Implementing the Foundations of Inclusion Training Curriculum: Online Discussion Board

Please use this space to share your experiences, resources, and dilemmas. In this space, we can all continue to support and learn from one another in conducting professional development particularly around implementing the Foundations of Inclusion training curriculum.

There are several ways to participate in the discussion:
1) You can click on "Add new comment" below to share your experiences and dilemmas or questions.
2) You can also click on  "reply" to respond to what other people have written.
3) If you have any electronic copies of resources you would like to share with others, please email us at so that we can help you post it here. As a start, we have posted a resource, An administrator's guide to preschool inclusion (Odom & Wolery, 2000). This resource was shared by one of your fellow participants, Susan Dean. Thank you Susan! 

ECRII_Administrators_Guide_2000.pdf3.34 MB
media_permisn_en.pdf95.38 KB
media_permisn_esp.pdf119.06 KB
Foundations_of_Inclusion_Facilitators_Guide_RevOct13.pdf1.33 MB
Foundations_of_Inclusion_Facilitators_Guide_Word_RevOct2013.doc4.56 MB
Foundations_of_Inclusion_Training_Curriculum_Facilitation_Slides.ppt13.55 MB


Hi Michelle, We are checking

Hi Michelle,
We are checking it out with our partner, Quality Assist about this. We will let you know as soon as possible. Stay tuned.


Thank you.  I will watch for it.

Trainings Presented?

When you have presented your trainings can you post maybe what worked well and what did not work as well so we all can learn together? Thanks!

Inclusion-Cell Phones

I agree that cell phones need to be put away.  It is important that teachers be treated as professionals but that they act as professionals as well.  I also try to find ways to keep entire programs from sitting at the same table or group in order to help them work with others and feel comfortable outside of their own group.  There are situations and activities in this training, however, that will be helpful for them to be grouped together.  It just takes planning on our part.


One thiing that I feel really creates a great environment for learning is asking all particpants to tuck away their cell phones. We must let the particpants know what the expectations are at the beginning instead of calling tham out during infront of their peers. Secondly, movement is a great tool to utilize during trainings. If people are up and moving periodically they are less likely to watch the clock and dooze off.

Visuals and tours

Visuals are great! Videos are great! Access to a facility for a tour is even better.  Most people are hands-on learners so if they can see, hear, and touch the environment it will make a bigger impact on Directors.  In our county we have a "Special needs" self contained school that is in our public schoo system.  When I was working on my B.S. degree we toured the facility and had assignment to do afterwards for homework. I had lived here all my life and had the head knowledge and basic information but until I toured the facility and could really see the children and the environment I did not have the "heart knowledge".  SInce then I have observed and toured several times and have really learned more by "seeing" the environment.
We also have a Early Learning Model Center at our community college.  We have let the providers tour the classrooms when we had the Child care conferences and classes on the campus.  Hands-on just works a lot better and faster too! 

Funding Sources?

One of the big things we hear is the cost to adapt the classroom environments.  Most Directors know they need to provide food, chairs, tables, materials, etc. for the classroom for the "normal" children.  Why do they not think they need to provide what is needed for the "special needs" children? Does anyone have resouces for funding of adaptive equipment and materials?

Lending libraries for assistive technology

Hi Delaine,

There are also places in the community where you can borrow AT devices without the need to purchase them. We are fortunate in North Carolina to have a few of these resources: Tadpole is one of them.
205-G West E Street
Butner, NC 27509-1933


Local McDonald's has grant money available for a multitude needs for children.

toys for inclusion

Selecting Toys for Children with Disabilities


The following questions on how to appropriately choose toys for children with special needs come from the National Lekotek Center. These tips provide assistance to parents, teachers and administrators of children with special needs.



Here are the questions you may want to ask yourself when choosing appropriate toys for a child with special needs:
Multi-sensory appeal: Does this toy respond with lights, sounds, or movement to engage the child? Are there contrasting colors? Does it have a scent? Is there texture?
Method of activation: Will the toy provide a challenge without frustration? What is the force required to activate? What are the number and complexity of steps required to activate?
Places the toy will be used: Will the toy be easy to store? Is there space in the home? Can the toy be used in a variety of positions such as side-lying or on wheelchair tray?
Opportunities for success: Can play be open-ended with no definite right or wrong way? Is it adaptable to the child’s individual style, ability, and pace?
Current popularity: Is it a toy that will help the child with disabilities feel like “any other kid”? Does it tie in with other activities like books and art sets that promote other forms of play?
Self-expression: Does the toy allow for creativity, uniqueness, and making choices? Will it give the child experience with a variety of media?
Adjustability: Does it have adjustable height, sound volume, speed, and level of difficulty?
Child’s individual abilities: Does the toy provide activities that reflect both developmental and chronological ages? Does it reflect the child’s interest and age?
Safety and durability: Does the toy fit with the child’s size and strength? Does it have moisture resistance? Is the toy and its parts sized appropriately? Can it be washed and cleaned?
Potential for interaction: Will the child be an active participant during use? Will the toy encourage social engagement with others?

