January 5, 2007

In this Issue:

  1. Combating Autism Act of 2006
      Source: whitehouse.gov - December 19, 2006
  2. State Approaches to Serving Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders
      Source: Project Forum - December 31, 2006
  3. Early Childhood Education: Phonological Awareness Training
      Source: What Works Clearinghouse, Institute of Education Sciences - December 21, 2006
  4. Strategies for Linking Up With Developmental Services
      Source: The Commonwealth Fund - December 21, 2006
  5. Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Programs in the United States
      Source: National Prekindergarten Center - December 12, 2006
  6. Better Teachers, Better Preschools: Student Achievement Linked to Teacher Qualifications
      Source: National Institute for Early Education Research - January 3, 2006
  7. The Potential of Title I for High-Quality Preschool
      Source: Center for Law and Social Policy - December 13, 2006
  8. Comparing Instruments for Family Assessment in Child Welfare Services
      Source: Children's Bureau Express - December 14, 2006

1. Combating Autism Act of 2006

Source: whitehouse.gov - December 19, 2006

On December 19, 2006, President Bush signed the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (S. 843). This Act authorizes expanded activities related to autism research, prevention, and treatment through FY 2011. There are more than 1.5 million cases of autism in the United States. To see the full White House press release go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2006/12/20061219-3.html. More information about the law is available at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d109:SN00843:@@@L&summ2=m&

2. State Approaches to Serving Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Source: Project Forum - December 31, 2006

This In-Brief Policy Analysis clarifies terminology and reports findings gathered from a survey of state special education staff. Findings are reported in the following areas: state-level staff time and responsibilities; specific services for Part C eligible children; specific services for students with Asperger Syndrome; types of professional development activities offered; taskforce roles; how states measure outcomes; barriers to providing services to this population; and more. The most mentioned barrier to serving this growing population was the lack of educational professionals with ASD expertise. It is available at http://www.projectforum.org/docs/StateApproachestoServingStudentswithAutismSpectrumDisorders.pdf

3. Early Childhood Education: Phonological Awareness Training

Source: What Works Clearinghouse, Institute of Education Sciences - December 21, 2006

IES has released its fifth early childhood interventions report. Early Childhood Education: Phonological Awareness Training can be accessed online at http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/reports/early_ed/phono_aware/index.asp. Phonological awareness is a precursor to reading. It refers to the ability to detect or manipulate the sounds in words independent of meaning.

4. Strategies for Linking Up With Developmental Services

Source: The Commonwealth Fund - December 21, 2006

The following two new reports from the Commonwealth Fund examine strategies for improving the delivery of developmental services to children in their first three years of life:

  • Beyond Referral: Pediatric Care Linkages to Improve Developmental Health
    http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/publications_show.htm?doc_id=430649&
    This report explores how pediatric practices link young children and their families to community-based developmental services and support. It describes promising strategies undertaken by a variety of primary care practices, as well as by community and statewide programs, to help providers identify children with developmental needs and link them to appropriate services.
  • State Policy Options to Improve Delivery of Child Development Services: Strategies from the Eight ABCD States
    http://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/publications_show.htm?doc_id=434687&
    This report provides guidance on how states can improve policy to promote developmental services. It highlights strategies that can be used to improve coverage, reimbursement, and performance by physicians and others who provide developmental services to young children.

5. Early Childhood Teacher Preparation Programs in the United States

Source: National Prekindergarten Center - December 12, 2006

In 2004, researchers at the National Prekindergarten Center conducted a national survey of programs that prepare individuals to educate and care for children from birth through age four. Most two-year and four-year colleges and universities with programs were included. The Center recently published a national report, as well as individual reports for 45 states that had at least five early childhood teacher preparation programs and a response rate large enough to be considered representative of the state (75% or higher). To view these reports go to http://www.fpg.unc.edu/~npc/pages/reports.cfm. A copy of the survey used in the study is also provided.

6. Better Teachers, Better Preschools: Student Achievement Linked to Teacher Qualifications

Source: National Institute for Early Education Research - January 3, 2006

High-quality preschool education depends on effective, high-quality teachers. This new brief from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) presents educational requirements for preschool teachers, reviews evidence on the importance of teacher qualifications, and offers policy recommendations. It is available online at http://nieer.org/docs/index.php?DocID=62

7. The Potential of Title I for High-Quality Preschool

Source: Center for Law and Social Policy - December 13, 2006

A new presentation from CLASP provides an overview of Title I of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act and how these funds can be used to support high-quality preschool. It also presents models of school districts using Title I funds for early education and provides background information on the importance of investing in young, low-income children. Policy implications that may affect the availability of Title I funding for such programs are included. It is available at http://www.clasp.org/publications/potential_titlei.pdf

8. Comparing Instruments for Family Assessment in Child Welfare Services

Source: Children's Bureau Express - December 14, 2006

Valid and reliable instruments can help caseworkers with family assessment by structuring the collection of information and ensuring that relevant categories of information are included. A recent study evaluated 85 family assessment instruments to identify those that are comprehensive, valid and reliable, and practical for use in child welfare settings. For more information go to http://cbexpress.acf.hhs.gov/index.cfm?event=website.viewSection&issueID=79&sectionID=3