Inclusion in IMSHSP
(05.02.02e/01-2011)

Policy:

The Illinois Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Project believes that each child is unique and supports the right of all children to be fully included. We see inclusion as a value, not as an educational strategy. Inclusion means equity and a climate of acceptance, where opportunities are constantly created for people to learn and play together. We believe that diversity is part of life and that exposing children to it, at an early age, is effective, therefore, we promote respect, understanding, and acceptance for all persons. The Project also believes that families are the enduring and central force in the life of the child and as such, all services are developed and provided in partnership with families, respecting their values, beliefs, culture, and priorities for their children.

In Migrant Head Start, children with disabilities are in classrooms with same-age peers achieving social competence. To succeed in an inclusive environment, children require familiarity, repeated exposure, and friends. All children learn better by playing with their friends in a meaningful environment. The Illinois Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Project serves the children with the most needs first. No child is ever excluded on the basis of type or extent of the disability (including children with challenging behaviors). In IMSHSP, all children, including those with disabilities are not expected to "earn" their way into the program by having the "necessary entry skills" nor to "maintain" any expectations about behavior, discipline, or the ability to follow rules. Each program develops adaptations to meet each child's unique needs in inclusive classrooms, building on the child's strengths to promote success and a true sense of belonging.

Procedure:

  • Submit developmental screenings with concerns to the Mental Health Consultant within two weeks of the screening.
  • At the next bi-weekly staffing, discuss the need for a referral with the team.
  • Contact the family to explain the concerns of the team and the recommendation for referral, immediately following the bi-weekly staffing.
  • If the family agrees (or not, in the case of the CFC), request a signature on the Parent Permission for Evaluation/Referral (and ensure parents receive their rights in their primary language and understand them) during a home visit.
  • Add the child's information to the Disabilities Data Tracking Instrument (DDTI).
  • Make the referral to the appropriate individual/agency within one working day of parental permission and follow up immediately.
  • Attend all meetings organized by LEA/CFC, including the one to develop the IEP/IFSP.
  • When the IEP/IFSP becomes available, DSC meetings immediately with classroom staff (or as soon as child is enrolled and IEP/IFSP is available) to:
    1. Provide teachers with copies of the goals and objectives section, unless parents have authorized the release of the full plan.
    2. Discuss the section and assist with the implementation of IEP/IFSPs objectives in the regular classroom routines.
    3. Assist in determining child's assessment level.
    4. Assist with the adaptations and modifications needed in the classroom (activities, material, equipment, environment)
  • DSC is responsible for documenting the discussions at the meeting described above, and for scheduling at least monthly meetings (or more often, if needed), during the duration of the season, with the same purpose and participants.
  • DSC assists with the schedule for delivery of services, if they will take place in the center. Children are to receive all services within the classroom environment.
  • DSC arranges a meeting with parents, and education personnel, within one week of enrollment or of child's IEP/IFSP, to provide any training needed or requested, and to plan for the individualization of the child's curriculum and assessment. Thereafter, the DSC and teaching staff shall meet regularly, a minimum of once a month, to reassess and/or modify strategies. Parents shall be invited and kept informed at all times. DSC uses the Child Inclusion & Environment Modification Plan to document the conclusions of this meeting.
  • Present a brief progress summary of the implementation of the IEP/IFSP during center's bi-weekly staffings.
  • If services, materials, and equipment needed to serve the child with disabilities exceed the capability of the delegate's budget, the DSC must contact Grantee staff to develop a plan to obtain them.
  • If family leaves the program during this evaluation process, follow the guidance for the transition of children with disabilities.

NEVER request signatures from parents ahead of time.

When a signature or permission is needed, do a home visit and explain the reason/purpose for the visit.