Selecting Toys for Children with Disabilities. National Lekotek Center. 2007. English. 


Selecting Toys for Children with Disabilities

Thanks for sharing this information.  These are concerns that I have heard from both parents and teachers.

We are lucky to have an

We are lucky to have an excellent resource here in our community. Easter Seals UCP works in conjuction with a child care facility right down the street from our offices. I have spoken to their Director about our upcoming training for administrators and another to follow in the future geared more for the classroom teachers. She was very excited to help me & my coworker plan parts of our training for other admins, as well as help us with a segment for the workshop about refitting/creating adaptive materials for little to no money. I am sure this will be the highlight of the training, as most of the programs we work with do not have a huge budget for supplies, much less an additional budget JUST for adaptive materials. I am thankful that we can rely on her expertise and particularly this area of stretching dollars to serve children with different needs alongside teachers - when I get those ideas I will be glad to post them!!

We are lucky to have...

I would love to see the information she provides :) We have an Easter Seals Developmental Day program in our county as well.  I have talked with the director and lead preschool teacher about facilitating a training but unfortunately they will only do it for pay - which is currently not in our budget. I will try again for our annual conference where presenters can attend the conference for free.

community partnerships

Angela,  What a great example of partnerships that support inclusion.  Please keep us posted on how it goes.  I'm wondering if others have reached out to community partners in planning or providing their training?

I am with our local R & R and

I am with our local R & R and we have a rather unique relationship with our United Way.  The United Way funds a program titled "Partners for Inclusion" which provides a financial stiped for 4 & 5 star providers who enroll a child with a documented special need.  This stipend provides materials in the classroom that increase inclusion.  It can also be used for additional staff during transitional periods of time.  A second branch of the program provides financial aid to the families to help them pay for this child care.  A third branch provides an individual who can travel to the centers/homes to provide trainings to the staff.  As the child care staff become more informed about the issues involved, their apprehension decreases dramatically.


Writing our training is in the final stages.  We used lots of the information from the train-the-trainer class, focusing on laws, rights of children, parents and teachers, and the principles of access, participation and supports.  We also plan to show and discuss the video.  This is a good start for a series on inclusion that will delve more deeply into the topic. 

Inclusion: Training

This is similar to what I am doing for my first training.  I do feel that the information that we have received will allow us to offer more in-depth trainings in the future and follow-up TA for those that need assistance.  I plan to offer the training to Directors/Family Child and teachers.  I really feel that all groups need more information and teachers are often left out of the discussion but are expected to manage the classroom, regardless of the abilities of the children in care.  We have a great opportunity to empower teachers and share resources with them that they can use and refer to as the needs in their classrooms change.

Good luck to you, Joan! We

Good luck to you, Joan! We are still "building" our training. The first one we will give to Directors is scheduled for Nov 7th as a lunch meeting. We also are planning to show the video (I found it very powerful to hear the personal story) and have a discussion about it. We have a local Director form a Developmental Day center who is helping us a lot with resources within our own community. She is also very open to sharing her/the center's experiences in serving a diverse preschool population and has agreed to let us distribute her contact information for other area Directors so that she can offer them support and answer any questions that they might have about getting started.

Inclusion video

Do you mind sharing the video?

Hi Jennifer, I believe she

Hi Jennifer,
I believe she meant the Foundations of Inclusion video that is part of the training curriculum:

Joan, thanks for giving us

Joan, thanks for giving us the updates. When is your training taking place?

The training will be held on

The training will be held on October 28 in Union County.

I omitted the Mecklsenburg

I omitted the Mecklsenburg training...It will be held on October 22nd.


I am finding that when I go into a classroom. Several teachers are having behavioral problems. They want to automatically label a child with a disability. I see that many of their problems are coming from there classroom management skills. I have given them information, coached them, and modeled for them but they do not seem to "get it". Have anyone of you experinced this and what did you do to subside this "labeling? 

