Technical Report #4

2001
by Deborah A. Bruns, Susan A. Fowler

 

Transition is more than a change in services: The need for a multicultural perspective

Table of Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Preparation for Transition

Implementation and Follow-Up for Transition

Evaluation for Transition

Conclusion

References

Annotated Bibliographies

Resources

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Abstract

The transition from early intervention services (EI) to preschool services (ECSE) presents many challenges to children, families, service providers, and programs. The needs and preferences of families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups may pose additional challenges. The DEC Recommended Practices and NAEYC guidelines offer criteria to evaluate currently used transition practices in EI/ECSE and early childhood education (ECE). Within this context, the preparation, implementation and follow-up, and evaluation of transition practices for children, families, and service providers and programs is considered. Conclusions are offered regarding current transition practices and their congruence with recommended practices. Finally, five factors, the 5C's (community context, collaboration, communication, family concerns, and continuity), are presented as additional principles to guide the development and utilization of transition practices for families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups.


Introduction

Transitions are described as times of change. Families of young children with disabilities encounter many transitions. Each presents a variety of challenges as well as a set of common experiences. For example, the change from early intervention to preschool services is often met with feelings of stress and anxiety as families adjust expectations, children change service delivery systems, and adapt to new instructional procedures (Hains, Rosenkoetter, & Fowler, 1991; Lazzari & Kilgo, 1989).

For the purposes of this paper, transition is defined as a series of well-planned steps that result in smooth placement and subsequent adjustment of the child and family into another setting (Hutinger, 1981). These steps include the use of a transition plan, a process for preparing the child for a change in services and follow-up in services, and a philosophy of child placement in the least restrictive environment. Further, the topic of transition is receiving increased attention conceptually and empirically, for example general recommendations and procedures to facilitate transitions for young children with disabilities and their families have been recommended (cf. Hutinger, 1981; Noonan & Kilgo, 1987; Rice & O'Brien, 1990; Rosenkoetter, Hains, & Fowler, 1994; Wolery, 1989). All guidelines emphasize family involvement, child preparation for new environments, information exchange between service providers, continuity between settings, and compliance with federal, state, and other legal mandates. In addition, efforts have been undertaken in recent years to translate these recommendations into practices for young children with disabilities and their families. A number of state-level projects have been initiated, such as FACTS/LRE (Fowler), Project BEST (Rosenkoetter), and Project STEPS (Rous), to assist state policy members and local communities to implement systematic procedures to address the transition from early intervention services to preschool services.

Fowler and Ostrosky (1994) state that "the role of families in transitions must be acknowledged and considered, as it is the families who are the children's first and most important source of continuity" (p. 160). Serving families from diverse cultures poses challenges to achieving this objective. The needs of families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups present unique as well as shared differences in relation to transition planning. Prominent among them are the interactions between service providers and families (Hanson & Lynch, 1992; Harry & Kalyanpur, 1994), potential differences in concerns and preferences (Hughes, 1992; Salend & Taylor, 1993), and issues related to cross-cultural communication (Anderson, 1989; Meadows, 1991; Watkins & Eatman, this set of papers). Lynch and Hanson (1992) emphasize the importance of respecting and incorporating cultural differences into culturally appropriate services. This can only be achieved when families, service providers, and administrators come to a common understanding of how best to meet an individual family's needs during times of transition.

The purpose of this paper is to examine current transition practices within the context of culturally and linguistically diverse groups, highlighting the transition from early intervention services to preschool services. An overview of recommended practice indicators in EI/ECSE and ECE will be presented. The three components of transition: (a) preparation, (b) implementation and follow-up, and (c) evaluation will be reviewed across child, family, and program-related levels. Findings related to culturally diverse groups will be highlighted. General conclusions and implications for transition practices will be offered for meeting the needs of young children with disabilities and their families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

In order to examine transition practices with culturally and linguistically diverse groups, an overview of recommended practices in both EI/ECSE and ECE are necessary.

The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) compiled a list of indicators across fourteen topical areas (Odom & McLean, 1996). These indicators were developed by experts and were validated by service providers, parents, administrators, higher education faculty, and researchers. Bruder and Chandler (1996) reviewed practices in the area of transition and identified 22 indicators of effective practice. The authors state ".the effectiveness of any early childhood services depends on the ability of agencies, programs, and personnel to commit themselves to a collaborative model of service delivery in which transition points are mutually planned, implemented, and evaluated with the family" (p. 288). Specific responsibilities and procedures to promote effective transitions are presented for state and local agencies, sending and receiving programs, family members and other caregivers, and child-focused components of effective transitions. The need for collaboration and timely communication is evidenced across the 22 indicators (p. 400-402). Particularly striking is the emphasis placed on family involvement and providing opportunities for ongoing evaluation of transition efforts. (see Table 1).

Table 1.
Selected best practice indicators

Number

Indicator

T 3

Program providers, administrators, and families have adequate time to plan and prepare for transitions

T 6

Families receive information about the transition process, the components and steps in transition, the child and family's options for future services, and options for participation in the transition process

T 7

Families have opportunities to visit future program options and to talk to other families as well as service providers about future programs

T 9

Program providers have or receive adequate training to address issues of transition and to work with families during transitions

T 11

Service providers are familiar with the tasks, time lines, roles, and responsibilities of all providers as designated on the interagency transition agreement and related procedures

T 12

Service providers are familiar with service options and resources within the community and are able to make resource referrals

T 13

Service providers visit each other's programs and share observations in planning for transition

T 15

Service providers and family members determine the transition skills the child needs in the next or receiving program

T 16

Service providers, family members, and other caregivers assess transition skills in order to determine those skills that a child currently exhibits and those that a child needs in the next or receiving program

T 17

Service providers, the child's family, and other caregivers develop plans to help a child acquire transition skills

T 20

Service providers, the child's family, and other caregivers build supports to anticipate and address difficulties children may have in making transitions

T 22

Service providers, the child's family, and other caregivers have access to supervision, training, and support necessary to carry out the roles and responsibilities associated with preparing a child for transition

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) offers four recommendations to guide transition efforts: (a) ensure program continuity, (b) maintain ongoing communication and cooperation among staff in sending and receiving programs, (c) prepare children for transition, and (d) involve parents in transition planning (Bredekamp & Copple, 1997). In the association's teacher magazine, Young Children, Ziegler (1985) comments on the need to involve parents as a way to ease the transition process for their children. She also encourages children to be actively involved in preparing for transitions. Books, photographs, and dramatic play activities are suggested to facilitate this process.

The recommended practices from DEC and NAEYC provide important starting points to examine transition for culturally and linguistically diverse groups. While not explicitly discussing diversity issues, the guidelines recognize and support the unique needs of young children and their families during times of transition. The following sections will provide findings from the research literature, federally funded transition projects, and conceptual papers that relate to the preparation, implementation, and evaluation of transition practices for culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

The three phases of transition: (a) preparation, (b) implementation, and (c) follow-up, and evaluation provide opportunities to examine the relevance of current practices for culturally and linguistically diverse groups. While this review focuses on the age-three transition from early intervention services to preschool services, findings from the preschool to kindergarten transition also supply additional vantage points for determining best practices for children, families, and service providers.


Preparation for Transition

Changes in service delivery, support systems, and service providers contribute to stress and anxiety for young children with disabilities and their families (Fowler, Schwartz, & Atwater, 1991; Hains et al., 1991; Hanline & Knowlton, 1988; Hanline, Suchman, & Demerle, 1989). Timely, planned preparation activities can assist in alleviating the concerns and uncertainties for all involved in transition efforts.

Child-Focused

Rosenkoetter et al. (1994) offer two critical elements in preparing a child preparation for transition: providing information and experiences related to the new placement and teaching the skills and routines needed in the new environment (p. 130). Emphasis is placed on visiting the new program, adjusting schedules and activities, and targeting social and self-help skills considered necessary in a center-based program. Transition planning encompasses an assessment of child functioning as well as involving the family to prioritize goals to smooth the approaching transition (Chandler, 1993). Recommendations are forwarded for child preparation (e.g. Fowler & Titus, 1993; Lazzari & Kilgo, 1989; Noonan & Ratokalau, 1992), yet most of the suggestions are directed toward parents and service providers, such as the use of timelines for completion of transition-related tasks and arranging visits to prospective programs.

