The following article was posted by the Colorado Office of Early Childhood earlier this month.
Beyond the Basics – Implementing Inclusion for All Children
The “Beyond the Basics” conference hosted by the Pyramid Plus Center from May 15 – 17th in Denver, focused on professionals who strive to implement the Pyramid Plus Approach for inclusion and work with children with challenging behaviors. Attendees ranged from classroom teachers and directors in Early Childhood, to Mental Health consultants and Early Childhood coaches. These professionals were brought together by their passion and commitment to providing the best possible support, care and education for all children in inclusive environments.
The conference motto, “All Children Together,” was focus of the two keynote speakers, Dr. Phil Strain, PhD and Dr. Barbara Smith, PhD, as they emphasized the importance and benefits of inclusion for children with special needs or behavior challenges. Inclusion of children with special needs is still a relatively new idea, and even today many children are separated because of their needs. In fact, children in preschool are three times more likely to be expelled from their Early Childhood program than children in all grades from kindergarten through high school. Yet there is no evidence that expulsion or separate services provide any benefits for the child or their peers. In fact, research shows that children with and without special needs do as well or better than children in segregated programs or classrooms. Inclusion provides many benefits and supports federal laws and policies that require any program receiving public dollars offer an inclusive environment.
The conference was a call to action for attendees to advocate for inclusion of all children, regardless of their needs.
It was heartening to see so many dedicated professionals coming together to support All Children by exploring new ideas, sharing best practices, and supporting one another in the interest of serving this vulnerable population of our youngest citizens. Kudos to you all and thank you for your work to support children with special needs, their families and the professionals who support them.
– Kim Owen, Quality Initiatives Lead, Office of Early Childhood
For more information on the Pyramid Plus Center visit their website (www.pyramidplus.org) or to find a Demonstration Site implementing the Pyramid Plus Approach (http://www.pyramidplus.org/trainingsupport/demo_sites).