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Think Inclusive

ECTA: Building High-Quality Systems Supporting Inclusive Education for Young Learners with Disabilities

Season 11, Ep. 30

About the Guest(s): Christina Kasprzak and Dr. Megan Vinh are the Co-Directors of the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA). Christina brings her expertise in leading initiatives to develop equitable and sustainable state systems for children with disabilities and their families. Her personal connection to the cause comes from a family that valued community and respect for all, emphasizing the importance of education in life. Dr. Megan Vinh's drive is equally personal, vaulting from family experiences into a professional passion for inclusion as a human right. She co-directs not just ECTA, but also the STEM Innovation for Inclusion in Early Education (STEMIE) center, championing proactive and inclusive STEM learning for young children.


Editorial Note: Christina Kasprzak is Director of the Trohanis TA Projects at FPG. She serves as Co-Director of the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA) and co-leads the FPG subcontract for The Center for IDEA Early Childhood Data Systems (DaSy). The DaSy Center dasycenter.org, led by Grace Kelley at SRI International, supports early intervention and early childhood special education state programs in building high quality data systems and using data to improve results for young children with disabilities and their families.


Episode Summary: Christina and Megan discuss their role in shaping inclusive educational systems for early childhood. The episode begins with an exploration into the work ECTA does in supporting state administrators and educators. With a heartwarming emphasis on equitable access, these leaders exemplify the importance of building an all-embracing infrastructure from policy to practice.


Christina and Megan delve into the tools and resources provided by ECTA that supports practitioners and families directly, such as the DEC recommended practices guides and family-friendly video materials. As they reveal challenges in creating inclusive systems, including the need for de-siloing state departments, they reaffirm the proven benefits of inclusion for children both with and without disabilities.


Transcript: https://otter.ai/u/Vz2ZPx3GpJO_iB8HGeqX51SI9e4


Key Takeaways:

  • ECTA predominantly supports state administrators in improving early intervention and preschool special education programs, advocating for all-encompassing and effective practices.
  • Both guests emphasize the profound personal and professional belief in the power and necessity of inclusive education for every child.
  • Christina and Megan discuss the practical tools ECTA offers, which are popular with professionals and families.
  • Inclusion benefits all children, and dismantling myths around it is essential to its advocacy and implementation.
  • The guests point out that everyone has a role to play in advocating for inclusion, and change is possible when people at every level of the system lead from their positions.


Resources:

ECTA Center: https://ectacenter.org/

Practice Improvement Tools: https://ectacenter.org/decrp/

Indicators of High-Quality Inclusion: https://ectacenter.org/topics/inclusion/indicators.asp

State Examples for Inclusion: https://ectacenter.org/topics/inclusion/stateexamples.asp


MCIE: https://www.mcie.org/

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