Haymes, Fowler, and Cooper (1994), who studied the preschool entry of five young children with special needs, report that the transition process was facilitated by a pre-entry visit by each child and parent to the receiving preschool classroom during which visit teachers and parents identified potential adjustment problems (e.g., difficulty separating from caregiver, lack of skills for entering a peer group). The staff were able to develop mini-interventions to address these concerns during the first days of school. Daniel (1993) presents a series of steps to ease the movement from infant to toddler groups in ECE programs. Daniel states that the six week process is necessary in order to assist the child "to manage the transition in small, incremental steps" (p. 20). Fowler and Titus (1993) provide guidelines for four changes in routines or expectations that affect many children when they first start a center-based program. Their recommendations address: (a) separating from parents and home; (b) learning to play with peers and enter a group, (c) following directions, routines, and rules, and; (d) having basic safety skills (p. 110-111).

A variety of systematic and planned approaches have been used to facilitate the preparation of young children with disabilities for the next environment. The acquisition of survival skills is one method discussed for kindergarten preparation. Rule, Fiechtl, and Innocenti (1990) identified skills needed in kindergarten and first grade classrooms and developed the Skills for School Success curriculum (SSS) for 4-5 year olds with and without disabilities. Instruction focused on enhancing children's ability to work independently, participate in group activities, follow directions, and use of task-related materials.

Consideration of ecological variables are an additional avenue for child preparation (Diamond, Spiegel-McGill, & Hanrahan, 1988). Ecobehavioral analysis and template matching are techniques used to identify differences in instruction and expectations between programs (Carta, Atwater, Schwartz, & Miller, 1990; LeAger & Shapiro, 1995). Ecological variables, for example, time allotted for small and large group activities, are examined across the sending and receiving program. Plans are developed to more closely align practices in sending and receiving programs, encouraging child success in both settings.

LeAger and Shapiro (1995) provided demographic information for a sample of Head Start children. The group (N = 61) was predominantly Latino (62%). Templates were developed for the children in the intervention group (N = 20) for completing independent work tasks similar to tasks found in kindergarten classrooms. Aspects of the environment were modified as needed to approximate conditions found in the kindergarten classrooms (e.g. increased use of writing materials and sitting at tables, instead of the floor, for tasks). Children in the intervention group displayed a greater number of kindergarten-related behaviors and a lower number of referrals for special education services as compared to the children in the control group (n = 21) and assessment only (n = 20) groups.

LeAger and Shapiro did not address the issue of continuity between home and school for these culturally and linguistically diverse children or the developmental appropriateness of the kindergarten activities. A danger in adopting and ecological approach or analysis of the next setting may be to impose inappropriate practices on younger children. In addition, in a position paper discussing the need for continuity between home and school settings for culturally and linguistically diverse young children, Leung (1990) raises cautions about the use of program identified procedures and outcomes for young children from diverse backgrounds. She argues that dissimilar expectations can produce stress and maladaptive behavior as the child attempts to follow the rules of two distinct milieus.

An additional source of information for preparing young children with disabilities for the next setting is through the use of interviews and surveys of service providers in both sending and receiving programs (Johnson, Gallagher, Cook, & Wong, 1995; Sainato & Lyon, 1989). Prerequisite and/or novel skills can then be identified and targeted for instruction. Hains, Fowler, Schwartz, Kottwitz, and Rosenkoetter (1989) found that preschool teachers (n = 21) stressed social interaction and communication skills, while kindergarten teachers (n = 28) emphasized discipline-related behaviors. The increased use of surveys and interviews of sending and receiving teachers offers information which can be considered for child preparation as well as the potential for increased communication between programs and adaptations by the receiving as well as sending program.

The child preparation procedures described above concur with the DEC recommended practice indicators (Odom & McLean, 1996, p. 401-402). An emphasis on skill acquisition and the identification and adaptation of ecological variables between sending and receiving programs are evident. The need for cultural sensitivity is absent from the current recommendations. Family preferences and values are not explicitly discussed. Service providers appear to take primary responsibility for decisions related to child preparation for transition.

Family-Focused

Conceptual frameworks exist regarding family involvement in preparing for their children's transitions (Bennett, Raab, & Nelson, 1991; Hains et al., 1991). Proactive planning extends to both child and family preparation. Parents are encouraged to select goals for their child, exchange information with service providers, and learn about legal rights and responsibilities. Lazzari and Kilgo (1989) provide practical suggestions to enhance collaboration and active participation of families, including guidelines for program observations and questions to ask new service providers. Transition projects have also produced a number of parent handbooks, manuals, and notebooks to facilitate planning. (See Table 2)

A number of studies have examined the family-related component of transition planning from early intervention to preschool services. For example, Hanline (1988) surveyed 92 parents of young children with disabilities (n = 38 pre-transition, n = 54 post-transition to preschool services). Parents interviewed prior to transition ranked information regarding preschool classrooms in the district, related services, and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) development as most important, while parents interviewed following their child's transition wanted information about child development, preschool curriculum, and community services.

Parent support groups and a Parent Transition Preparation Checklist are described by Hanline and Knowlton (1988). This was part of the services offered by Project Supported Transition to Integrated Preschools (STIP), a federally funded project. Preparation focused on gaining knowledge of available programs and services as well as the process of IEP development. McDonald, Kysela, Siebert, McDonald, and Chambers (1989) asked 25 parents about their upcoming exit from infant services for their young children with disabilities. Parents reported wanting more information about programs and services for their children. Ninety-six percent wanted the home-based teacher to provide follow-up after the transition. The authors point out the need to respect parent choices regarding their level of involvement in the transition process.

Parent workshops are another method utilized to prepare families. Spiegel-McGill, Reed, Konig, and McGowan (1990) describe a series of six workshops paired with individualized follow-up visits by home-based interventionists conducted six months prior to transition to preschool services. Parents are presented with information in six topical areas including program options and services and effective communication. Parent education is a large component of Project Preschool Preparation and Transition (PPT) (Kilgo, Richard, & Noonan, 1989; Noonan & Ratokalau, 1992), another federally funded project, with most sites in Hawaii with families diverse in ethnicity and race. Approximately 70% of the families were from culturally diverse groups, including Black (19%); Hawaiian (18%), Filipino (10%), Mixed (10%), Japanese (7%), and Other (5%).

The preceding descriptions highlight the variety of methods employed to encourage family involvement in preparation for their young child's transition. They support both the NAEYC recommendations as well as the DEC recommended practices indicators. Yet, it appears that one underlying assumption is that all families want to be involved in preparation activities. Service providers and program administrators should also understand and respect family preferences for little or no involvement (Anderson, 1989; Lynch & Hanson, 1992; Rosenkoetter et al., 1994).

Service Providers and Programs

Service providers and administrators are in a unique position to facilitate the transition of young children with disabilities and their families. However, transition planning is often implemented in an informal manner and/or is limited in scope. In the field of ECE, Love, Logue, Trudeau, and Thayer (1992) found that only 13% of schools had formal transition plans for the age-5 transition. Logue and Love (1992) add, "public schools do not place a high priority on transition activities" (p. 11).

In EI/ECSE, the literature presents a number of techniques to facilitate information exchange and training/staff development efforts. A number of authors (Conn-Powers, Ross-Allen, & Holburn, 1990; Fowler et al., 1991; Hains, Fowler, & Chandler, 1988) have stressed the importance of communication between sending and receiving service providers. The use of timelines, visits to programs, and participation in transition teams are advocated. In fact, many of the original papers on the topic of transition contain these recommendations (cf. Hutinger, 1981; Fowler, 1982).

Rous, Hemmeter, and Schuster (1994) present a staff training model. Project Sequenced Transition to Education in the Public Schools (STEPS) emphasizes team building and development of a community action plan. Team members also receive training on the topics of family involvement, child preparation, and interagency and administrative issues. Kilgo et al. (1989) and Noonan and Ratokalau (1992) also provide information about the family-focused model that undergirds Project PPT. Staff development and interdisciplinary training centers on building on family strengths, providing support to family, and understanding home and community variables.

Preparation of service providers and programs entails an understanding of service options and community resources. The DEC recommended practices indicators include the same points. NAEYC specifically highlights communication and cooperation among program staff. For culturally and linguistically diverse groups, these considerations may be insufficient. Within a particular program or community, additional factors such as working two jobs, medical needs of extended family members, or lack of skilled interpreters for new immigrant groups (Ohtake, Fowler, & Santos, this set of papers) may influence transition planning.

Summary

The preparation of children, families, and service providers and programs for transitions requires cooperative efforts to identify and plan activities and training that meet the needs of all constituents. The literature provides a variety of options for each group; skill acquisition and identification of ecological variables for children, workshops and training for families, and communication strategies and inservice training for service providers within and across programs. To ensure the smooth transition of young children with disabilities and their families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups, program staff should assess family concerns, preferences, and expectations of the transition process. Without a clear understanding of the family's perspective, expectations between home and school may differ considerably. The lack of continuity between home and school may result in confusion and/or diminished involvement of families in assisting with their child's preparation for transition.