Behavior Specialist

Jessica, we see this often too.  Many times we will refer the classroom/teacher to the  Behavior Specialist in our county.  I agree that often times it is more classroom management (or lack of) rather than a specific child.  And sometimes the connection hasn't been made between the teacher and child. Since our behavior specialist isn't able to work with FCCH's, she has shared some strategies with us. We were able to go back to the provider and work on implementing the strategies.  I love how the strategies usually help all of the children - those that are typically developing and those with special needs.


I have seen this too Jessica.  Some teachers are just not motivated to do what they need to do.  It is easier and less work to not do what is needed.  It seems like it is the younger providers that I have seen this with. The work ethnic is very different now.  I think it also makes a difference if it is "just a job" or if it is a "career job".  They are not motivated to make a difference and see success in a child.  It is easier to just label the child and not take any responsibility.

Inclusion: Work Ethic

How we, as a society, define work ethic is definitely a growing issue.  Teachers also have much to do in little time.  They have more demands on them than in years past (rating scales/assessments, meeting grant requirements, etc.).  Many are working, attending school and raising families.  This leaves little time to focus on the individual needs of children in their classrooms.  In presenting this training, it is important that we make sure they have the resources at their fingertips to bring back with them and that we follow-up with them to help with retention of information.   

Well said!  I feel that most

Well said!  I feel that most teachers want to do the best they can for the children that they care for.  Unfortunately, some teachers do not have the knowledge or skills needed to care for children with diverse disabilities.  It’s part of our job as adult educators and technical assistance providers to help support these teachers.

And I think what a lot of you

And I think what a lot of you have realized is also the need to reach out to the center directors as they are critical in ensuring that teachers will be well supported in their jobs to provide quality care and education for all children.

Inclusion: Work Ethics

So true.  Making sure that Directors have the information, are supported themselves, and are encouraged to share the information with their teachers, in the effort to increase the quality of care being provided, has to be a focus on our part.  Some of our Directors that have been reluctant to encourage their teachers to ask for help, are starting to realize the benefit to the program if they allow the teachers to reach out to others.  We are thrilled that we can be there when they ask for assistance, and that we have the support of the Directors to support their teachers.   

Idea for Getting Started and Going Deeper

For those who still might be trying to figure out how to get started with your workshop planning, here is an idea.  Much of the Foundations of Inclusion content is available now for free in an online CONNECT course of that title.  Here is a link to the course.  You could plan a professional development sequence on the Foundations of Inclusion that is comprised of two parts:
Part I:  You and the teachers who sign up could enroll in and complete the free online course together.  It meets NC training requirements and also has a .1 CEU credit associated with completion
Part II:  You could provide a follow-up workshop on the content where you used the curriculum to organize small and large group discussion and activities related to the content.
For those teachers who want to go deeper after participating in the Foundations training, you could refer them to the free online CONNECT course entitled Weaving Inclusion into Everyday Activities.
This  course has .5 CEU credits and focuses on demonstrations and application of research-based inclusion practices.  It just came out last Friday.

Going Deeper

Great Information!  This goes along with my plans as well.  Thanks.

Getting started

Great Suggestion! Thanks


Research has shown that visuals serve as a key helper in an inclusive classroom. Anything from the class rules posted with pictures next to them, to a visual schedule, or a choice-board specific for 1 child; they all serve the same purpose of assisting a child in their daily routine. Any visual provides a child with special needs assitance wether they need extra help transitioning or following multiple step instructions. Visuals are a great way to provide that extra help for a whole classroom or to an individual student. I think it is important for teachers to remember their creativity in the classroom and think outside the box when accomodating children with special needs. Putting visuals in the classroom can be a relatively inexpensive and easy way to accomodate a child with special needs.

Jessica, thanks for the

Jessica, thanks for the comments on the use of visuals. CONNECT has developed pictorial examples of how teachers can use visuals to help children with following a schedule, multiple step instructions, etc.

When teachers actually see these interventions / modifications, they quickly realize that these strategies are not rocket science but are within their reach in terms of cost, time and expertise.  - Chih-Ing

A video demonstration of classroom rules

Related to Jessica's suggestion about classroom rules, this is a link to a video demonstration related to the suggestion.
See what you think.  Perhaps it can work for some of the training on inclusion you all are planning.

What is inclusion?

I have experienced a lot of classroom management issues lately in our centers. I often get teacher concerns for children with behavior issues. Everything from aggressive physical beahviors to disrepect, not listening, lack of focus, the list goes on and on. As I sat in the Greensboro training, it dawned on me that teachers are heading into the classroom not knowing what is developmentall appropiate, what is typical behavior, and what isn't. I feel that it is so important as child care professionals that we help educate these teachers, and directors to keep them on track of what inclusion really is. And, to help the understand the true meaning of an inclusive setting. hopefully through this training in each county, we can all start to see a greater understanding of inclusion throughout the centerrs.


