Building Equitable Supports for Childen with Disabilities

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Building Equitable Supports for Childen with Disabilities

Meaningful inclusion can support children with disabilities in reaching their full potential resulting in broad societal benefits, including higher productivity in adulthood and fewer resources spent on interventions and public assistance later in life.1

We are inviting you to participate in this new free initiative, Building Equitable Supports for Children with Disabilities (BESCD). The BESCD initiative will nurture a professional community that centers equitable supports as key for successful inclusion of children with disabilities. Individual and regional school district teams will have the opportunity to improve and enrich their systems of inclusive early childhood programming. Click here to apply.

Children with disabilities and their families face significant barriers to accessing equitable and inclusive high-quality early childhood programs. Too many preschool-aged children with disabilities are only offered the option of receiving special education services in settings separate from their peers without disabilities.2 This lag in inclusive opportunities is troubling for many reasons. 

  • First, equal opportunity is one of America’s most cherished ideals. Being meaningfully included as a member of society is the first step to equal opportunity and is every person’s right – a right supported by our laws. 
  • Second, research indicates that early childhood inclusion is beneficial to children with and without disabilities.3
  • Third, preliminary research shows that operating inclusive early childhood programs is not necessarily more expensive than operating separate early childhood programs for children with disabilities.4

We are currently seeking up to 50 school district teams for the BESCD initiative. 

School districts will form a team of 2 to 4 members which may include: Special Education Directors, Early Childhood Coordinators, Teachers, Early Care and Education Directors, Head Start Disabilities/Education Coordinators, Family Services Coordinators, CPPI Coordinators, Early Intervention Directors and Community Partners. School district community teams previously involved in the Building Inclusive Communities project are welcome to apply. Click here to fill out an application.

All BESCD events and activities are virtual. Educators can receive PDPs for their participation. BESCD participation will begin and end with a convening of all teams, and is scheduled to run from late November 2020 through June 2021.

Participating school district teams will engage in monthly:

  • Individual School District team coaching - 1 hour per session
  • Regional group coaching - an hour and a half per session
  • PLCs (topics listed below) - 2 hours per session

The PLC topics to promote equitable supports are:

  1. Implicit Bias and understanding race, racism, and equity in special education.
  2. Inclusion supports for children in public pre-k and community programs
  3. Engaging and working with families.
  4. Wellness practices for early childhood educators and administrators
  5. Trauma informed practices and the effects on learning for children with disabilities
  6. Using data collection to inform practices

Each team will develop an Action Plan to address equitable supports to improve their inclusive practices of children with disabilities that is informed by the PLC topics and their coaching experiences.

The relationships, knowledge and skills participating professionals and teams will experience through this initiative will position school district teams to meet the following intended outcomes.

Outcomes for early childhood educators participating in this initiative are: 

  1. Learn and implement practices to address disproportionality and implicit bias.
  2. Build relationships with families to engage them in decisions around inclusion.
  3. Develop techniques to sustain inclusion practices to build strong community connections for children with and without disabilities.
  4. Receive tools for building wellness practices.
  5. Recognize trauma and the effects on early childhood brain development for children with disabilities.
  6. Identify how to interpret behaviors in children with disabilities through the lens of trauma.
  7. Practice self-care/self-reflection techniques when working with children with disabilities impacted by trauma and their families to avoid secondary trauma and burn-out.  
  8. Develop an action plan that describes how you or your team will implement practices learned to sustain positive outcomes for children with disabilities.

How to Apply

An online application for district teams is available below.

The application deadline has been extended, and applications are now due by 12:00pm on Nov 20, 2020. The BESCD opening convening is scheduled for November 18th from 10:30am - 12:00pm.

Click to Apply


This FREE initiative is funded by the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE), and is administered by the Collaborative for Educational Services (CES).

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1 SRI International (1993). The national longitudinal transition study: A summary of findings. Menlo Park, CA: Author.

22013 Part B Child Count and Educational Environments Data File. Accessed on 4/17/15 at:  

3Odom, S. L., et al. (2004). Preschool inclusion in the United States: A review of research from an ecological systems perspective. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 4(1), 17–49.

4Odom, S. L., Hanson, M. J., Lieber, J., Marquart, J., Sandall, S., Wolery, R., Horn, E., Schwartz, I., Beckman, P., Hikido, C., & Chambers, J. (2001). The costs of preschool inclusion. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 21, 46–55. 

For more information, contact: 
Administrative Assistant
413.586.4900 x5568