Implementation and Follow-Up for Transition

Transition, the movement of the young child with disabilities from one service delivery system or program to the next, requires continued collaboration among families and service providers (Daniel, 1993; Lazzari & Kilgo, 1989).

Child-Focused

Individualized intervention plans are a cornerstone of EI/ECSE practices. For transitions to be effective, receiving programs need to provide continuity for young children. Fleck (1995) discusses the need to prepare kindergarten for children and children for kindergarten within a multicultural community. She describes this as "learning continuity" (p. 25).

Likewise, the change from early intervention services to a preschool program necessitates a plan to promote child adjustment and the generalization of skills. After the identification and acquisition of preschool-related skills, young children with disabilities often require continued opportunities for practice and reinforcement in the new environment. Regardless of the transition (age 3 or 5), support from families and service providers is critical (Fiechtl, Rule, & Innocenti, 1989; Fowler & Ostrosky, 1994; Hains et al., 1988). Haymes et al. (1994) found that the use of individualized intervention strategies eased the transition for a sample of five children. Parents were included in the implementation of these intervention plans. For example, two mothers remained in the classroom for extended periods of time during their child's first two weeks in the new setting.

Successful adjustment to a new setting is a critical outcome of transition. The DEC recommended practice indicators emphasize this aspect of the transition process. One-third of the indicators contain strategies to facilitate child adjustment. Importantly, the child's family is included in the recommendations. Diversity issues are not explicitly discussed but should be a reference point for decision-making on the child's behalf.

Family-Focused

Including families in the implementation of transition can take the form of visits to the receiving program, becoming a volunteer in the child's new classroom, and continued communication and information exchange with service providers. Support is an additional consideration as families adjust to new services, personnel, and increased time away from their children (e.g., Hains et al., 1991; Hanline et al., 1989).

Project PPT (Kilgo et al., 1989, Noonan & Ratokalau, 1992) provides individualized support to families. Opportunities are available throughout preparation and implementation, building on parent strengths and enabling parents (as formulated by Dunst, Trivette, & Deal, 1988) to assume greater involvement in transition. Waxler, Thompson, and Poblete (1990) discuss the importance of ongoing parent-school contact. The authors describe two initiatives with culturally and linguistically diverse groups; Native-Americans in Minnesota (Millie Lacs Head Start) and English, Creole, and Spanish-speaking families in Florida (East Coast Migrant Head Start). Both programs focus on parent education before, during, and after their child's transition to kindergarten.

Susan Craig, director of a federally funded project entitled, "Transitioning Young, Culturally Diverse Children with Disabilities into the General Education Setting", describes the process of involving Cambodian parents in their child's transition (personal communication, July 16, 1997). Much time and effort was placed into adapting the service delivery system to meet the needs of the families. A parent liaison was needed to gain community acceptance for the project. The "relational aspects" underlying parent-service provider interactions also required an understanding of the political and social attitudes families brought with them from Cambodia. Understanding that these attitudes cannot be changed has altered the focus of the project in terms of building the foundation for family and community involvement in transitions.

Both the DEC recommended practice indicators and the NAEYC recommendations stress family involvement during transition. Issues related to cross-cultural communication and family expectations are paramount when encouraging the participation of groups outside of the mainstream culture. The implementation component of transition, as the other components, must strive to meet the unique needs of families. Upon review of both sets of guidelines, strategies and suggestions to facilitate this facet of transition for culturally and linguistically diverse families are notably absent.

Service Providers and Programs

The transition process requires a shared understanding among all participants. For service providers and other program personnel, implementation must build upon family preferences, child needs, and goals and objectives identified in the child's IFSP or IEP (Rosenkoetter et al., 1994, p. 172). As previously mentioned, ongoing communication and opportunities for collaboration are critical parts of successful transition efforts. For young children with disabilities and their families, service providers can play a pivotal role in smoothing the transition from one service delivery system to the next (Fowler et al., 1991; Lazzari & Kilgo, 1989; Wolery, 1989).

A component of Project STIP (Hanline & Knowlton, 1988) is aimed at enhancing the communication between service providers in both sending and receiving programs. Collaboration, in terms of sharing resources and expertise, is the basis of this model. Project staff provide support to parents as they "gradually establish a trusting relationship with the professionals of the new preschool program while relying less on professionals from the infant intervention program. In this way, parents.can be supported throughout the transition" (p. 125). Hanline and colleagues (1989) recommend forming a partnership with parents as well as respecting parent concerns and answering questions. The authors also encourage a welcoming environment for parent visits to the child's new classroom and the use of a notebook, phone calls, or home visits for ongoing communication.

Both DEC and NAEYC emphasize communication between service providers. In order to strengthen continuity between home and program and to meet the unique needs of young children with disabilities and their families, communication must continue after the child's transition to the new setting. In this way, problems arising from unanticipated or novel situations can be solved in a collaborative manner.

Summary

The research and practice literature on early childhood transitions provided only limited evidence for culturally sensitive practices during the transition from early intervention services to preschool services. Several efforts were identified for easing the process, such as individualized support to families, yet no explicit information concerning the issues that may emerge for culturally and linguistically diverse families during the change and adjustment to new services and service providers was found. In addition, implementation efforts and practices were not described for specific cultural groups. For example, Project STIP (Hanline & Knowlton, 1988) was carried out in San Francisco but no demographic information about the families receiving services is provided. When families are unfamiliar with service delivery systems and community resources (Hanson & Lynch, 1992), accessing and receiving services may continue to be a cause of stress after the child's transition to a new program may continue (e.g., Hains et al., 1991). It becomes imperative that all transition participants (young children with disabilities, families, and service providers and programs) are provided with the support and assistance necessary to adjust to the changes produced by the transition.

Evaluation for Transition

Rosenkoetter et al. (1994) discuss three foci for evaluation; process, outcomes, and costs (p. 198). The authors also note, "in order to ensure that the most relevant questions are asked, family members as well as direct service providers and administrators should be involved in developing an evaluation plan". Transition efforts require planning, resources, and a sense of ownership from all the members of the team. Evaluation is a means of discerning if all of these conditions have been met and to formulate recommendations for changes to better meet the needs of young children with disabilities and their families.

Child-Focused

Child-focused evaluation typically focuses on one of two areas: maintenance or improvement of skills and placement in the least restrictive environment (LRE), that is, whenever appropriate, among typically developing peers. In terms of preschool services, such placements often translate to a child's attendance in a community-based preschool program or Head Start. It is argued that placement in programs for typically developing children is an indication of a successful transition. Noonan and Ratokalau (1992) collected information on approximately 60 children who participated in Project PPT at two primary demonstration sites. They found a trend toward placement in regular preschool settings for children with mild disabilities, severe disabilities, or at-risk classifications. A similar trend of placement in programs for typically developing children was reported for a sample of Head Start children transitioning to kindergarten (LeAger & Shapiro, 1995). No children from the intervention group (template matching intervention) were referred for special education services. Likewise, Haymes et al. (1994) also found a reduced need for segregated placement for their small sample.

Skill maintenance and improvement are regarded as important outcomes in EI/ECSE (Bailey & Wolery, 1992).When a young child with disabilities transitions to a new program, pre-transition targeted skills and behaviors require observation and evaluation by families and service providers. Hains et al. (1988) describe the maintenance of gains from preschool as the guiding rationale for transition planning. The authors stress the receiving teacher's role as the facilitator of the process. However, little empirical research is available focusing on children's skill maintenance post-transition. Rule et al. (1990) evaluated the use of the Skills for School Success curriculum on a sample of 18 four to five year olds (15 with disabilities). Observations were made in three daycare centers, but did not continue after transition to kindergarten placements. However, kindergarten teachers of six children returned checklists indicating 75-100% independent performance of SSS skills.

Recommendation from NAEYC and DEC focus on the preparation of the child for transition as well as assistance during its implementation. Bruder and Chandler (1996) state, "evaluation of the effectiveness of the transition process is often the weakest part of the transition plan" (p. 302). The authors urge the need to participate in follow-up activities to ensure successful transitions. Gathering evidence of child maintenance of skills taught in preparation for transition is also specified as part of the evaluation of the transition process.

Family-Focused

The evaluation of family satisfaction with and involvement in the transition process are important indicators of successful transitions. Family adjustment to the new service delivery system is another facet of the transition process deserving of evaluation (Hains et al., 1991) A closer examination of these practices is necessary in order to assess their use with culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

Hanline and Knowlton (1988) report that parents receiving transition services through Project STIP were satisfied with both the amount and quality of services. Further, parents suggested the availability of more information about services and the need to provide support to parents attending other area infant programs. Hanline (1988) surveyed fifty-four parents following their child's transition and found that they ranked information needs similar to the set of parents interviewed prior to transition (n = 38). Interestingly, information related to parent involvement was ranked 18 out of 19 identified areas. It would appear that more immediate needs colored participant responses (p. 103).

