News & Events

ECC Welcomes Dr. Lauren Padesky

February 9, 2021

Lauren Breckenridge Padesky is a recent Bloomington transplant, coming to IU from the University of Wyoming. Dr. Padesky holds a PhD in Curriculum & Instruction with a literacy concentration. She researches early literacy professional development, literacy coaching, school equity, and how teachers and children use language to make meaning during classroom literacy events.

Join Our Team!

January 5, 2021

The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University in Bloomington is seeking a part- time Research Assistant or full-time Research Associate for the Early Childhood Center. We are seeking an individual with expertise in early intervention to assist us with two major contracts with Indiana’s First Steps program This candidate will:

  • Support continuous quality improvement efforts among local First Steps’ agencies
  • Translate research to practice and the implementation of evidence-based practices
  • Design and deliver presentations, workshops, online webinars, and other learning events for early interventionists working in First Steps.
  • Create written and electronic products
  • Carry out the general mission of the Center and the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community


Research Associate position:

For more information, contact Michael Conn-Powers,

Position listing to share.

Governor's Report

December 9, 2020

The Early Childhood Center provides administrative support for the First Steps Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) where members are appointed by the Governor. Part of the responsibility of this council is to provide an annual report each November to the Governor’s office to highlight what has been happening in Indiana’s early intervention program. This report is also part of the state’s federal annual performance report (APR) that is submitted to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in Washington D.C. each February. Click here to find the highlights of the program.

Promoting Positive Outcomes Conference a Success

November 11, 2020

The inaugural Promoting Positive Outcomes Conference, hosted by the Early Childhood Center and sponsored by the ECC, Indiana Department of Education, Purdue University and the Indiana Division of Early Childhood, was held virtually on November 9th and 10th. Dr. Rosemarie Allen and Dr. Laura Justice were our fabulous keynotes and presenters from around the state filled the agenda with topics around social/emotional development, literacy and language, inclusive preschool practices and family engagement/transition.

ECC works with Wabash to refine transition practices

October 29, 2020

Lynne Hall, research associate at the Early Childhood Center, is working with preschool and kindergarten practitioners in Wabash, IN. to refine and align their kindergarten transition practices to increase preschoolers’ school readiness. This technical assistance involves guiding preschool and kindergarten teachers to collaboratively identify essential evidence-based kindergarten readiness skills and the evidence-based kindergarten transition practices that attribute to their development in preschool and kindergarten classrooms. Teachers will conduct observations and interviews based on findings and use the data to develop, pilot, and evaluate an essential skills checklist,  provide guidance to families, and inform their practice.  This effort is funded by a Preschool Development Grant facilitated by the Wabash Community Foundation.

Research Assistant Position Open

October 16, 2020

We are seeking an individual with expertise in early/elementary education to work on a team dedicated to assessing and improving early literacy outcomes for young children with disabilities, preschool through Grade 3. This position is funded on a year-to-year contract with the Indiana Department of Education.

Specific duties and responsibilities:

  • Collaboratively design and conduct program evaluation efforts that examine the quality and impact of early literacy services among Indiana’s school districts.
  • Create professional development opportunities and written products to promote evidence-based early literacy practices from preschool through Grade 3.
  • Actively represent the center’s vision, mission and work supporting inclusive, evidence-based educational practices for all children, including children with disabilities.
  • Carry out the general mission of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community to work with communities that welcome and support the meaningful participation of people of all abilities through research, education, and service.


Required Qualifications

Master’s degree in early childhood special education, early education, and/or elementary education. Knowledge and experience working in the field of education for young children and their families. Knowledge and experience in promoting evidence-based early literacy practices. Documented experience in designing and carrying out program and professional development efforts for fostering evidence-based practices. Demonstrated professional writing skills and a record of past publications and written products. 

Work Location

Onsite (Bloomington campus) or remote work arrangements within Indiana are possible.

Apply online through the IU’s job portal:
For more information, contact Michael Conn-Powers,

National Webinar Series

Juliann Woods, Ph.D., is principal investigator of the EPIC project. Dr. Woods is a Professor in the School of Communication Science and Disorders at Florida State University, and the Director of the Communication and Early Childhood Research and Practice Center. She is also the Associate Dean of Research for the College of Communication and Information and an Associate Director in the FSU Autism Institute. Dr. Woods has 40 years of experience as an EI provider or program director in early intervention and as a consultant to state programs.

October 6, 2020, 12-1 PM EST

Strategies for Embedding Intervention in Everyday Routines in Tele-Intervention

What makes a tele-intervention session meaningful and functional for the child, parent, and you? Join us to discuss strategies for organizing your session using the SS-OO-PP-RR framework from FGRBI to support caregiver learning to embed within their everyday routines and activities. Explore ways to support how parents use technology to increase the sense that you are joining them in the comfort of their home! Video examples will be shared.

