Disabilities in Early Childhood: How Prepared Are EducatorsReport as inadecuate

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In the state of Indiana, early childhood educators are not required to attain any pre-service education. Typically this means that the people working day to day with children have not been trained to do so, and if there is a child with a disability in the classroom the educators are especially unprepared. The purpose of this research was to discover where early childhood educators receive their information regarding including children with special needs, as well as explore what further educational opportunities are sought by these educators. Two hundred eighty three early childhood educators were surveyed in regards to their educational background on disability related topics as well as their confidence on the current implementation of inclusive practices at their facilities. Thirty seven surveys were completed and analyzed for data collection. The results indicated that while many of the professionals surveyed had background knowledge about disabilities few were confident in their abilities to make appropriate adaptations and modifications within their childcare environment. The results showed that the majority of respondents ("n" = 21) believed they need more specific training on helping children with ADHD in their classrooms, even though that same number of respondents have already received training on this topic. The results also indicated that respondents felt they need more specific training on helping children with autism ("n" = 20), sensory processing disorders ("n" = 18), Down Syndrome ("n" = 17), and challenging behaviors ("n" = 14) to be successful in the classroom. The reasons why educators are not properly prepared to educate all children as outlined in many federal mandates was investigated, and also the ways in which general educators are being assisted within their classrooms with the children with special needs placed in their care. Appended to this document are the following: (1) Email Letter to Participants; and (2) Survey Monkey Survey. (Contains 13 tables.)

Descriptors: Autism, Down Syndrome, Young Children, Early Childhood Education, Teacher Qualifications, Inclusion, Disabilities, Mainstreaming, Preschool Teachers, Teacher Surveys, Teacher Competencies, Knowledge Base for Teaching, Early Intervention, Educational Legislation, Teacher Education Programs, Delivery Systems, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Author: Spano, Colleen

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=5025&id=ED534461

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