Spiegel-McGill et al. (1990) present an evaluation of a series of parent workshops. Ten participating parents (seven mothers and three fathers of a total of seven children) rated the workshops favorably (mean ratings 4.00-4.83 on a 5 point scale). The follow-up sessions with the home-based interventionists was rated as most helpful in preparing for the transition to preschool services. No information is provided regarding the cultural and linguistic background of the participating parents, only that one parent was dissatisfied with the training. The authors note "though a dual [group meetings and individual follow-up] approach provides distinct advantages, it may not meet all families' transition assistance needs" (p. 75). Noonan and Ratokalau (1992) evaluated parent education efforts via observations of twelve families during their first IEP meeting. They found to parents were utilizing information from Project PPT during the IEP meetings.

Similar comments to the ones in the child-focused section can be made in reference to DEC recommended practices indicators and family-focused evaluation. This aspect of transition is not discussed explicitly. It appears that projects are developing evaluation procedures but no systematic practices exist. Further, for families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups, practices would need to consider family preferences and cultural beliefs concerning feedback to persons viewed as authority figures (Hanson & Lynch, 1992; Lynch & Hanson, 1992).

Service Providers and Programs

The need for feedback and suggestions for improvement are critical to improving transition efforts. Service providers and administrators can provide such information (Bruder & Chandler, 1996; Rosenkoetter et al., 1994).

Project BEST (Rous et al., 1994) and Project PPT (Noonan & Ratokalau, 1992) provide processes in evaluation of training efforts. Forms are completed after training sessions as well as during implementation of transition plans. Materials and procedures have been reviewed favorably for both projects. Rous et al. add that participants rate the quality of the project as excellent. This is important to remember in regard to "the ultimate goal of transition development is an integrated system that addresses all critical issues as identified by individual communities" (p. 391).

The last comment deserves attention in that evaluation of transition efforts must focus on meeting the needs of the communities and the families within them. The DEC recommended practices indicators provide ways to improve the transition between programs. Service providers are urged to visit programs and initiate referrals. An evaluation of meeting community needs is absent.

Summary

The evaluation of transition plans and procedures should take into account child change, family involvement and satisfaction, and service provider and program practices. Each group is faced with adjustments and reorganizations required to promote a smooth transition for all involved, including interactions with new service providers, different expectations for family involvement in services, and expectations for child behavior (Hains et al., 1991; Hanline et al., 1989. When working with culturally and linguistically diverse groups, consideration should be given to unique as well as common needs. Working closely with families can provide insights into cultural and community expectations for transition and enhance the ability of service providers and programs to meet those expectations.

The preceding sections provide a synthesis of conceptual frameworks, empirical findings, and practices from transition projects assisting with the preparation, implementation and follow-up, and evaluation of the transition from early intervention services to preschool for young children with disabilities, their families, and service providers and programs. What follows are general conclusions regarding transition practices and implications for serving the transition needs of young children with disabilities and their families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups.


Conclusion

Four points are salient for reviewing the preceding empirical studies and conceptual papers for the transition from early intervention services to preschool services for young children with disabilities and their families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups. They include: (a) congruence of current practices with recommended practices, (b) modifications in current practices, (c) the degree to which culturally and linguistically diverse groups have been addressed in the existing literature, and (d) recommendations for the transition from early intervention services to preschool services.

Congruence with Recommended Practices

It appears that existing practices for the transition from early intervention services to preschool services are similar to the DEC recommended practice indicators for the child, family, and service providers and programs components. Overall, practices also appear to encompass the recommendations from NAEYC (e.g., program continuity, communication and cooperation among staff in sending and receiving programs, child preparation, and parent involvement in transition planning). Yet, Hains et al. (1989), for example, found the preschool and kindergarten teachers in their sample emphasized the use of different developmental skills in their classrooms (social interaction and communication skills versus discipline-related behaviors). When expectations differ across settings, a danger exists for diminished maintenance and generalization of skills. This disparity can be especially difficult for young children with disabilities (Bailey & Wolery, 1992) and for young children from culturally and linguistically diverse groups (Leung, 1990).

The translation from transition theory (e.g., Hains et al., 1991; Hanline et al., 1989) into practice (e.g., Hanline & Knowlton, 1988; Noonan & Ratokalau, 1992; Rous et al., 1994) is apparent across the recommended practice indicators for the family and the service provider and program components. However, there are indications that the translation is not complete. For example, parents requested additional information about preschool services and options than they received (Hanline & Knowlton, 1988) and service providers reported numerous community barriers affecting the implementation of transition services (Rous et al., 1994). Further, recommended practice indicators for culturally appropriate practices are notably limited across the implementation and follow-up, and evaluation phases of transition.

Administrative support in terms of time, monetary assistance, and other resources is necessary to produce for all transition-related efforts. Without administrative backing, initiatives can become limited in scope or fail to be modified to better match recommended practice.

Modifications in Current Practices

The projects and transition efforts described in the literature serve diverse groups of families (e.g., Project PPT in Hawaii and Project STIP in San Francisco). Yet, little information is presented regarding the extent to which changes were or were not made to the transition process to meet the needs of young children and their families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups. Further, limited demographic information is presented for most of the empirical studies. Only Noonan & Ratokalau (1992) provide detailed information about the cultural and racial background of the recipients of services in their Hawaii-based project. Transition practices and the match between what is offered by service providers and programs and what is desired by individual families cannot be examined or assessed for their cultural appropriateness without additional demographic information.

An example of modifications to existing practices was found in a project in Massachusetts (Susan Craig, person communication, July 16, 1997). The community practice of active involvement in education-related matters was unfamiliar to their cultural beliefs and practices of newly arrived immigrants from Cambodia. The identification of a community leader as the parent liaison and the employment of native Cambodian service providers assisted with improving opportunities for Cambodian parents' involvement in education-related matters, specifically transition between programs and services and the opportunities were provided in a respectful and culturally sensitive manner.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Groups Addressed in the Literature

As indicated above, there is a paucity of information related to transition practices for culturally and linguistically diverse groups. It appears that projects serve diverse groups; for example several manuals are published in English and Spanish (BEST: Un paso adelante a los tres anos de edad: Guia para las familias, 1995). But there is limited dissemination and evaluation of such linguistically sensitive materials and practices at the present time.

Federally funded projects are underway throughout the United States (e.g., FACTS/LRE in Illinois, Project Ta-kos in New Mexico). Investigators must be encouraged to disseminate the processes, products, and detailed information about the families and service providers receiving their assistance. In this way, information can be collected and evaluated for cultural appropriateness in a more systematic manner. Examples of projects and disseminated materials are provided in Table 2.

Table 2.
Transition projects and materials

Project

Purpose

Sample materials

BEST (Bridging Early Services Transition)

Assists with local and state coordination of transition services for families and children with disabilities between the ages of 2 and 5

BEST: Step ahead at age three: A guide for families (Available in English and Spanish) (Smith & BEST Taskforce, 1995)

FACTS/LRE (Family and Child Transitions into Least Restrictive Environments)

Addresses the process of transition planning for families and children between the ages of 2 and 5 with a broad range of disabilities or developmental delays

FACTS/LRE Manual #4 Planning your child's transition to preschool: A step-by-step guide for families (Chandler, Fowler, Hadden, & Stahurski, 1995)

Project PPT (Preschool Preparation and Transition)

Provides support to families and their young children with special needs in the transition from infant programs to least restrictive preschool placements

PPT Transition Notebook (Ratokalau, Clayburgh, Yamashita, & Graham, 1991)

Project STEPS (Sequenced Transition to Education in the Public Schools)

Provides training and technical assistance to state agencies, administrative and program staff, and family with children with disabilities aged birth to age eight

Project STEPS replication manual, 2nd Edition (Byrd, Stephens, Dyk, Rous, & Perry, 1991)

Project STIP (Supported Transition to Integrated Preschools)

Provides support and services to parents during all phases of the child's transition to preschool settings

Parent Transition Preparation Checklist OR Making the Transition to Preschool: A Parent Manual (Hanline, 1987)

Project Ta-kos

Provides inservice training to program staff and families with children aged birth to 8 with special needs

Transition to public schools for families of young children with special needs: Parent workshops (Render, Yoches, & Coleman, 1994)

TEEM (Transition into the elementary education mainstream)

Promotes the successful transition of young children with disabilities and their families from early childhood programs to kindergarten

TEEM: A manual to support the transition of young children with special needs and their families from preschool into kindergarten and other regular education environments (Ross-Allen & Conn-Powers, 1991)

Source: Compiled from NEC*TAS 1993-94 Directory of Selected Early Childhood Programs

Recommendations for Early Intervention Services to Preschool Transition

Both the conceptual and empirical papers discuss recommendations for increasing the involvement and meeting the needs of young children with disabilities and their families during the transition from early intervention services to preschool services. Hains et al. (1991) state, "by responding to families' concerns and by supporting their involvement in early transitions, service providers can assist families in preparing for the future" (p. 46). This statement highlights the reciprocal nature of the transition process. Families and service providers must work together in order to prepare, implement, and evaluate the outcomes for all participants (Kilgo et al., 1989; Lazzari & Kilgo, 1989).