November 9, 2020, 12-1 PM EST

Expanding Your Use of Coaching Strategies in Tele-Intervention with Caregivers

How do we get from talking about embedding intervention to actual practice during the session? Join us for this interactive webinar and share your ideas and experiences on coaching with caregivers that increases the opportunities for actual practice during the routine. Video examples of providers coaching caregivers during the set up and practice in the routine will be shared.

To register for both dates: Registration Form

Promoting High Family Expectations for Young Children with Disabilities

Katie Herron, Research Associate with the Early Childhood Center, presented a webinar on Promoting High Family Expectations for Young Children with Disabilities at the 2020 Down Syndrome Indiana (DSI) Conference. DSI’s annual conference is being held virtually this year and will continue to offer webinars throughout July. Herron presented research on the importance of high family expectations and the connection between family expectations and outcomes for children and young adults with disabilities. She also shared strategies to support families’ continued exploration of their expectations for their children as well as to support impactful future-oriented conversations between families and professionals. To see Herron's presentation.


Summer Institute

On July 20-23 the Early Childhood Center is holding virtual summer institute that will address the instructional challenges in inclusive preschool classrooms and offer practical evidence-based strategies that promote learning for diverse learners.
To address the current need to support LEAs in both remote (teleintervention) and continuous learning assistance, our Summer Institute will include content on:
• Multi-tiered Instructional Supports: (Addressing all children’s needs by integrating assessment and interventions within a multi-level framework to promote positive outcomes);
• Routines-based Instruction both for in the classroom and virtually for the family at home; and
• Family Coaching, both in person and virtually.

Tip Sheets for Transitioning Back to In-Home Early Intervention

ECC recently developed tip sheets for early intervention providers who are starting to transition from tele-intervention back to in-home visits with families. Both tip sheets are located on the ECC website.

One tip sheet is for providers and gives guidance around how to talk with families about the potential shift from tele-intervention to in-person visits. This includes sharing information with families about the importance of continuing to use coaching practices even when the provider is no longer working remotely. Providers are directed to the FGRBI website for more information about how to continue coaching families to take the lead during early intervention sessions, whether the session is happening in the home or virtually.

A second tip sheet was created for families to answer question such as Do we have to go back to in-person services? and Will my provider be wearing a mask? and When my provider comes back into our home, will our sessions be the same as before? These tip sheets were designed to support First Steps staff to communicate effectively with families during this next transition in service provision.

June Professional Development for First Steps

The Early Childhood Center continues to provide Professional Development to Indiana's First Steps early interventionists. Check out our June offerings.

ECC Plans Professional Development Training for First Steps

The Early Childhood Center has planned a series of professional development opportunities for Indiana's First Steps early intervention providers. Webinars will include forums for specific early intervention disciplines and topics like preparing for your tele-intervention session, what to do when behavior happens with children on the autism spectrum, an introduction to sensory issues, and a webinar on family coaching. Webinars are free and open to the public but you must register to attend. Here is the list of topics and registration links.

New Tele-Intervention Resources for Providers and Families

April 23, 2020

The Early Childhood Center has created three new tele-intervention resources for early intervention providers in Indiana. Tele-Intervention for Early Intervention: Session Guidance for Providers is a tip sheet for providers on how to structure their virtual sessions to incorporate coaching practices from checking in at the beginning through modeling new strategies to deciding what families will work on between visits. Using Tele-Intervention to Deliver Early Intervention Services: What to Say to Families is a tip sheet for providers as they consider how to introduce tele-intervention to their families. Tele-intervention is new and some families may be hesitant to give it a try; this sheet helps providers think through how to introduce the concept. An additional resource for this purpose is What You Need to Know About Tele-Intervention in First Steps, a question and answer handout for families that addresses questions such as What will happen during the session? Is tele-intervention secure? and What if I can't keep my child on screen?. In addition to these tip sheets, Early Childhood Center staff have compiled a list of state and national resources, located here. This page is constantly being updated and includes our IU tip sheets as well as webinars, websites, blogs, and YouTube playlists. Check it out!

Early Childhood Center Summer Institute 2020

March 16, 2020

The Early Childhood Center is planning to hold a virtual Summer Institute the week of July 20-24, 2020, titled:Multi-tiered Levels of Instructional Support in Inclusive Preschool. The ECC Summer Institute will address the instructional challenges in inclusive preschool classrooms and offer practical evidence-based strategies that promote learning for diverse learners.

For more information about the Summer Institute, please contact Sally Reed Crawford at or visit our website at ECC Summer Institute2020

Preschool Development Grant

February 26, 2020

The Early Childhood Center served as the evaluator for the federal Preschool Development Grant that was awarded to the Office of Early Childhood and Out of School Learning for the coordination of Hoosier Early Education Resources from January of 2019 through February of 2020. The grant funded 23 projects to build a unified birth to five system with a special focus on understanding the needs and best practices for infants and toddlers, vulnerable populations, preschool children, and children in rural areas. Through the grant funding a needs assessment was conducted of the birth-five landscape, a strategic plan was developed to address the findings of the needs assessment, best practices were identified, and recommendations were developed for a data roadmap. Of the 23 funded projects, 18 projects engaged with 2,511 early childhood stakeholders.

