due today ….. 7 hours ……. read article This is due today in 7 hours……. no extended time…. about 2 pages……7 paragraphs……  Read the 1st

due today ….. 7 hours ……. read article This is due today in 7 hours……. no extended time….

about 2 pages……7 paragraphs…… 

Read the 1st attachment: Identifying YC with disabilities 

Follow all instructions in the 2nd attachment article summary review attachment and use the book attachment to make reference. 

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early childhood programs, the law may
also apply to children in private schools
under certain conditions (U.S. Depart-
ment of Education, Office of Innovation
and Improvement, 2012). Historically the
application of the law focused on K–12
schools; today, however, early childhood
programs are increasingly expected to
serve children with a variety of abilities.

A major reason for this new direction
is the increased understanding that the
earlier the intervention associated with
many conditions, such as autism, the
greater the chance for success (Dawson
et al, 2012). Many believe these positive
results of early intervention apply to any
disability that can negatively impact a
child’s school success (Allen & Cowdery,
2015). Thus, the sooner the interven-
tion is initiated, the better chances for

One challenge for early childhood
programs that serve infants through
preschoolers, when implementing
approaches to serve children with
disabilities, is that these programs are
covered by two distinctly different
parts of the IDEA law—part C (birth
to age three) and part B (age three and
above). Each is usually operated under
a different community agency, and has
different requirements.

As the result of several lawsuits brought
against state departments of education
by parents of children with disabilities,
the first federal law to require public
schools in the United States to serve
children with disabilities was passed
in 1975. In 1990, this law became the
Individuals with Disabilities Education
Act (IDEA). Over the years, the law has
been reauthorized and changed many
times. Today the law covers children
from birth to 21 years. While its focus
is still on children in public schools and

Identifying Young Children
with Disabilities

by Francis Wardle

Another challenge is that in working
with children over age three, early child-
hood programs must collaborate closely
with Child Find, which is a function of
the local public school.

Private early childhood programs are
also trying to determine the extent to
which they are legally and ethically
required to serve children with disabili-
ties, and how best to do so. One reason
for this is that IDEA requires students
to be educated if possible within their
natural environment, which in many
cases means they should receive services
within their existing program—even
if that program is private and/or for
profit. Private early childhood programs
include single community programs,
large national chains, and early child-
hood programs attached to private and
religious K-12 schools (U.S. Department
of Education, Office of Innovation and
Improvement, 2012).

But maybe the most difficult challenge
for early childhood programs is the one
of identification.

Identifying Children with

IDEA is a categorical system, which
means a child cannot receive services

Francis Wardle, Ph.D., teaches for
the University of Phoenix (online)
and Red Rocks Community
College. He has been a Head Start
director and national program

evaluator, and is the president of
the Colorado chapter of Partners of

the Americas, and a board member of
Partners of the Americas International. He

has four multiracial children, and is the director of the
Center for the Study of Biracial Children. He has
designed and built playgrounds in the United States
and Brazil, and conducted playground safety reviews
for Head Start nationwide. He is working on his ninth
book, Oh Boy!: Strategies for Teaching Boys in Early
Childhood, which will be published by Exchange Press
in early 2019.

Copyright © Dimensions Educational Research Foundation
All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be

reprinted for noncommercial personal use only.
Visit us at www.ChildCareExchange.com or

call (800) 221-2864.

Francis Wardle
Exchange Leadership Initiative

Francis Wardle
Exchange Press Author

Oh Boy!: Strategies for Teaching Boys
in Early Childhood


until it is shown that the child meets
certain federal criteria. For children
under age three, these are fairly broad;
for those over age three, they must meet
one or more of 13 federal categories.
However, many states allow young chil-
dren to be categorized under the general
developmental delay category (Gargiulo
& Bouck, 2018).

To meet these qualifications, children
must be assessed. However, the chal-
lenge for indentifying young children
is there are many factors that make
assessment difficult. Clearly this is not
the case for children with genetic or
chromosomal abnormalities that can be
determined by DNA, or obvious physical
impairments, such as sight and hearing

But most young children who are
diagnosed with a disability require a
variety of assessments and observations
that involve human judgments, and/
or are subject to forms of human bias.
These include ADHD, specific learning
disabilities, and emotional disturbance
(Gargiulo & Bouck, 2018).