Parent education and support is also recommended in the literature. The rationale is to assist parents in developing skills they can use during the transition from early intervention to preschool services as well as during future transitions (McDonald, et al., 1989; Spiegel-McGill et al., 1990). The identified processes in the transition literature focus on service providers and other staff members working with parents to identify information and service-related needs. Efforts then center on activities (e.g., referrals, visitations to programs) to meet identified needs. In this way, parents experience greater control over the process, reduced stress and are better informed to meet the demands of the transition (Hanline, 1988; McDonald et al., 1989). The next step is to evaluate these processes for culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

What follows are implications for practice based on the proceeding discussion. Five areas will be highlighted: community context, collaboration, communication, family concerns, and continuity. These five factors (5C's) are critical in meeting the transition needs of young children with disabilities and their families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups.

Community Context. An awareness and understanding of the community context is needed for planning, implementing, and evaluating transitions. Without a firm understanding of the issues facing families as well as family preferences and cultural values, service providers and programs will be limited in the effectiveness of their transition efforts. For example, Lequerica (1993) discusses the stressors affecting new immigrant families with children with disabilities. She describes barriers to effective service delivery and points out the need "not only to identify family patterns of reactions to stress within their ethnic and cultural contexts, but to identify and analyze the patterns of service delivery of the agencies that serve poor, handicapped immigrant children" (p. 549). Lynch (1992) also discusses the utilization of "cultural guides" (p. 40) to help foster an understanding of community values and practices for the agencies and personnel offering services to diverse groups. It must become a community-wide effort to meet the needs of diverse groups during transitions to and from service delivery systems.

Collaboration. Collaboration with families is essential during times of transition (Bruder & Chandler, 1996; Fowler et al., 1991; Hains et al., 1988; Hanline & Knowlton, 1988; Wolery, 1989). This becomes especially critical for easing transitions for families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups. The DEC recommended practice indicators recommend information exchange and opportunities for family involvement during transitions. Yet, transition strategies and options of increased specificity may be necessary to meet the needs of families from diverse groups. An understanding of cultural traditions concerning education and interaction with professionals will assist in formulating realistic options for collaboration in transition planning, implementation, and evaluation. A true partnership cannot be formed without explicit attention to cultural variation and preferences for involvement in transition efforts (Lynch & Hanson, 1992).

Communication. As with collaboration, communication with families is critical during times of transition. Increasingly, the literature is identifying strategies for cross-cultural communication (Anderson, 1989; Lynch, 1992; Watkins & Eastman, this set of papers). Preservice and inservice training efforts (e.g. Lowenthal, 1996) must include instruction as well as an ongoing focus on the increased understanding of inter and intra-group differences in communication styles. Families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups should be encouraged to share their expertise and experiences through formal and informal means of feedback and evaluation of the transition process. In this way, communication issues and barriers can be more readily identified and remediated. Family input is a vital link to enhancing communication between all of the individuals involved in transition efforts.

Family concerns. Service providers, administrators, and policymakers must be responsive to family concerns when planning, implementing, and evaluating transitions. In order for this to occur, an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust is needed. While this perspective is advocated throughout EI/ECSE practices (Odom & McLean, 1996), empirical studies are needed to more closely examine their use. Specifically for transition practices, research is necessary to validate the DEC recommended practice indicators and NAEYC recommendations and the match with the concerns of culturally and linguistically diverse groups. For example, encouraging families to visit programs and speak with service providers may be incompatible to cultural views concerning professionals and/or replaced by more immediate concerns for housing and medical care. Again, specific strategies and methods are needed that effectively address the concerns of culturally and linguistically diverse groups during times of transition.

Continuity. Finally, continuity between home and program must be incorporated throughout the transition process. Along with identifying child skills for the next environment (e.g. Carta et al., 1990), efforts must be made to address other differences in service delivery that may affect families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups. Inconsistencies in expectations, procedures, or activities can adversely affect family functioning (Lynch & Hanson, 1992). Service providers are in an important position to facilitate this continuity. Rosenkoetter et al. (1994) provide suggestions for creating continuity for children. For example, differences in program or agency philosophy and curriculum can be eased by promoting communication across programs and gradually preparing children for changes (p. 114-120). Similar strategies can be developed for continuity and culturally sensitive practices for diverse groups of families. In this way, stress is reduced and families can be more actively involved in the transition process.

For transition practices to be effective for young children with disabilities and their families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups, adaptations, modifications, and a critical evaluation of existing practices will be necessary in order to provide culturally appropriate services.


References


Anderson, P. P. (1989). Issues in serving culturally diverse families of young children with disabilities. Early Child Development and Care, 50, 167-188.

Bailey, D. B., & Wolery, M. (1992). Teaching infants and preschoolers with disabilities (2nd Edition). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Bennett, T., Raab, M., & Nelson, D. (1991). The transition process for toddlers with special needs and their families. Zero to Three, 11(3), 17-21.

Bredekamp, S. & Copple, C. (1997). Developmentally appropriate practice in early childhood programs (Revised edition). Washington, D. C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Bruder, M. B., & Chandler, L. (1996). Transition. In S. L. Odom & M. E. McLean (Eds.), Early intervention/early childhood special education: Recommended Practices (pp. 287-307). Austin, TX: Pro-ed.

Carta, J. J., Atwater, J. B., Schwartz, I. S., & Miller, P. A. (1990). Applications of ecobehavioral analysis to the study of transitions across early education settings. Education and Treatment of Children, 13, 298-315.

Chandler, L. K. (1993). Steps in preparing for transition: Preschool to kindergarten. Teaching Exceptional Children, 25(4), 52-55.

Conn-Powers, M. C., Ross-Allen, J., & Holburn, S. (1990). Transition of young children into the elementary education mainstream. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 9(4), 91-105.

Daniel, J. E. (1993). Infants to toddlers: Qualities of effective transitions. Young Children, 48(6), 16-21.

Diamond, K. E., Spiegel-McGill, P., & Hanrahan, P. (1988). Planning for school transition: An ecological-developmental approach. Journal of the Division for Early Childhood, 12, 245-252.

Dunst, C., Trivette, C., & Deal, A. (1988). Enabling and empowering families: Principles and guidelines for practice. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books.

Fiechtl, B., Rule, S., & Innocenti, M. S. (1989). It's time to get ready for school. Teaching Exceptional Children, 21(2), 63-65.

Fleck, K. M. (1995). Supporting the transition to elementary school. Principal, 74(5), 25-27.

Fowler, S. A. (1982). Transition from preschool to kindergarten for children with special needs. In K. E. Allen & E. M. Goetz (Eds.), Early childhood education: Special problems, special solutions (pp. 309-334). Rockville, MD: Aspen.

Fowler, S.A., Fink, D., & Wischnowski, M. W. (1995). FACTS/LRE: Family and child transition to the least restrictive environments. Final Report. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Institute for Research on Human Development. (ED 391 326)

Fowler, S. A. & Ostrosky, M. (1994). Transition to and from preschool in early childhood special education. In P. L. Safford, B. Spodek, & O. N. Saracho (Eds.), Yearbook in Early Childhood Education Volume 5: Early Childhood Special Education (pp. 142-164). New York, NY: Teacher's College Press.

Fowler, S. A., Schwartz, I., & Atwater, J. (1991). Perspectives on the transition from preschool to kindergarten for children with disabilities and their families. Exceptional Children, 58, 136-145.

Fowler, S. A. & Titus, P. F. (1993). Handling transitions. In P. J. Beckman & G. B. Boyes (Eds.), Deciphering the system: A guide for families of young children with disabilities (pp. 101-116). Cambridge, MA: Brookline.

Hains, A. H., Fowler, S. A., & Chandler, L. K. (1988). Planning school transitions: Family and professional collaboration. Journal of the Division for Early Childhood, 12, 108-115.

