources mentioned are Arizona-specific; however, the tips for parents are universal. To view the kit, visit the

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cat dog cow and monkeySocial and emotional development focuses on “the relationships we share with others”; “our ability to recognize and understand our own feelings and actions” as well as those of others; and our “ability to express thoughts, feelings, and ideas in socially appropriate ways.” Families are key in nurturing the social and emotional development of their young children through positive relationships that make children feel safe and secure. These earliest relationships affect “how children experience the world, express themselves, manage their emotions, and establish positive relationships with others.”

This week’s resource, from the U.S. Department of Education’s Early Learning: Talk, Read Sing! initiative, provides families with tips for creating “a predictable, nurturing environment,” supporting the development of social skills, and “recognizing and talking about emotions” for three age groups: infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. It also includes suggestions for “encouraging positive behav

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child playing toys next to watch me textDeveloped by our friends at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Learn the Signs. Act Early. program, a new resource, entitled Watch Me! Celebrating Milestones and Sharing Concerns, is a FREE, online training that offers tools and best practices for monitoring the development of young children.

Targeted at early care and education providers, this one-hour, four-module course focuses on the reasons why monitoring development is important, the unique role of early care and education providers in monitoring development, easy ways to monitor developmental milestones, and strategies for talking with parents about their children’s development.

Continuing education units (CEUs) are also available if you complete all four modules, each quiz, and a final evaluation. Click here for CEU instructions. The course is available in English and Spanish.

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit th

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green blue yellow red people forming a circleThe Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) released a Position Statement on Challenging Behavior and Young Children in July 2017.

The paper (posted above for easy reference) defines challenging behavior as “any repeated pattern of behavior . . . that interferes with or is at risk of interfering with the child’s optimal learning or engagement in pro-social interactions with peers and adults (Smith & Fox, 2003, p. 6).” It goes on to provide “a rationale for promoting social-emotional competence” as a means of addressing challenging behavior, focusing on family-centered practices and away from punishment and negative responses; building on strengths; and “culturally sustaining, equitable, and collaborative practices.” The paper describes a comprehensive approach to screening and assessment and multi-tiered, evidence-based strategies for support. It includes and extensive list of references for those who would like to explore these topics more in

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Developing Social-Emotional Skills


2128959?profile=RESIZE_180x1802128982?profile=RESIZE_180x1802128998?profile=RESIZE_480x480We have discovered yet another set of highly informative resources from our colleagues at Zero to Three to help you “learn what you can do to support social-emotional development” in young children.

In fact, there are two sets of three handouts, one for parents and another for professionals, each focusing on a specific age group: birth to 12 months, 12 to 24 months, or 24 to 36 months.

These resources explore such topics as making friends, expressing anger in healthy ways, resolving conflicts, helping someone who’s been hurt, waiting your turn, following rules, and spending time with others. As a series, they “describe the arc of healthy social-emotional development,” outline the small steps children take over time to develop these skills, and offer practical suggestions parents and professionals can implement right away.

This resource is related to one or more competencies in the ICC-Recommended Early Start Personnel Manual (ESPM). To find out more, visit this resource in the Neighb

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