When discussing assessments and
research, a critically important construct
to understand is validity. This simply
means that any assessment, instrument
used to assess a child, research results,
and so on, must be accurate—they must
measure what they claim to measure,
and nothing else. For example, a weight
scale must be accurate; an IQ test must
be given under controlled conditions that
do not influence the child’s score. It is
obvious that an assessment instrument,
test, or observation needs to accurately
measure what it is intended to record,
and not provide false data. Otherwise,
the child will be misidentified. Clearly
it is not appropriate to misidentify
children with disabilities, yet this is a
huge problem, especially with young
children (Gargiulo & Bouck, 2018; Harry
& Klingner, 2006).

And this is where the problem lies–there
are many areas of possible invalidity
when assessing young children, include
the following:

■ Young children themselves. I
remember when my six-year-old
granddaughter was assessed for a
gifted and talented program. After
taking the assessment, her mother
asked her how she did. She replied,
“Not well, I decided to act shy.” Often
assessments do not catch young chil-
dren at their best. Further, the natural
variability of growth, maturation, and
learning of young children poses a
real problem in determining whether
the child is growing “according to the
developmental norm.”

■ Instruments. Most formal assessments
used on young children are designed
for the K-12 population, and do not
work well with younger children. This
is particularly true of those instru-
ments that require certain verbal skills
and emotional maturity.

■ Language and culture. Many assess-
ments are not translated into the
native language of non-English-
speaking students and may include
built-in cultural bias; further, many
young children are not comfortable
with strangers assessing them in an
artificial environment.

■ Tester bias. Because many assess-
ments require judgment on the part
of the person doing the assessment,
cultural and personal bias often invali-
date the results. This is one reason
why more African American and
Hispanic children are identified for
special education, as opposed to Asian
and White children, and why more
boys are diagnosed with ADHD and
specific learning disabilities than girls
(Gargiulo & Bouck, 2018; Harry &
Klingner, 2006). Further, because Child
Find is operated by the local public
school, some of the staff conducting

the assessments may not have experi-
ence working with young children.

■ Institutional pressure. Administra-
tors may want certain children to be
removed from their program, or at
least placed into a special program
for a variety of reasons, among them
to satisfy a teacher or respond to a
parent’s request. While this may or
may not be good for the individual
child, it can prevent the program from
making important needed changes to
their curriculum and best practices.

Many disabilities exhibit similar char-
acteristics, and therefore overlap.
For example, some children who are
diagnosed with ADHD actually have
a specific learning disability and not
ADHD; many Gifted/Talented children
are diagnosed with ADHD because
they become bored with the traditional
program they attend (Gargiulo & Bouck,


The process to determine whether a
child qualifies for special education
services begins with a screening based
on a recommendation that the child
be assessed for a special need (Allen
& Cowdery, 2015). However, before
recommending a child for screening,
the program should complete a detailed

■ Is there a language or cultural barrier
that interferes with the child’s learning
and/or behavior?

■ Has there been a discussion with the
child’s parents? What is their view of
the issue?

■ Has the child recently experienced a
traumatic event in his or her life?

■ Has the classroom environment been
adapted to try to address the issue?


■ Has the activity/learning experience
been adjusted (i.e. made easier or
more difficult, or by using different
learning styles)?

■ Is there a conflict between the teacher
and the child, or the teacher and the
child’s parents?

■ Is the child’s negative behavior
somehow being reinforced—by the
teacher, other students, at home?

■ Has there been a recent change at
home or at school that can account for
the behavior?

It is important to review the check-
list before recommending a child for
screening, because once a child is recom-
mended, there is the tendency for future
assessments to confirm the results of
the screening—what is called a self-
fulfilling prophecy—whether valid or
not (Gargiulo & Bouck, 2018).


