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Creating Inclusive Learning Environments for Young Children
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Creating Inclusive Learning Environments for Young Children
What to Do on Monday Morning

  • Clarissa Willis - Associate Professor of Special Education, University of Southern Indiana


August 2008 | 240 pages | Corwin
This accessible, reader-friendly resource provides important information and helpful strategies for preschool & kindergarten teachers in inclusive environments who have little or no training in special education and assisting students with special needs. A true introductory guide to inclusive early education, Creating Inclusive Learning Environments for Young Children explains relevant terminology, illustrates how to create appropriate environments, covers building relationships among peers with and without disabilities, and explores how children with disabilities respond to stressful circumstances such as divorce or death. Additional chapters focus on working positively and productively with both families and colleagues who can offer help and support. Each chapter offers a glossary of terms and recommended books.
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author
 
Introduction
 
Part I. Children With Special Needs in the Inclusive Classroom
 
1. Working With Children With Special Needs
What Do I Need to Know to Work With Children With Special Needs?

 
Setting the Stage for Inclusion

 
Inclusion, Blending, and Reverse Mainstreaming

 
Why Is Inclusion Important?

 
What Is "Meaningful" Inclusion?

 
How Do I Develop a Philosophy of Meaningful Inclusion?

 
General Strategies for Working With Children With Special Needs

 
How Do I Get the Child's Family Involved?

 
Resources for Families

 
Working to "Enable" and "Empower" Families

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
The Research Says...Developmentally Appropriate Practices Must Apply to Everyone

 
 
2. Blending the World of Special Education With General Education Services
Best Practices According to NAEYC and DEC

 
Constructivism vs. Behaviorism: Blending Without Ignoring Best Practice

 
Using Observation Skills to Guide Instruction

 
Planning for an IEP Meeting

 
The Teacher's Rules of the Road

 
Related Services

 
The Role of the Special Education Teacher

 
Working With Paraprofessionals and Instructional Assistants

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
The Research Says...What Early Childhood Practitioners Think About Inclusion

 
 
Part II. Who Are the Children With Special Needs?
 
3. Children With Vision Impairments
How Do Young Children Develop Vision?

 
What Causes Visual Impairments in Young Children?

 
How Are Vision Impairments Classified?

 
What Resources Are Available to Help the Child Function in My Classroom?

 
How Do Children With Vision Impairments Learn?

 
Preparing the Early Childhood Environment

 
Suggestions for Children With Low Vision

 
Suggestions for Children Who Are Blind or Severely Vision Impaired

 
Summary

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
The Research Says...Play Behaviors in Young Children Who Are Blind

 
 
4. Children With Hearing Loss
Defining Hearing Loss

 
What Determines the Degree of Hearing Loss?

 
So, What About Hearing Aids?

 
Cochlear Implant

 
How Will Hearing Loss Affect Children in My Classroom?

 
Social Isolation

 
Effects of Hearing Loss on Speech (Oral Language)

 
Reduced Academic Achievement

 
Suggestions for the Classroom

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
The Research Says...Cochlear Implants Can Result in Better Prosody

 
 
5. Children With Cognitive Challenges
Understanding the Challenges for Children With Cognitive Delays

 
Characteristics of Children With Cognitive Challenges

 
Educational Implications

 
What Are Functional Skills and Why Are They Important?

 
How Do I Teach Everyday Tasks (Functional Skills)?

 
What Do I Do First, Before Teaching a New Skill?

 
How Exactly Does This All Fit Together?

 
Classroom Suggestions for Children With Cognitive Challenges

 
Summary

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
The Research Says...Social Development Across Time

 
 
6. Children With Atypical Motor Development
Causes of Atypical Motor Development

 
Muscle Tone

 
Cerebral Palsy

 
Fine and Gross Motor Skills

 
Positioning and Handling

 
Adaptive Equipment

 
Summary

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
The Research Says...Children With Motor Delays Are At-Risk for Social Isolation

 
 
7. Children With Communication Delays
What Is Communication?

 
Understanding the Child's "Form" of Communication

 
Function and Content of Communication

 
The Nonverbal Child

 
Cleft Lip and Palate

 
Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS)

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
The Research Says...Communication Is More Than Just Imitation

 
 
8. Children With Emotional/Behavior Disorders
What Are Challenging Behaviors?

 
Young Children and Mental Health

 
Anxiety Disorders

 
Classroom Suggestions for Children with Anxiety Disorders

 
Separation Anxiety

 
Classroom Suggestions for Children With Separation Anxiety

 
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

 
Classroom Suggestions for Children With PTSD

 
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

 
Classroom Suggestions for Children With ODD

 
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

 
Medication Issues

 
Classroom Suggestions for Children With ADHD

 
Summary

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
The Research Says...Risk Factors for Future Challenging Behaviors

 
 
9. Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
What Is a Spectrum Disorder?