Hains, A. H., Fowler, S. A., Schwartz, I. S., Kottwitz, E., & Rosenkoetter, S. (1989). A comparison of preschool and kindergarten teacher expectations for school readiness. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 4, 75-88.

Hains, A. H., Rosenkoetter, S. E., & Fowler, S. A. (1991). Transition planning with families in early intervention programs. Infants and Young Children, 3(4), 38-47.

Hanline, M. F. (1988). Making the transition to preschool: Identification of parent needs. Journal of the Division for Early Childhood, 12, 98-107.

Hanline, M. F. & Knowlton, A. (1988). A collaborative model for providing support to parents during their child's transition from infant intervention to preschool special education public school programs. Journal of the Division for Early Childhood, 12, 116-125.

Hanline, M. F., Suchman, S., & Demmerle, C. (1989). Beginning public preschool. Teaching Exceptional Children, 21(2), 61-62.

Hanson, M. J., & Lynch, E. W. (1992). Family diversity: Implications for policy and practice. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 12(3), 283-306.

Harry, B., & Kalyanpur, M. (1994). Cultural underpinnings of special education: Implications for professional interactions with culturally diverse families. Disability & Society, 9, 145-165.

Haymes, L. K., Fowler, S. A., & Cooper, A. Y. (1994). Assessing the transition and adjustment of preschoolers with special needs to an integrated program. Journal of Early Intervention, 18, 184-198.

Hughes, S. (1992). Serving culturally diverse families of infants and toddlers with disabilities. Infant-Toddler Intervention, 2, 169-177.

Hutinger, P. L. (1981). Transition practices for handicapped young children: What the experts say. Journal of the Division for Early Childhood, 2, 8-14.

Johnson, L. J., Gallagher, R. J., Cook, M., Wong, P. (1995). Critical skills for kindergarten: Perceptions from kindergarten teachers. Journal of Early Intervention, 19, 315-327.

Kilgo, J. L., Richard, N., & Noonan, M. J. (1989). Teaming for the future: Integrating transition planning with early intervention services for young children with special needs and their families. Infants and Young Children, 2(2), 37-48.

Lazzari, A. M., & Kilgo, J. L. (1989). Practical methods for supporting parents in early transitions. Teaching Exceptional Children, 22(1), 40-43.

LeAger, C., & Shapiro, E. S. (1995). Template matching as a strategy for assessment of and intervention for preschool students with disabilities. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 15(2), 187-218.

Lequerica, M. (1993). Stress in immigrant families with handicapped children: A child advocacy approach. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 63(4), 545-552.

Leung, E. K. (1990). Early risks: Transition from culturally/linguistically diverse homes to formal schooling. Journal of Educational Issues of Language Minority Students, 7, 35-51.

Logue, M. E., & Love, J. M. (1992). Making the transition to kindergarten. Principal 71(5), 10-12.

Love, J. M., Logue, M. E., Trudeau, J. V., & Thayer, K. (1992). Transitions to kindergarten in American schools: Final report of the National Transition Study. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Corp.

Lowenthal, B. (1996). Training early interventionists to work with culturally diverse families. Infant-Toddler Intervention, 6, 145-152.

Lynch, E. W. (1992). Developing cross-cultural competence. In E. W. Lynch & M. J. Hanson (Eds.). Developing cross-cultural competence: A guide for working with young children and their families (pp. 35-59). Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

Lynch, E. W., & Hanson, M. J. (1992). Steps in the right direction: Implications for interventionists. In E. W. Lynch & M. J. Hanson (Eds.). Developing cross-cultural competence: A guide for working with young children and their families (pp. 355-370). Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

McDonald, L., Kysela, G. M., Siebert, P., McDonald, S., & Chambers, J. (1989). Parent perspectives: Transition to preschool. Teaching Exceptional Children, 22(1), 4-8.

Meadows, J. L. (1991). Multicultural communication. Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 11(4), 31-42.

Noonan, M. J., & Kilgo, J. L. (1987). Transition services for early age individuals with severe mental retardation. In R. N. Ianacone & R. A. Stodden (Eds.), Transition: Issues and trends (pp. 25-37). Reston, VA: Council for Exceptional Children.

Noonan, M. J., & Ratokalau, N. B. (1992). Project PPT: The Preschool Preparation and Transition project. Journal of Early Intervention, 15, 390-398.

Odom, S. L. & McLean, M. E. (Eds.) (1996). Early intervention/early childhood special education: Recommended practices. Austin, TX: Pro-ed.

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Rosenkoetter, S. E., Hains, A. H., & Fowler, S. A. (1994). Bridging early services for children with special needs and their families: A practical guide for transition planning. Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.

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Annotated Bibliographies


Daniel, J. E. (1993). Infants to toddlers: Qualities of effective transitions. Young Children, 48(6), 16-21.

This article describes the efforts of the University of Pittsburgh Child Development Center (UCDC) to prepare children and their families for the transition from infant to toddler child care groupings. Each infant group includes twelve children between the ages of 6 weeks and 18 months with three caregivers. The toddler group consists of 15 children from 18 months to 3 years with three caregivers. A number of significant changes exist between the two groups in terms of group composition, daily routines, activities, and social demands.

The author conceptualizes transition as mountain climbs and provides a thorough description of the approach to facilitating transitions at UCDC. She emphasizes both the shared and individual nature of the transition process, that typically takes approximately five to six weeks for completion. The child is introduced to new aspects of the toddler room in a step-by-step fashion that facilitates a smooth transition. Parent involvement is also stressed, along with various forms of communication between parents and caregivers (e.g., informal conversations, visits to the toddler room).

This article includes a brief discussion of "Trouble spots and adjustments" (p. 20). Adjustments may need to be made to accommodate individual child and/or parent needs. It also includes many photographs of young children, their parents, and caregivers representing a number of culturally diverse groups.



Johnson, L. J., Gallagher, R. J., Cook, M., & Wong, P. (1995). Critical skills for kindergarten: Perceptions from kindergarten teachers. Journal of Early Intervention, 19(4), 315-327.

This study examined the perspectives of kindergarten teachers related to the skills needed for entry into the kindergarten setting. A sample of 176 kindergarten teachers completed a survey by ranking 149 skills within 5 domains (gross motor, fine motor, school readiness, language, and social skills). Items were ranked from very important to not important on a four-point scale. Teachers were also asked to select the five most important skills from each domain area as well as the five most critical skills for children to possess across the five domains.

Results indicated that kindergarten teachers stressed skills related to independence more so than those related to academic readiness. Specifically, kindergarten teachers in this sample rated a large number of items in the domains of social and language skills as the most critical for kindergarten entry. The other domain areas were represented but not with as many entries in the top five most important skills category. The relevance of these findings to the transition into kindergarten for young children with special needs is threefold. First, preschool programs typically address these five domain areas but may emphasize these developmental areas in different ways than what is expected in the kindergarten setting. Second, for preschool children with special needs, interventions are often focused on remediating deficit areas with less attention to some of the skills mentioned considered critical for kindergarten. Third, for families from diverse backgrounds, the skills identified by this sample of kindergarten teachers may conflict with traditional practices or beliefs (e.g., group cooperation versus individual effort, types of interactions with adults).

In their discussion, Johnson and colleagues point out that "these kindergarten teachers have identified critical skills for children that consist of independence, rich language and communication ability, and social skills that enable the child to get along with peers and adults" (p. 326). The authors also stress the correspondence of these skills with recommended practice in early childhood special education. These areas should be included in the child preparation component of the transition from preschool to kindergarten, but must be tempered with the preferences and priorities of culturally and linguistically diverse families.


Noonan, M. J., & Ratokalau, N. B. (1991). PPT: The Preschool Preparation and Transition Project. Journal of Early Intervention, 15(4), 390-398.

This article describes a model demonstration program in Hawaii. The authors describe the following components of this effort: (a) child preparation for the transition from early intervention to inclusive preschools, (b) program level changes to ensure smooth transitions, and (c) community support of the inclusion on young children with special needs in preschool settings.

Demographic information is provided for the approximately 800 children served by PPT. Over half of these families represented minority groups such as Hawaiian, Filipino, Japanese, and mixed heritage. Parent education and transition support were provided to families and tailored to individual preferences (e.g., individual versus group parent education instruction). Corresponding staff development and transdisciplinary teaming activities were also implemented to ensure a shared commitment and vision to the project.

Evaluation data indicated that a significant number of children moved into inclusive preschool settings, parent knowledge about transition and related legal information increased, and parents were satisfied with the PPT model. In fact, at the conclusion of funding, Hawaii's Department of Health requested replication of the project statewide. It appears that PPT offers a blueprint for effective transition practices for culturally diverse families and other stakeholders in early childhood special education.