According to Gargiulo & Bouck, “assess-
ment is the process of gathering infor-

mation and indentifying a student’s
strengths and needs through a variety
of instruments and products: data used
in making decisions” (p. 599). These
include formal tests, developmental and
behavioral checklists, parent and teacher
interviews, and various observational
approaches. IDEA requires more than
one source of data to make decisions
about a child; the use of a single test
result to determine a child’s delay or
disability is illegal (Allen & Cowdery,
2015). According to Hyson (2002),
assessments must be ongoing, develop-
mentally appropriate, and supportive.
Additionally, they also need to be
linguistically and culturally sensitive.

Whoever administers the assessment
to determine whether a child qualifies
for IDEA services needs to follow these
important guidelines.

■ Assessments must be conducted in the
child’s native language.

■ Simply translating a test that was
written in English and standardized
on English-speaking students is never

■ Assessments should be conducted and
interpreted by a “culture-language
mediator”—a person who is fluent in
both the child’s native language and
majority language and culture.

■ Multiple forms of information should
be collected, including work samples
and child observations.

■ Test items and procedures should
be designed to measure a child’s
known strengths, as well as document
any perceived weaknesses (Allen &
Cowdery, 2015, p. 253).

■ Programs should collaborate with
families in the assessment process,
making sure that they understand the
assessments used and the purpose of
the process.

■ Accommodations must be made so
that the results are not influenced by
other factors, such as a child’s sight
or hearing impairments negatively
impacting IQ test results.

Additionally, any assessment must be
normed on children the same age as the
children who it will be used to evaluate.
Reliability and validity information for
each assessment needs to be provided.
Further, any assessment must be
conducted in an environment consistent
with the child’s age, experience, and
cultural background. In some cultures
children are not used to being with
strangers; in others, separating them
from the group can cause anxiety.

Assessments are not a test; children
should be given every possible oppor-
tunity to succeed. We want to know
how they perform at their best (Harry &
Klingner, 2007).


Many young children can benefit
greatly from special education services.
Because early intervention can have
a lasting, positive effect, early diag-© A






Harry, B., & Klingner, J. (2006). Why are
so many minority students in special educa-
tion? Understanding race and disability in
schools. New York, NY: Teachers College

Harry, B., & Klingner, J. (2007).
Discarding the deficit model. Educational
Leadership, 64(5), 16–21.

Hyson, M. (2002). “Huh?” “Eek!”
“Help!” Three perspectives on early
childhood assessment. Young Children,
57(1), 62–64.

U.S. Department of Education, Office
of Innovation and Improvement (2012).
Provisions related to children with disabili-
ties enrolled by their parents in private
schools. Washington, DC: Author.
Retrieved from http://www2.ed.gov/

— ■ —

nosis and treatment are critical. Fully
implementing IDEA in early childhood
programs is something that needs to be
done to make sure all young children
have access to programs and services
that will maximize their development
and learning. This impacts children in
all programs, including public, private,
religious, and for-profit programs.

Because IDEA is a categorical program,
identification is required before chil-
dren can receive services. For many
early childhood programs, this poses
a series of challenges. Early childhood
programs must be very careful in how
children are identified, to make sure
the results are valid so that children are
not misidentified and inappropriately
placed in special education programs.
Unfortunately, there are many ways
that assessment can result in inaccurate
information. This article has provided
some information to assist early child-
hood programs as they attempt to meet
the needs of their children with potential
disabilities, and to make sure these chil-
dren are accurately assessed so that they
receive special education services.


Allen. K.E., & Cowdery, G.E. (2015). The
exceptional child. Inclusion in early educa-
tion. Stamford, CT: Cengage.

Dawson, G., Hones, E.J., Merkle, K.,
Venema, K., Lowy, R., Faja, S., Kamara,
D., Murias, M., Greenson, J., Winter,
J., Smith, M., Rogers, S.J., & Webb, S.J.
(2012). Early behavioral intervention
is associated with normalized brain
activity in young children with autism.
Journal of the American Academy Child
and Adolescent Psychiatry. Retrieved
from http://jaacap.com/articles/

Gargiulo, R.M. & Bouck, E.C. (2018).
Special education in contemporary society.
An introduction (6th ed.). Los Angeles,
CA: Sage






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