Newsletter Issue 9: 10/17/08
SpecialQuest Birth–Five Newsletter
We frequently receive compliments on the high quality of the SpecialQuest materials. Although the materials provide content and framework for training, how they are used - the SpecialQuest approach - is as important as the materials themselves. The SpecialQuest approach is key to creating and sustaining meaningful change for inclusion in policy, practice, and attitudes.
We've heard that many of you are eager to learn more about the SpecialQuest approach. The SpecialQuest experience is difficult to convey on paper. We are currently pulling together a variety of resources to help you understand the rationale behind the approach and the interaction between the two main components of the approach: values and design.
In this newsletter you can
- download the SpecialQuest Approach to Professional Development on Inclusion for Young Children with Disabilities and their Families and
- view and contribute examples of the SpecialQuest approach in "real life" to the SpecialQuest wiki. (Click here for more information about what a wiki is.)
It's important to us that we find many ways to share the SpecialQuest approach so that others can benefit from what we've learned and the successes we've achieved. If you have ideas to share or questions about the SpecialQuest approach, please give me a call or send me an email.
Did You Know?
There is very limited rigorous research on effective professional development approaches. However, it is possible to identify themes in the literature. These include:
- coherence (extent to which there is an integrated, long term program of professional development linked to outcomes, standards, infrastructure and policy);
- skill-based learning with opportunities for application with feedback;
- team-based or collective participation by groups who work together.
Winton, P. (2006). The evidence-based practice movement and its effect on knowledge utilization. In V. Buysse & P. Wesley (Eds.), Evidence-based practice in the early childhood field (pp. 71-115). Washington, DC: Zero toThree.
See below for how SpecialQuest incorporates these three themes into our approach to professional development for inclusion.
The SpecialQuest Approach
"It was a shared experience of hearing and seeing things together, having a context to talk from."
SpecialQuest is designed to touch the "head, heart and hands" of families and professionals working together to create inclusive communities for young children with disabilities. This relationship- and team-based approach enhances and sustains inclusive services, family leadership skills, and integrated, collaborative service delivery. Teams participate in intensive and engaging learning experiences, which use parallel process and continuous improvement strategies. In addition, teams are supported with coaching, facilitation, and follow-up over time to implement high quality inclusive services.
"I was shocked and amazed at what [we] had accomplished."
The SpecialQuest approach is built on a solid foundation of current theories of adult learning, systems change, and sustainability.
[SpecialQuest] is a process that won't let us go back to our old ways.
Come with SpecialQuest at the 2008 DEC Conference in Minneapolis, MN
Susan Stewart will join Pam Winton, George Gotto, and Judy Swett for a pre-conference session about Communities of Practice.
Linda Brekken will facilitate two panel presentations.
Save the Date!!
The 9th Annual Inclusion Institute will be held July 14-16, 2009
National Dual Language Institute: A Time for Action
Please plan to attend the Office of Head Start National Dual Language Institute: A Time for Action, October 28-31, 2008, in Washington, DC.