CONNECT Module 1: Embedding Module 1 into an In-Service Setting

by Sandy Ginther
& Linda Robinson

CONNECT Modules are designed using an evidence-based practice approach to professional development.  Module 1: Embedded Interventions includes over 20 videos activities, and handouts. This month, instructors from both college and in-service training settings share how they incorporated Module 1 into their  professional development activities.  Your questions and comments are invited.

In February 2010, Linda and Sandy conducted a Pre-conference day long institute on the inclusion of young children at the PEAK Parent Training Information Center’s annual family conference in Denver, Colorado.  Organizing the institute around the CONNECT 5 step approach and various other approaches, inclusion was discussed, strategized and explored.  Interactive, personal and cooperative activities lead to problem–solving experiences across the day.  Participants were invited to bring their dilemmas related to an inclusive early start in life.  The benefit of early inclusion in fulfilling the promises of education became the basis for the content of this institute.   Educational laws provide the foundation for all that was covered. The audience included family members and those who work with young children. Also presenting was Abbey Heins, a self-advocate.

Community Questions

  • Comments or questions for Sandy and Linda? 
  • How might you incorporate Module 1: Embedded Interventions in your upcoming PD? 
  • What resources do you use when teaching about inclusion?
About the Authors: Sandy left the medical field 26 years ago when her daughter was born with Down Syndrome. She became active in local, state, and national endeavors related to children and disability. Sandy has worked with Project CHOICES, has directed a grant-funded Early Intervention Program, and has been an Illinois statewide Early Intervention trainer.
Linda has been a coordinator, technology trainer, and curriculum specialist on a number of federally funded projects at the Center and has a Masters of Science in Early Childhood Education degree. She has presented at numerous state, regional, national, and international conferences over the past 27 years and has taught an undergraduate course in assistive technology. She is currently Director of STARNET Regions I & III.


Module 1-Embedded Interventions

Module One provides natural examples of embedded interventions. I will be participating in an internship at a transitional living facility working with the families of infants and toddlers. Currently there are several children with disabilities and a few children with significant developmental delays. This module would be a great tool to use with parents to show them how everyday activities and routines can enrich and contribute to their child's progress.

Using Module 1 with families

We're glad that the module will also be a great tool to use with families. Let us know how that goes. And would appreciate if you could share with us and others your ideas on how you have used the module with families. Thanks, Chih-Ing Project Coordinator, CONNECT


During our in-service PEAK Institute Day, Linda, Abbey, the participants and I spent some time looking at ‘family perspective and participation’ as a useful tool for including children with disabilities and delays. We began with a frank acknowledgement that teachers are to ‘work with families’, as well as their children. In that capacity, families are not only to be viewed as decision makers, but are allowed to be decision makers. Families are not only to receive information, but also to provide it. They are not only to be taught, but to teach. In 1997, NAEYC spoke to families as a daily participant in their children’s program. In 2005, DEC spoke to family involvement in assessment, intervention and evaluation of the child. So here’s a challenge for those who choose. Use this blog to share 3 actions you take as a teacher to make family participation more likely. And to further challenge you, name 3 that have not already been posted. I’ll start with 3 that I really appreciated as Abbey’s mom: inviting me to share my goals and objectives for the annual IEP; a standing invitation to come observe Abbey in preschool; providing a way to access the parents of students who had befriended Abbey, so I could stretch that experience outside of the classroom. Your turn.


A great resource for families is the Family Center on Technology and Disability. Their website,, has online newsletters, discussions, fact sheets related to assistive technology, success stories, and a searchable database of resource information. They have recently added a Ning group for networking, which is linked to their website. It is definitely a resource worth checking out!

Reply to comment | CONNECT Modules

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FCTD is a great resource. AND I want to add another favorite for hints on how to engage, then go to "Making Recognition and Response Work in Your Program" and drop down to "Engaging Parents". The Engaging Parents pages are a series that include the following titles: Tips on how teachers can 'draw and attract' parent participation; Tips on how teachers can maintain parental interest; Hard conversations; Special conversations: working with culturally and linguistically-diverse families. These 'cheat sheets' will give you lots of 'responses'(aka results) when implemented.

Family Resource

Wow! Sandy and Linda, you are providing a wealth of info here. Thanks so much. BTW, your family resources above reminded of a 2-pager NPDCI put together a few years back called "Recommendations for Meaningfully Involving Families in State Planning Meetings". Here is link: Thanks again.


