In partnership with the University of Southern California, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (USC-UCEDD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), Guam CEDDERS facilitated a four-day interdisciplinary training conducted by three CHLA consultants: Irina Zamora, Psy.D., Shelby Surfas, OTD, and C. Blake French, M.S., CCC-SLP. Thirty early intervention and preschool providers from the Guam Department of Education and Department of Public Health and Social Services attended the four-day training on December 4-7 at the University of Guam School of Business Building Room 129. The purpose for the training was to build capacity of early interventionists (EI) on the early identification and delivery of services for young children with developmental delays. The interdisciplinary training curriculum was designed to increase the knowledge of EI providers in the following topical areas: 1) social-emotional development of young children; 2) language development of children with disabilities; 3) strategies to address language delays in young children; red flags for autism; 4) partnering with parents when providing early intervention services; 5) sensory differences in young children; 6) feeding challenges and feeding therapy; and 7) understanding and addressing the impact of trauma in children with disabilities. The training curriculum was delivered within the Guam EI program’s coaching model and framework for implementation and sustainability, which included “live practice” of the strategies reviewed with young children and their families. In addition, the CHLA consultants facilitated an evening dialogue session with nine parents of children with developmental delays. The session, “Supporting Your Child in Early Intervention,” provided an opportunity for parents to share their successes, challenges, and to ask questions of other parents and the CHLA consultants. At the end, one parent remarked how she learned so much from listening to other parents share their stories.
Guam CEDDERS’ June De Leon facilitated the on-site consultation, from November 27 to December 1, in the area of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Pohnpei State, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The focus of the on-site consultation was to support FSM’s efforts to improve educational results for students with ASD. Irina Zamora, Psy.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, and Ms. De Leon conducted the on-site consultation, which included classroom and home visits, and parent and school personnel sessions.
The classroom and home visits were opportunities to learn from family members and school personnel on the needs of children with ASD in the FSM. The two 2-hour parent sessions, attended by 32 family members and service providers of children with ASD, included an overview of ASD and dialogue on the “what and why” of ASD. At the end, family members shared that the behavioral strategies, such as calming techniques, visual supports, and schedules were helpful to them in supporting their child with ASD.
The two-day school personnel session was attended by 50 service providers from Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Yap. The session, “Working with Children with ASD: Early Identification and Intervention,” incorporated the needs observed and discussed during the school and home visits conducted earlier in the week. Similar to the parent sessions, the school personnel session included the “what and why” of ASD and strategies to support children with ASD in school. At the end, school personnel reported that they will be able to use the behavioral and sensory strategies, visual supports, and schedules in their classroom to support children with ASD.
In partnership with the University of Southern California, University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (USC-UCEDD) and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA), Guam CEDDERS facilitated the continuation of the comprehensive autism assessment training to build the capacity of Guam Department of Education (GDOE) providers to identify and assess children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) symptoms. November 13-17 marked the third and last on-site visit conducted by Irina Zamora, Psy.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Keck School of Medicine, USC, to work with GDOE’s Cohort #2 comprised of 11 early intervention and special education personnel. The third visit continued with the training on the administration, scoring, and interpretation of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition (ADOS-2). With assistance from GDOE’s Cohort #1 members, Dr. Zamora provided additional practice activities in preparation for Cohort #2 members completing the Western Psychological Services (WPS) ADOS-2 certification examination. In 2016, GDOE’s Cohort #1, comprised of five early intervention and special education personnel, completed all training requirements, including passing the WPS ADOS-2 certification examination.
Guam CEDDERS facilitated the second SY2017-2018 Guam Department of Education professional development (PD)session for the four State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) schools on October 23, 2017 at the Westin Resort Guam.
As a continuation from the August PD, the full day training focused on navigating the aimsweb screening system to generate reports and using the reading screening data for improving reading instruction, refining their continuous improvement steps, including the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle, for implementation; and reaching agreement on the activities and timelines for implementing the screening/assessment and progress monitoring procedures for school year 2017-2018.
The morning session of the training had each school’s grade level logged into the aimsweb program to practice inputting scores, generating reports, graphing and analyzing screening results, and determining the level of intervention needed.
The afternoon session was facilitated by the Instructional Coaches and Consulting Resource Teachers – Technical Assistance, who provided participants with a review of the eight continuous improvement steps as well as identifying what’s working, challenges, and questions participants had with completing each step. The grade level teams worked together to complete the activities, learning from each other on how PDSAs are implemented in the four SSIP schools. Photos and videos taken in the classrooms on “what’s working” were also shared with the participants as encouragement for the teachers to continue implementing PDSAs in their classrooms.
Since July 2017, the Republic of Palau, Ministry of Education – Special Education Program staff in partnership with the Head Start Coordinators and technical support from Elaine Eclavea, Guam CEDDERS Early Childhood Consultant, have been working to develop a process for ensuring coordinated approaches for serving children enrolled in Head Start settings. The team inclusive of both Special Education and Head Start staff reviewed the Head Start Program Performance Standard (HSPPS) 1302.101(b) Coordinated Approaches for Disability Services (CADS): “At the beginning of each program year, and on an ongoing basis throughout the year, a program must design and implement program-wide coordinated approaches to ensure full and effective participation of children with disabilities.” This standard requires appropriate supports and protocols are in place prior to and throughout the school year for preschoolers with disabilities.
The CADS plan ensures that all preschoolers with disabilities enrolled in Head Start will have access to highly individualized teaching that will result in active participation and increased learning to achieve the goals and objectives identified for the child. On August 21 and 22, Special Education and Head Start staff participated in a two-day training on early childhood coaching that was facilitated by Ms. Eclavea. During that same week, Special Education staff, in partnership with the Head Start teachers from the two pilot centers, developed coaching plans based on the priorities identified by the teachers to support the inclusion of preschoolers with disabilities in their center. For the past three months, Special Education providers have been coaching and mentoring Head Start teachers and teacher assistants in achieving the goals identified in the early childhood coaching plan. The results and progress achieved discussed during the team meetings held on November 28 and 29 were all positive.
Congratulations to the Parents, Head Start Teachers and Teacher Assistants, and Special Education Providers for their continued commitment to supporting preschoolers with disabilities in Head Start settings!