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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…
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child holding ball

It’s no secret that screening is an important practice that can help families of infants and toddlers with developmental delays get an “early start” on the intervention services they might need to succeed later in life(1). The First Words Project at Florida State University is currently conducting a research study on the efficacy of a web-based, family-friendly communication screening tool called the Smart Early Screening for Autism and Communication Disorders (Smart ESAC) whose ink-and-paper version has been shown to accurately predict communication delays and potential risk for autism spectrum disorder(2). As part of their research, the First Words Project has made the Smart ESAC available for…

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May is Drowning Prevention Month

Summer is almost here, which for many families means vacations on the beach, boating on a lake, or spending time in the pool. Beating the heat by the water is a fun way to spend a summer day, but it’s critical for adults to be aware of how to keep young children safe. In California, drowning is a leading cause of injury-related deaths among children under the age of five, and near-drowning incidents can result in life-long disabilities (source: Drowning Prevention Foundation). The good news is that drowning is preventable, and during May is Drowning Prevention Month, you can find many resources on how to keep young children safe by the water. The Department of Developmental Services (DDS) has partnered with the Drowning Prevention Foundation to develop and share numerous free materials on preventing drowning, including videos, songs, infographics, even printable coloring…

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Pardon our dust...

yellow under construction sign

In our effort to make the Neighborhood the best it can be, we'll be making some improvements to the site over the next several weeks. We don't anticipate our Neighbors having any difficulty accessing the content or groups during this time, but you may see things move around or even some exciting new features on your favorite pages to make them more interactive! Thanks for bearing with us while we "remodel"!

- Your Neighborhood Admins

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Songs & Rhymes that Build Readers

Adult and babyA project of Colorado Libraries for Early Literacy, Story Blocks is “a collection of 30-60 second videos designed to model (for) parents, caregivers, and library staff . . . songs, rhymes, and finger-plays appropriate for early childhood.” The video clips also provide early literacy tips “to increase caregivers’ understanding of child development and pre-literacy needs.” Songs and rhymes are also offered in nine different languages. It’s a fun site to explore to be reminded of tried and true favorites as well as to learn new songs and rhymes children will enjoy. Check it out here and leave your 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…

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Let's Participate logo

If you’re curious about using assistive technology (AT) with young children, or how to incorporate AT into your work with kids, check out the Let’s Participate! website at https://www.letsparticipate.org/. The Let’s Participate! Model Demonstration Program was funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, to assist early childhood programs in “implementing and sustaining promising practices in the effective use of assistive technology (AT) by infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities and, as a result, improve their functional outcomes” (CAInclusion.org). Staff and managers can access a variety of trainings and resources to learn more about using AT with the young children they serve, including how to create child-specific AT plans, build…

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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…

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Autism Awareness on the Neighborhood

autism society poster with a red blue teal and yellow painted handApril is Autism Awareness Month! Join us as we celebrate our friends and neighbors with autism. You can make a difference! Here on the Neighborhood, we’re celebrating Autism Awareness Month with a round-up of resources on autism for providers and families:

  • Today (April 2nd) is World Autism Awareness Day, an internationally-recognized day to raise awareness about autism and celebrate individuals with autism in our communities and around the globe. Read more about World Autism Awareness Day on the United Nations website: https://www.un.org/en/events/autismday/
  • The First Words Project at Florida State University developed a free, printable…
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World Down Syndrome Day 2019

world down syndrome day logo with heart shaped 21

In 2011, the United Nations (UN) declared March 21st as World Down Syndrome Day, an annual opportunity to raise awareness about Down syndrome. Each year, organizations and individuals around the world gather on March 21st to recognize and celebrate the important role that people with Down syndrome play in our communities. In its resolution, the UN “[recognizes] the inherent dignity, worth and valuable contributions of persons with intellectual disabilities as promoters of the well-being and diversity of their communities, and the importance of their individual autonomy and independence, including the freedom to make their own choices.”…

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adult holding babyThe McKinney-Vento Homelessness Assistance Act's definition of homelessness includes the following: “individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence” [Title 42, Chapter 119, Subchapter VI, Part B, Section 11434a]. However, it goes on to explain in greater detail what is meant by homelessness for children and youth. Head Start’s Early Child and Language Center offers an eight-module course on the subject to help broaden your understanding of this important topic. Click here to find the modules. Learn to recognize families who are “experiencing homelessness, conduct…

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two people doing sit upsThe American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed an online tool for parents to help them recognize whether their child may have a delay in their physical development. Also available in Spanish, the Physical Developmental Delays: What to Look For tool uses family-friendly language to help families identify possible concerns around their child’s physical development and encourage them to talk to their child’s pediatrician. If a parent is concerned about their child’s development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created a one-page resource for parents titled “How to…