Rosenkoetter, S. E., Hains, A. H., & Fowler, S. A. (1994). Bridging early services for children with special needs and their families. Baltimore, MD: Brookes.

This text provides a comprehensive look at both the components and process of early transitions for young children with special needs and their families. Throughout, the authors emphasize the dynamic nature of transitions and the need for communication and collaboration between families and service providers from the sending and receiving programs.

Fourteen chapters comprise the text, each offering insights into specific aspects of the transition experience. Notably, several chapters address in more detail the specific needs and concerns of families. An effort is made to include families representing diverse cultural and linguistic groups in descriptions of existing practices, vignettes, and in emphasizing the individualized nature of transition planning, preparation, implementation, and evaluation. Service providers are encouraged to consider their experiences with transition in early childhood special education, review relevant research, and raise their awareness of issues related to interagency collaboration, continuity for children, and related concerns. In addition, a number of chapters offer a context and a framework for the transition process (e.g., Chapter 2: Policies, regulations, and prevailing philosophies for intervention: The context of bridge building). The metaphor used throughout the text of building bridges is particularly apt and serves as a means to link all of the chapters into an integrated discussion of this topic.

There are also six Appendices and an extensive reference list. These resources provide a starting point for families, service providers, and administrators to examine existing practices and make changes to better meet the needs of all participants in the transition process. Individual chapters also include checklists, vignettes, and other resources for developing and improving transition practices within the context of recommended practice and drawing on the wealth of experiences of the authors.

While this text may not address all of the unique issues faced by families from diverse cultural and linguistic groups, it provides a wealth of information about the types of transition practices and, more importantly, an orientation to transition that is based on the needs and preferences of all the individuals involved in early childhood transitions.


Resources


Pathways in Early Service Coordination [Video and Guide]

Peggy Rosin
Meredith Green
Liz Hecht
Linda Tuchman
Sue Robbins

Summary
This videotape illustrates some personal challenges faced in providing early intervention service coordination. Four scenarios are presented, each depicting one or more unsolved dilemmas from four clusters of service coordination activities. Viewers are asked to generate solutions, to respond to key questions, and to solve problems in ways that appear viable from their perspective and community context. Clusters of activities include getting started in the Individualized Family Service Plan process, providing follow-along services to families in implementing IFSP, facing unexpected crises, and initiating transitions. A separate guide recaps each scenario with its accompanying questions from the videotape.

Bibliographic Information
Peggy Rosin, Meredith Green, Liz Hecht, Linda Tuchman, Sue Robbins. Pathways in Early Service Coordination [Video and Guide] (1996). Pathways Service Coordination Project Early Intervention Program: Madison, WI. (11 pages). Language: English

Availability
May be ordered from:
Pathways Service Coordination Project Early Intervention Program
Waisman Center, Room 231
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1500 Highland Avenue
Madison, WI 53705
(608) 265-2063 phone
(608) 263-0529 fax

Producer Information


Transition: A Time for Growth [Video]

Sharon Rosenkoetter
Ann Higgens Hains
Carolyn Streufert

Summary
This 13-minute videotape recording is designed to help parents of young children with disabilities understand the transition process from early intervention services for infants and toddlers (ages birth to three) to special education preschool services. Information was compiled from numerous interviews with families in transition.

Bibliographic Information
Sharon Rosenkoetter, Ann Higgens Hains, Carolyn Streufert. Transition: A Time for Growth [Video] (1995). Bridging Early Services Transition Project: McPherson, KS. ( pages). Language: English and Spanish

Availability
Print version available at no charge to parents and other requesters, call to verify current price for video. May be ordered from:
Bridging Early Services Transition Project c/o Associated Colleges of Central Kansas
210 S. Main St.
1 West Wilson Street, P.O. Box 7851
McPherson, KS 67460
(316) 241-7754 phone
(316) 241-5153 fax

Producer Information



Entering a New Preschool: How Service Providers and Families Can Ease the Transitions of Children Turning Three Who Have Special Needs

Mary Donegan
Dale B. Fink
Susan A. Fowler
Michael W. Wischnowski

Summary
This booklet discusses some of the issues children and families may experience during the transition into preschool and presents suggestions to help minimize adjustment problems for children with special needs entering preschool. Ways in which early intervention staff, staff in the new setting, and families can work together to provide a satisfactory transition for these children are illustrated in the fictional account of one child's transition, based on the experiences of the authors. Transition planning is described beginning with the Individualized Family Support Plan (IFSP), running through strategies for use prior to and after the transition. Lists of additional resources are present, including books to help children with their transition.

Bibliographic Information
Mary Donegan, Dale B. Fink, Susan A. Fowler, Michael W. Wischnowski. Entering a New Preschool: How Service Providers and Families Can Ease the Transitions of Children Turning Three Who Have Special Needs (1994). Family and Child Transitions into Least Restrictive Education (FACTS/LRE): Champaign, IL. (18 pages). Language: English

Availability
Available online, some print copies still available at address below. May be ordered from:
Family and Child Transitions into Least Restrictive Education (FACTS/LRE)
61 Children's Research Center
51 Gerty Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 333-4123 phone

Producer Information



Facilitating Inclusion in Community Settings: Creating Environments that Support the Communication and Social Interactions of Young Children

Martha L. Venn
Dale B. Fink
Sarah Hadden
Susan A. Fowler

Summary
This guide offers suggestions to promote social interaction and communication of preschool children, thereby facilitating inclusion of children with speech and language delays into community settings. A preschool scenario is presented to illustrate problem areas in classroom communication. Guidelines are then offered for integrating learning opportunities into the daily preschool routines, maximizing natural opportunities with children, and anticipating circumstances that can be used to promote children's use of language and positive social interaction. The following techniques to promote communication are considered: changing communication and speech patterns, asking open ended questions, pausing, using expansions, and offering praise and encouragement. The preschool scenario is then reexamined, and guidelines for modifying daily routines are offered. A form for recording a teacher action plan is provided.

Bibliographic Information
Martha L. Venn, Dale B. Fink, Sarah Hadden, Susan A. Fowler. Facilitating Inclusion in Community Settings: Creating Environments that Support the Communication and Social Interactions of Young Children (1994). Family and Child Transitions into Least Restrictive Education (FACTS/LRE): Champaign, IL. (18 pages). Language: English

Availability
Available online, some print copies still available for purchase. May be ordered from:
Family and Child Transitions into Least Restrictive Education (FACTS/LRE)
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
61 Children's Research Center
51 Gerty Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 333-4123 phone

Producer Information



Instructional Strategies Manual for the Helpful Entry Level Skills Checklist-Revised Edition (3rd Edition)

Rita Byrd
Beth Rous

Summary
This manual was designed for use with the Helpful Entry Level Skills Checklist - Revised Edition and the Developmental Ages for Skills included on the Helpful Entry Level Skills Checklist. Specific strategies for teaching or reinforcing particular social, behavioral, and functional skills are included, as are general teaching ideas for classroom use. Tips and activities are coded to indicate whether they address the needs of students with hearing impairments, visual impairments, multiple disabilities, or speech/language impairments; a separate code is assigned to indicate family activities. Instructional strategies and activities explore classroom rules, work skills, communication skills, social behavior skills, and self-management skills. Appendices list and discuss recommended games, finger plays, music, books, kits, videos, assistive technology, and automated learning devices.

Bibliographic Information
Rita Byrd, Beth Rous. Instructional Strategies Manual for the Helpful Entry Level Skills Checklist-Revised Edition (3rd edition) (1997). PROJECT STEPS: Lexington, KY. (95 pages). Language: English

Availability
May be ordered from:
PROJECT STEPS
202 Mineral Industries Building
Lexington, KY 40506
(606) 257-9117 phone

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Interagency Agreements: Improving the Transition Process for Young Children with Special Needs and Their Families

Dale B. Fink
Eileen Borgia
Susan A. Fowler

Summary
This booklet focuses on the role of interagency agreements in facilitating the transition of young children and their families from early intervention services to preschool services as children turn 3 years of age. Interagency agreements can be viewed as an "invisible brace" supporting families and staff as they consider many issues in moving from one service system to another. Interagency agreements can expand educational options while reassuring those legally and fiscally responsible for children's educational programs that they are acting properly. The role of service programs and the local interagency council in developing an interagency agreement for transitions is discussed. Laws that underlie the services for young children with disabilities and special needs are reviewed. Issues to be considered in drawing up an interagency agreement include: guidelines to promote continuity of services, avoiding duplication of assessment, logistical and technical support issues, and the level of formality. Two vignettes describe service transitions and the impact of interagency agreements. Components of a good interagency agreement are listed. The booklet closes with an interagency agreement currently in use and a model agreement.