 
What Is Autism?

 
What Are the Five Types of Autism?

 
Begin by Looking at the Child's Behavior

 
Communication Issues

 
Developing Social Skills

 
Summary

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
The Research Says...The Role of Attention and Intention in Learning New Words

 
 
10. Children With Sensory Integration Disorder
What Exactly Is Sensory Integration?

 
Sensory Integration Disorder

 
What Can I Do to Make My Classroom Sensory "Friendly"?

 
Materials for the "Sensory Friendly" Classroom

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
The Research Says...Trauma and Sensory Modulation Disorder

 
 
11. Children At Risk for School Failure
Who Are Children At Risk?

 
Children Living in Extreme Poverty

 
Homelessness

 
Family Factors

 
Chronic Illness

 
Future Learning Disability

 
Classroom Suggestions for Children At Risk

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
The Research Says...Teen Mothers Living in Transitional Shelters Need Support

 
 
Part III. Strategies for the Inclusive Classroom
 
12. Preparing the Children
Before the First Day of School

 
How Do I Prepare Children in a General Education Setting for a Child With Special Needs?

 
What Kinds of Activities Teach Tolerance and Acceptance of Others?

 
The Socially Competent Child

 
Terms Used in this Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
 
13. Preparing the Environment
The Important Role of the Environment

 
Maintaining a Balance Between Activities

 
The Daily Schedule

 
Large Group Time

 
Small Group Time

 
Individualized Instruction

 
Free Choice Time

 
Transitions

 
Assistive Technology--Adapting Materials

 
Summary

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
 
14. The Curriculum
What Role Does the Curriculum Play in Teaching Children With Special Needs?

 
Is There a Special "Curriculum" for a Child With Special Needs?

 
Curriculum Models

 
Differentiated Instruction (DI)

 
Response to Intervention (RTI)

 
Recognition and Response

 
Curriculum Modifications for Children With Special Needs

 
Content Area Instruction

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
 
15. Handling Challenging Behaviors
What Is Challenging Behavior?

 
What Kinds of Behaviors Can I Tolerate?

 
What Is a Functional Assessment?

 
Identification of Positive Behaviors

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
Suggested Reading

 
 
16. Building Communication
Understanding Communication

 
Levels of Communication Development

 
How Do You Set Appropriate Goals for Communication?

 
What About Children Who Are Nonverbal?

 
Low-Tech Methods of Communication

 
How Do I Start Helping a Child With Special Needs Use Pictures to Communicate?

 
What About Electronic Communication Devices?

 
Picture Schedules

 
Terms Used in This Chapter

 
Resources Used in This Chapter

 
 
Suggested Reading
 
Appendix
 
Children's Books That Feature Dynamic Characters With Special Needs
 
Resources for Special Needs Products
 
Index

"Invites teachers to apply appropriate strategies in classroom environments for young children with special needs, setting the stage for future school success!”

Toby Karten, Author, Inclusion Strategies That Work!

“A blend of theory, research, and best practices, wrapped up with a bow that celebrates the diversity of our children with special needs. This book helps teachers better understand specific disabilities and intentional support mechanisms that encourage ALL children to learn and grow in inclusive early childhood environments. It is a resource that I will use for years to come!"

Kim Hughes, Therapeutic Preschool Teacher
Project Enlightenment, Wake County Public Schools, NC

practitioners and students will find this book useful

Dr Chandrika Devarakonda
School of Education, Chester University
June 2, 2015

The book is easy to read and understand by the students. The chapters 12,13,14 and 15 were very useful in my preparation for lectures and tutorials. A must read for teachers who are teaching about Inclusion.

Mrs Asha Bijay
School of Humanities, Ngee Ann Polytechnic
February 16, 2012

Very useful, laid out well.

Dr Jane Bulkeley
Education , Glyndwr University
October 18, 2011

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2


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