I have some teachers that try to "dianosis" the children and we try to train to vear away from this and remind the teachers that while they have supensions, that maybe true, that they cannot tell the parent what is wrong with the child.

I agree.  You can not

I agree.  You can not adequately address the issue of behavior until you have an understanding of what prompts the behavior.  In order to change the outward actions of one's behavior you must determine what the inward basis of these actions are.  In an inclusive classroom, all the children face similar challenges but those children with special needs frequently do not have the physical or emotional development to meet and overcome the challenges.  Good Classroom management can sometimes even the playing field.

Behavior issues

jJessica,  I really appreciate your comment about classroom management for all children being so important.  Inclusion is not just about the children with an identified disability; the concepts and practices are about ALL childrren.  A concept that might help be helpful as you support your teachers is "tiered approches" to instruction.  The concept was mentioned in the Foundations video. CONNECT has an entire module on this topic that includes a section on social-emotional development and classroom management.  It is available at this URL:

Targeting directors

We have concluded that in our county, a lot of the directors are often left out of the inclusion trainings. In Johnston County we are lucky enough to have myself as the Inclusion Specialist who provides trainings 4 times a year. The trainings are typically problem specific and so I was happy to see a generalized training that would cover the basics. it is so important for child care centers and mainly the directors to be aware of the laws, rights and accomodations that must be made in order to have an inclusive setting. This training will be a perfect refresher for our county as we hope to is a friendly reminder to the directors of how important and vital to child development it is to accomodate children with special needs.

Hi Jessica, I think it

Hi Jessica,
I think it happens in many other places that directors get left out of the training. If you are targeting directors for your training, the Center for Community Inclusion and Disabilities Studies at the University of Maine, has links to many resources that might be relevant for directors around the topic of developing inclusive child care policies. Examples of resources you can find there are sample policies and philosophy statements and tips on how to write an inclusion policy:

Questions and Tips

What strategies can we use to get centers or family child care homes to include children with special needs? We have heard centers/homes say things like "I will just leave that for the bigger better equipped centers".

Strategies for Inclusion

In my experience and county our child care homes seem to have more children with special needs than the centers.  Most of our home providers have been in the child care field for a long time.  They have experienced special needs chldren as their children and grandchildren.  They seem to have more compassion and heart for the children.  They know the children at a personal level. Personal stories from parents and families would put a name and face on the "special needs" child. What if this was your child, grandchild, etc. Parents could share what works and what they have had to do to adapt at home (Panel Session maybe). The centers may be larger, but most of them do not want to "make changes".  We are going to do a Director's meeting and give them the information.  Some would respond to the "child" and their condition.  Others I think, would probably respond from the "law" and the "requirements" to avoid issues and problems.  It would probably take one on one Technical Assisstance and suggestions to show them how to make inclusion work at thier facilities.  It would look different based on environment, location and the type of program.  Some people just do not see how to make changes to include these children.  Some changes are very small, but would make a big difference for all the children.  A brainstorming activity of how to accomodate a child would generate a list of options.  They could also be listed from smallest to largest investment.  I think most Directors know what they need to do they just do not do it and it has not been enforced.  The ones we have greatest success with are the ones who have had "special needs" family members. It is such a great learning experience for all the children.

I have found that many

I have found that many children with special needs seem to thrive in a smaller setting.  A family child care home frequently offers a more comfortable environment that might benefit a child that is easily over stimulated.  Providing an appropriate setting for a child with special needs is not always founded on the amount of equipment available or the size of the setting but, rather, on the warmth and security of the environment.

Marie,  From my experience

 From my experience from an Inclusion Specialist, you are correct. Children who have special needs typically thrive in smaller settings. However, a smaller setting can mead a more expensive child care center, or private therapy services which is not always afforadable to every family. What we as professionals have to do, is teach and guide the centers to help them understand how to make accomodations to their clasrooms to give each child the individualized attention, space and enviornment they need to thrive. Hopefully through this training, some of your centers will see that the accomodations are just as easy and helpful to everyone in the classroom.

Family child care homes

So true...and an excellent question about how to provide support and confidence to early educators in family child care homes.  A realistic example of a family child care provider wrestling with how to meet the needs of a child with disabilities and demonstrations of strategies to use  are available at this URL:


We also are working with Family Child Care Homes, this video is very helpful.

Thank you

Thank you for posting the video related to FCCHs.  Our first training is with our local FCCH Association.  I will use this video during our training.