Chelsea Guillen, the early intervention ombudsman for the Early Intervention Training Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will serve as a statewide ambassador to spearhead use of newly recommended practices for the care and education of young children with disabilities. Guillen joins a group of 16 experts chosen by the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute.
“We hand-picked the ambassadors for their broad expertise and skills,” said Joan Danaher, associate director of the ECTA. “They form a national cohort with knowledge of evidence-based practices, professional development and training, and their state’s early childhood services and practitioner networks.”
The Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children developed the recommended practices to provide guidance to practitioners and families about the most effective ways to improve learning outcomes and promote the development of young children, birth to age 5, who have or are at-risk for developmental delays or disabilities.
Danaher said the ECTA Center has developed a suite of products for practitioners and families to learn how to apply the recommended practices to developmental interventions in everyday routines and settings involving children and families. All of the products and resources are free, including popular videos starring “aRPy,” an animated spokesperson created by the ECTA Center.
Guillen, who served on the commission that recently revised the recommended practices, said she would draw on her own experience in a family with children who benefitted from early intervention and early childhood special education.
“I’ll work hard to ensure that the important role that families play in the intervention process doesn't get lost,” she said.
The aRPy Ambassadors will debut Oct. 18 at the DEC International Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.