ECC Staff Present at ICASE Conference

February 13, 2020

Early Childhood Center's Sally Reed Crawford and Michael Conn-Powers presented with Jessica Tomasino, IDOE Special Education, at the ICASE Conference, 2/13/2020. The title of the presentation was, Inclusive preschool programs: Innovative practices of successful schools and will increase awareness of evidence-based practices employed by school districts that serve a majority of their preschoolers in general early childhood settings and demonstrate positive child outcomes. This session introduced the models and practices that successful Indiana corporations are now using to effectively address preschool LRE. These are practices identified in the literature as effective and provide useful models to Indiana early childhood special education programs.

ECC Completes Fall Review

December 23, 2019

The Early Childhood Center (ECC) along with the First Steps state team just completed its fall collection of First Steps child/family data from the nine regional System Points of Entry (SPOE) offices in Indiana. The team of 11 staff reviewed the records of 1,854 children and families receiving early intervention services. The Items reviewed are both compliance indicators that are reported to the Office of Special Education (OSEP) through the submission of the Annual Performance Report (APR) as well as quality items that look at how services coordinators and providers work with eligible infants/toddlers and their families. The SPOEs are required to write a continuous quality improvement plan (CQIP) for any compliance indicator they did not meet using the implementation science cycle of Plan, Do, Study, Act. The SPOE collaborates with their stakeholders to get input on the CQIP and discuss areas of improvement that can affect the quality of services to the families served. These plans are updated on a quarterly basis as new data is collected and reviewed.

First Steps Early Intervention National Speaker Webinar: Cultural and Linguistic Competence for Home Visitors

December 12, 2019

As part of our work with the Indiana First Steps Program, the Early Childhood Center is hosting a series of webinars in 2019, 2020. Sally Reed Crawford from ECC will host the first two webinars featuring Wendy A. Jones, M.Ed., a bilingual early childhood special educator and social worker. Ms. Jones has been faculty at Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development for more than two decades, and has worked with the Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) since its inception. Ms. Jones has also worked as home visitor for parents with limited English proficiency and with teen parents, and as a parent educator for parents with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Ms. Jones will present on the topic of Cultural and Linguistic Competence for Home Visitors. Part 1 will be on November 13, at noon: What Every Home Visitor Needs to Know; and Part 2 will be presented on December 20, at noon: Essential Skills for Home Visitors. The links to join both webinars.

ECC Staff Present at ICC

November 19, 2019

ECC staff facilitated a subcommittee presentation and discussion at the November 13th First Steps Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) meeting. The state is considering adoption of an evidence-based early intervention model. Over the last few months, Research Associates Janet Ballard, Katie Herron and Sally Reed Crawford have researched the efficacy and usability of three evidence-based early intervention models. They spoke with Part C Directors in other states who have adopted the models. At the meeting, Ballard, Herron and ICC subcommittee chair Jessica Tomasino presented the findings and facilitated a discussion. The subcommittee will work with ECC staff over the next few months to compile a January presentation to the full ICC. The ICC will then use the information provided to make recommendations to the state regarding a model for adoption.

Herron Presents on Fostering High Expectations

November 19, 2019

ECC Research Associate Katie Herron presented at the 2019 Indiana Conference on Disability in Indianapolis. Herron's presentation was titled Working with Families of Young Children with Disabilities to Foster High Expectations: What Does the Research Say and What Should We Do? This presentation focused on introducing the concept of high family expectations and making the argument that developing and supporting high expectations needs to happen early and extend across the life course. Specific strategies were shared regarding how to do this in early intervention and preschool.

Promoting Positive Outcomes: Early Childhood Special Education Conference

Save the Date!

November 9-10, 2020

Monroe County Convention Center, Bloomington, IN

Indiana University, Purdue University, and the Indiana Department of Education are partnering to offer two days of professional development. Four tracks will be available to conference attendees: Social Emotional, Language, Literacy, Transition, Inclusion, Family Engagement, and Supporting Children from Diverse Backgrounds. Dr. Rose Marie Allen, president of the Institute for Racial Equity, Excellence and Dr. Laura Justice, executive director of the Sophie Rogers School for Early Learning at The Ohio State University will be keynote speakers for the conference.

Crawford Presents at Family Voices Conference

October 17, 2019

Early Childhood Center's, Sally Reed Crawford, presented at the 2019 Family Voices Conference, Heart to Heart. Reed Crawford's presentation title, Our Child's Education: Creating Universally Supportive Environments, provided an overview of the three essential features of inclusion: Access, Participation, and Supports. The presentation included examples of the following strategies that illustrate how these features are implemented in an educational setting: Universal Design for Learning, Individualized Instructional Supports, Intentional and Supported Interactions between Peers with and without Disabilities, Family Involvement, Team Collaboration, and Social Skills Outcomes, and Administrative Supports; In addition, the audience shared their own experiences of how those strategies have been implemented for their children.