Social Emotional Development in the Early Years: Creating Supportive and Inclusive Environments

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The focus of this 1.5 hour webinar will be on the importance of creating supportive and inclusive environments to promote social emotional development in young children with disabilities. Specific topics will include:
  • Research studies that highlight the impact of supportive environments on children's social emotional development.
  • Evidence based strategies that parents and military family service providers can implement in their respective settings.  Emphasis will be placed on considerations for:
     -Cultural, racial, ethnic, and linguistic variations in natural
     -Environmental adaptations for children with disabilities
  • Considerations when assessing children's natural environments.
  • Parent coaching strategies to assist parents and caregivers reflect on and adapt their environments to support their children's social emotional development
How to Join the Webinar:

You may connect via the Department of Defense DCS system or Ustream.

  • DCS (direct interaction with presenters and audience)

    • First time on DCS? To connect to DCS, you must install two security certificates if you are not on a military installation. Instructions can be found here.

    • To get the URL for the webinar, register in the grey box at the top-right of this page.

    • Additional information about connecting to DCS can be found at

  • Ustream (broadcast only, limited interaction)

      Presenter Information:

      Amy Santos, PhD: I am a professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  As a faculty member, I am actively engaged in collaborative research working with investigators from a variety of disciplines on campus. I teach pre-service teachers in early childhood and special education and engage in service both within my professional field and in the public arena. My research focuses on young children with disabilities and their families within the context of early intervention and early childhood special education services. My ongoing research activities are focused on three interrelated areas (1) building empirical knowledge on how parents and other family members facilitate children’s learning and development; (2) developing a foundational understanding of the role that culture and language play in young children’s development; and (3) translating research to practice for professionals in early childhood settings. Through these research activities, my aim is to make a positive impact on the lives of children with disabilities and their families by enhancing the practices of professionals who work directly with these children and families. Since arriving at Illinois in 1997, I have been involved in multiple national and state training and technical assistance grant projects that are designed to promote evidence-based inclusive practices that support the growth and development of young children (birth-5 years old) with disabilities and their families. I have collaborated on the development of high quality professional development tools and materials that are widely disseminated and used nationwide (e.g., Head Start’s Center on the Social Emotional Foundations for Early Learning Preschool Modules). I have also designed and conducted over 200 workshops and trainings for a variety of pre- and in-service early childhood providers and family members. The goal of many of these workshops is to enhance the knowledge of parents and providers, building from what we know from research and translating these into strategies that they can effectively implement in their every day practice and routines.  Finally, I am currently the editor of the Young Exceptional Children journal, the only peer-reviewed journal in our field designated for practitioners, parents, and policy makers that focuses on the translation of early childhood, special education, and early intervention research to effective practice.

      Michaelene Ostrosky, PhD:  I am the Head of the Department of Special Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a professor with research interests in the areas of: a) young children’s social emotional competence and challenging behavior, b) attitudes and acceptance of typically developing children toward individuals with disabilities, and c) peer relationships and inclusion. I am particularly interested in studying interventions that support the success of young children in early childhood settings, including home. As a former teacher of adults with significant disabilities, and young children who were deaf and blind, I am committed to making research accessible to practitioners and family members through my writing and presentations. I enjoy working with students, and have advised and mentored numerous PhD students who have gone on to university positions in the US and abroad. My students and I have authored many papers together, presented at countless conferences, and conducted numerous other professional development activities. Currently, in addition to the Military Family Learning Network, I am collaborating with colleagues on a grant focused on Head Start and on one that focuses on professional development for birth-3 (early intervention) providers.

      Cover Photo Image:  Creative Commons Licensing, [Flickr, Baby Learns How To Grab 1-March 17, 2013]

      This presentation is not endorsed by the Department of Defense and the information, as well as any opinions or views, contained herein are solely that of the presenter.

      Created by Robyn DiPietro-Wells