Appreciate the state level aspect the NPDCI recommendations provided. My most appreciated point is the concept of 'veteran' parents mentoring parents 'new' to the effort. Those who has served on a board of directors where there is a past president, president and vp who will become the president can relate to the effectiveness this structure has for 'rookies'. Best Regards, Sandy

Embedded Interventions

One of the inclusion approaches which is discussed by CONNECT and others is embedded interventions, those within the context of everyday activities, routines, and transitions. In our workshop we discussed many strategies which could be used at home or school. We have a handout in pdf format which lists resources which may be helpful if you are looking for some ideas. Building Blocks for Teaching Preschoolers with Special Needs and CARA’s Kit are designed to help educators and families identify concerns and plan possible strategies. Building Blocks promotes embedded learning opportunities through environmental support, materials adaptation, activity simplification, and child preferences. CARA’s Kit presents possible situations or inclusion dilemmas related to language/literacy, group time, small group play, active learning and movement, transitions, and routines. Adaptations are suggested along a continuum ranging from environmental modifications to providing assistance. The Examples of Environmental Modifications handout from CONNECT contains examples which compliment these other resources. Since assistive technology is such an integral part of many of the embedded interventions, we have included resources related to this important tool. Our Center for Best Practices in Early Childhood at Western Illinois University has conducted research on the use of technology and assistive technology with young children. Final reports from several of the research projects can be found at our website, We also have nine online workshops related to AT and young children at Community Question: Has anyone used CARA’s Kit, Building Blocks, or another resource as a model for embedded interventions? We are interested in hearing how these or other inclusion strategies are being used. What is needed to implement these strategies?

Embedded Interventions

Hi Sandy and Linda, You have done an amazing job in pulling together so many valuable resources in your workshop and in your work. Revisiting Luke's story and teacher's individual dilemmas throughout the day is a great strategy for keeping the information grounded in real life situations - thank you for sharing your ideas and materials! Tracey

In-service setting

I think using Module 1 in an in-service setting is a great idea. I have looked over Module 1 and found it very helpful for my work as a teacher at a preschool and also found it helpful for an internship I will be doing starting in the fall at an inclusive school. I think this Module would be very informative to teachers at my work, so using it for a professional development training is a good way to share the knowledge!

In-service setting

I celebrate your entry into the work force at an 'inclusive preschool'! Over 20 years ago, when my daughter with Down syndrome was ready for inclusive preschool, it did not exist here. Blaze on with tools like CONNECT!

In-service setting

Yes, Module 1 has a great set of videos and activities that fit well in a workshop setting. We used the example of Luke throughout the day with each of the steps. Participants could develop an inclusion plan for Luke or for their own child or a child in their classroom. We will be sharing some of the other resources we used also during this week.

Inclusion approaches

DAY ONE Blog Earlier this year, Linda Robinson and Sandy Ginther delivered a PreConference Topical Institute titled "igniting the Fire:The Sooner we start the farther they'll go". This was done following the CONNECT 5 Step method across the day and included the 3 tenets of the NAEYC/DEC Joint Position Statement on Inclusion. Within CONNECT's 'Step 3 - Evidence', they shared many different approaches that can increase the depth and width of children's learning in early childhood settings composed of children with developmental delays/disabilities and those not identified as such. Overview information and a discussion of benefits occurred on the following: Self-reflection of one's attitude toward inclusion Family perspective and participation Self-advocacy movement Assistive Technology (AT) Adaptations, modifications, accommodations (curriculum and materials) Collaboration (multiple combinations) Embedded Intervention/instruction/ learning opportunities (activity simplification, child -preference, pro-active transitions Peer buddies Strength-based Blending practices Multiple Intelligences (MI) Encouragement vs. empty praise Cooperative learning groups/ Cooperative play Developmentally Appropriate Practice (DAP) Universal Design/ Universal Design for Learning ( UD/UDL) Abbey Heins, a self-advocate with Down syndrome and Sandy's daughter, joined them in facilitating the day's work. This brought a first person opportunity to see outcomes of her inclusion throughout her educational experiences. Community Question: Have you had the opportunity to see beneficial results from using any of the inclusive approaches listed above? Significant or minor, many or few, what were they?