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red green purple and blue people wallpaperFrom the NACDD website: "Each March, the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD), partners with Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and National Disabilities Rights Network (NDRN) to create a social media campaign that highlights the many ways in which people with and without disabilities come together to form strong, diverse communities. The campaign seeks to raise awareness about the inclusion of people with developmental disabilities in all areas of community life, as well as awareness to the barriers that people with disabilities still sometimes face in connecting to the communities in which they live." Let us know in the comments what you are doing…

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Rare Disease Day 2019

green pink and blue handsFebruary 28th is Rare Disease Day. Established in 2008 by EURORDIS and its Council of National Alliances, the goal of Rare Disease Day is to raise awareness for the general public, policy makers, and researchers about rare diseases and their impact on those who live with them.

Did you know…*

  • A disease or disorder is defined as rare in the USA when it affects fewer than 200,000 Americans at any given time.
  • Over 6,000 rare diseases currently exist.
  • 80% of rare…
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DEC Recommended Practices with Examples

DEC logo with colorful peoplePublished in 2016, by the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children, this week’s featured resource offers “guidance to practitioners and families about the most effective ways to improve the learning outcomes and promote the development of young children . . . who have or are at-risk for developmental delays or disabilities.” DEC Recommended Practices with Examples was designed to “help bridge the gap between research and practice,” to “support children’s access and participation in inclusive settings and natural environments,” and (to) “address cultural, linguistic, and ability diversity.” Production of this resource was guided by the following parameters:

Recommend practices:

  • Have the…
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disabilities magazinesThe First Words Project at Florida State University has developed a series of free resources for families of children 0-3 to help parents better understand and support their child’s development. Parents and providers can download and print checklists and information related to topics like communication, early intervention, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. All resources are available in both Spanish and English, and the Communication Checklist is also available in Portuguese and Canadian French. There is also a curated list of websites of possible interest to families of young children. To access these resources, visit the First Words Project webpage at https://firstwordsproject.com/resources/.

To learn more about the First Words Project, visit…

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This month-long national health observance, sponsored by the American Dental Association, brings together "thousands of dedicated professionals, healthcare providers, and educators to promote the benefits of good oral health to children, their caregivers, teachers, and many others." This year's campaign slogan is "Brush and clean in between to build a healthy smile." Click on the mini-posters below, provided in English and Spanish, to help spread the word about good oral health.

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parent hugging a kid in the newspaper

With California’s current focus on improving social-emotional outcomes for infants and toddlers with disabilities, we here at the Neighborhood are always on the lookout for helpful, family-friendly tools. One such resource is What to Expect & When to Seek Help: Bright Futures Developmental Tools for Families and Providers. Developed by Bright Futures at Georgetown University and the National Technical Assistance Center for Children's Mental Health, the Tools* are available for any caretaker or professional to access and download for free, both in English and in Spanish. The Infancy tool (English version, Spanish version) and the Early…

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Reasons for Concern

"Reasons for Concern that your child or a child in your care may need special help" offers a brief summary of general risk factors and specific red flags for behavior, hearing, vision, movement, communication, and thinking. Created by the California Department of Education along with the Department of Developmental Services and targeting families and caregivers of children birth to age five, this easy to understand brochure provides words families can use to discuss their concerns with doctors and words childcare providers can use with families. It also offers contact information for "next steps," including referral to the local regional center or school district and assessment of the child, when needed. The 2015 version of …

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World Braille Day 2019

640327860?profile=RESIZE_180x180January 4th is World Braille Day, declared by the United Nations as “an international day to commemorate the importance of braille.” On this day in 1809, Louis Braille, the founder of braille, was born in France. Braille was blinded in both eyes in early childhood, and went on to invent the system of reading and writing for people with blindness or visual impairments that is known around the world today as braille. Organizations around the world celebrate World Braille Day with events and advocacy efforts to promote braille literacy and the rights of individuals who are blind or have visual impairments. 

To learn more about World Braille Day, visit the World Blind Union website at…

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January is Birth Defects Prevention Month

purple outlined circle with purple hearts and baby clothesFrom the National Birth Defects Prevention Network website:

"January is Birth Defects Prevention Month. The theme for 2019 is 'Best for You. Best for Baby.' We know that not all birth defects can be prevented. But, you can increase your chances of having a healthy baby by doing what you can to be your healthiest self both before and during pregnancy. What is best for you is also best for your baby."

To learn more, click here to visit the National Birth Defects Prevention Network website. There are promotional resources available in English and Spanish.

Happy New Year to all our Early Start…

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