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Children's Medical Services - Special services for children with special needs
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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 4, Lesson 1


This lesson provides the historical perspective and evolution of practices for infants and toddlers and their families as the legislation has been reauthorized. Research on best practices for infants and toddlers with and without special needs, including the research on family involvement in care and education, has moved the service delivery model towards embedding services in everyday routines, activities and places (ERAP). This lesson presents an overview of strategies, established curricula, and national movements and organizations that serve as potential guides for Infant Toddler Developmental Specialists (ITDS).

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, you will be able to:

  1. Discuss the evolution of blending the fields of Early Childhood, Early Childhood Special Education and Compensatory Education into contemporary best practices for infants and toddlers with special needs in everyday routines, activities and places (ERAP).
  2. Demonstrate knowledge of relevant legislation impacting infants, toddlers, and young children who are developmentally delayed/disabled and their families including, but not limited to: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, Parts C and B) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  3. Identify components of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) position statements on Best Practices for infants and toddlers with and without special needs.
  4. Identify and apply knowledge of similarities and differences between Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) for infants and toddlers without special needs and accommodations for infants and toddlers with special needs.
  5. Identify and describe assessment-based curriculum models for infant and toddlers with special needs and individualized curriculum models for all infants and toddlers from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds and with developmental differences.
  6. Demonstrate knowledge of home based and group-care based curriculum strategies for infants and toddlers with special needs.
  7. Identify the relationship of an infant/toddler's functional outcome goals on his/her IFSP created by the family and other team members with integrated interventions that focus on children's interests within the context of family preferences and daily routines, including natural interactions with family members and other caregivers.
  8. Assist the family in accessing services in the most natural service delivery environments including: home, sitter's home, daycare home, family member's home, neighborhood play group, child care with appropriate ratios of typically/atypically developing children, community setting, and other individualized options.


The following resources are necessary for the completion of this lesson. Learners may wish to access and print a hard copy of the resources prior to beginning the lesson for future reference. Some documents can be found in the Resource Bank. Others are available online.

Key Words

Definitions of key words are found in the glossary.

  • Zero to Three
  • Holistic Curricula
  • Head Start
  • Assistive Technology
  • Age-Appropriateness
  • Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP)
  • Compensatory
  • Coaching


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