Bibliographic Information
Dale B. Fink, Eileen Borgia, Susan A. Fowler. Interagency Agreements: Improving the Transition Process for Young Children with Special Needs and Their Families (1994). Family and Child Transitions into Least Restrictive Education (FACTS/LRE): University of Illinois at: Champaign, IL. (18 pages). Language: English

Availability
Available online full text, some copies still available for purchase. May be ordered from:
Family and Child Transitions into Least Restrictive Education (FACTS/LRE)
University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign
61 Children's Research Center
51 Gerty Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 333-4123 phone

Producer Information



Multicultural Early Childhood Team Training: Infusing Cultural Competence in Early Childhood Programs: Participant Notebook

Nona Flynn
Eva K. Thorp
Kyppee White Evans
Cherie Takemoto

Summary
Intended to be used by parent and professional teams learning from other parent and professional teams, this participant's manual is designed to help improve services to diverse families of young children with special needs. It includes twelve modules that address: (1) culturally competent, family centered principles; (2) family find; (3) communication and partnerships; (4) areas of child development"; (5) family centered assessment practices; (6) inclusive services; (7) Individualized Family Service Plans and Individualized Education Programs; (8) home visits; (9) facilitating transitions; (10) facilitating the process of becoming a family centered, culturally sensitive program; (11) developing an action plan; and (12) on-site follow-up consultation. The design of the participant training materials was based upon principles of adult learning. Two-thirds of the activities involve active participant involvement, including individual and team surveys, role plays, team projects, and analysis of case studies. Activities are designed to support team building and collaboration. They are also designed to assist participating teams in seeing themselves as change agents and to support their continuing to work together after the training.

Bibliographic Information

Nona Flynn, Eva K. Thorp, Kyppee White Evans, Cherie Takemoto. Multicultural Early Childhood Team Training: Infusing Cultural Competence in Early Childhood Programs : Participant Notebook (1998). The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC), George Mason University (GMU): Fairfax, VA. (210 pages). Language: English

Availability
Cost is for Participant Notebook and Trainer's Guide. May be ordered from:
The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC)
George Mason University (GMU)
Multicultural Early Childhood Team Training
George Mason University, MSN 1F2
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 993-3670 phone

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Multicultural Early Childhood Team Training: Infusing Cultural Competence in Early Childhood Programs: Trainers Guide

Nona Flynn
Eva K. Thorp
Kyppee White Evans
Cherie Takemoto

Summary
Intended to be used by parent and professional teams to train other parent and professional teams, this trainer's guide is designed to help teach parents and professionals how improve services to diverse families of young children with special needs. It includes twelve modules that address: (1 culturally competent, family centered principles; (2) family find; (3) communication and partnerships; (4) areas of child development"; (5) family centered assessment practices; (6) inclusive services; (7) Individualized Family Service Plans and Individualized Education Programs; (8) home visits; (9) facilitating transitions; (10) facilitating the process f becoming a family centered, culturally sensitive program; (11) developing an action plan; and (12) on-site follow-up consultation. The guide is organized to make planning and delivery of training as easy as possible. Materials include a Module-at-a-Glance, listing activities, time frameworks, materials, and recommended reparations. In addition, each activity is described in depth, including transition statements to the next activity. Resource materials are provided for the preparation of mini-lectures and masters for overheads are provided for duplications. The last module contains recruitment resources, including sample letters and interview protocols, as well as a guide for providing follow-up to teams.

Bibliographic Information
Nona Flynn, Eva K. Thorp, Kyppee White Evans, Cherie Takemoto. Multicultural Early Childhood Team Training: Infusing Cultural Competence in Early Childhood Programs: Trainers Guide (1998). The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC), George Mason University (GMU): Fairfax, VA. (210 pages). Language: English

Availability
Cost is for Participant Notebook and Traner's Guide. May be ordered from:
The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC)
Multicultural Early Childhood Team Training
George Mason University, MSN 1F2
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
(703) 993-3670 phone

Producer Information



Planning Your Child's Transition to Preschool: A Step-by-Step Guide for Families

Lynette K. Chandler
Susan A. Fowler
Sarah Hadden
Lisa Stahurski

Summary
This manual is intended to assist parents of young children with disabilities in their child's transition from early intervention services to preschool or other educational services at age 3. It provides information about the transition process, federal and state laws that apply to transition, and options for services and program placements. The manual suggests strategies to help families prepare for transition and participate in the transition process. Two case studies introduce the manual and contrast positive and negative transition processes. Individual sections of the manual cover the following topics: (a) learning about transition, (b) family involvement in transition planning, (c) preparing for transition, (d) participating as a member of the transition team, (e) parent rights and laws concerning transition, (f) gathering information and making decisions, and (g) sharing information in the new program. Worksheets and checklists provided throughout the manual and in an appendix are designed to facilitate the manual's usefulness to parents.

Bibliographic Information
Lynette K. Chandler, Susan A. Fowler, Sarah Hadden, Lisa Stahurski. Planning Your Child's Transition to Preschool: A Step-by-Step Guide for Families (1995). FACTS/LRE, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: Champaign, IL. (54 pages). Language: English

Availability
Available onine, some print copies still available for purchase. May be ordered from:
FACTS/LRE, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
61 Children's Research Center
51 Gerty Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 333-4123 phone
(217) 244-7732 fax

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Project Prepare: Transition: Competency-Based Personnel Preparation in Early Childhood Education Modules

Summary
One of nine competency-based training modules for personnel preparation in early childhood special education, this guide focuses on the facilitation of transition services for young children. All modules are adaptable for use with a general audience, direct service personnel, or administrators and are based on the following principles: developmentally appropriate practice; integration of children with disabilities with typically developing peers; collaborative relationships with families; attention to individual needs; and provision for and valuing of diversity among young children and their families. Modules are intended to be used in whole or in part, in groups or for self-instruction. Each module comprises goals; competencies (knowledge, skill, and values and attitudes); and objectives, with a matrix for each objective identifying enabling activities, resources, and leader notes. Relevant handouts, forms, and readings are provided for each objective. This module provides participants with four major goals: (1) understand the concept and implications of transition; (2) understand transition as both a practice and a process in early childhood and early childhood special education; (3) become familiar with model transition programs; and (4) advocate for best practices. (Contains approximately 90 references.)

Bibliographic Information
Project Prepare: Transition: Competency-Based Personnel Preparation in Early Childhood Education Modules (1992). Ohio Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood: Columbus, OH. (522 pages). Language: English

Availability
Available from the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (1-800-443-2742 or http://edrs.com), or through loan from the Ohio Department of Education.
Ohio Department of Education, Division of Early Childhood
470 Glenmont Avenue
Columbus, OH 43214
(614) 262-4545 phone

Producer Information



Writing an Interagency Agreement on Transition: A Practical Guide

Sarah Hadden, Susan A. Fowler, Dale B. Fink, Michael W. Wischnowski

Summary
This manual provides detailed, step-by-step information on developing and writing an interagency agreement to facilitate the transition of young (age 3) children with disabilities from early intervention programs into preschool educational services under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Worksheets are provided throughout the manual to assist in the process of writing the agreement. An introductory section considers preliminary aspects such as forming a team to write the agreement and the overall process of writing an agreement. The next section considers seven aspects of the agreement: (1) articulating the purpose statement, (2) transmitting information, (3) discussing transition issues with families, (4) determining eligibility, (5) and (7) monitoring the agreement. The two remaining sections offer guidelines for developing a collection of best practices and getting the interagency agreement signed. Appendices include a glossary of terms and the worksheets used in writing the agreement as well as a sample transition timeline and sample interagency agreements.

Bibliographic Information
Sarah Hadden, Susan A. Fowler, Dale B. Fink, Michael W. Wischnowski. Writing an Interagency Agreement on Transition: A Practical Guide (1994). Family and Child Transitions into Least Restrictive Environments (FACTS/LRE, University of Illinois): Champaign, IL. (25 pages). Language: English

Availability
Available online, some copies still available for sale at address below. May be ordered from:
Family and Child Transitions into Least Restrictive Environments (FACTS/LRE) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
61 Children's Research Center
51 Gerty Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 333-4123 phone
(217) 244-7732 fax

Producer Information


Early Childhood Research Institute on
Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
61 Children's Research Center
51 Gerty Drive
Champaign, Illinois 61820-7498
voice/tty 1.877.275.3227
web site http://clas.illinois.edu/

Copyright © 2000 CLAS. All rights reserved.
The CLAS Institute is funded with federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, under contract number H024560006. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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