Technical Assistance Efforts

The US Office of Special Education (OSEP) in the Department of Education has specified three categories of technical assistance (TA): 1) universal or general, 2) targeted or specialized, and, 3) intensive or sustained. National early childhood technical assistance centers have adopted the following definitions for each.

  • Universal, general TA is designed for independent users who are seeking information through their own initiative. It involves minimal interaction with TA center staff, primarily providing information to the client. It includes TA strategies such as developing and disseminating resources, conducting national webinars and conference presentations, and responding to individual requests for information by telephone or email.
  • Targeted, specialized TA is based on needs common to multiple recipients and not extensively individualized. Targeted TA is usually provided to a group of clients with opportunities for individualized TA including tailored support and consideration of state context.  The TA, while related to a need common to multiple clients, can be delivered to either cross-client groups or to a single-client.  A relationship is established between the TA recipient(s) and one or more TA center staff.  TA strategies are primarily distance and supported by remote technology and may include limited onsite consultation.  TA strategies might also include developing products related to the TA topic common to multiple clients.
  • Intensive, sustained TA involves an ongoing relationship between TA provider(s) and the client and is designed to result in changes to policy, program, practice, and/or operations that support increased recipient capacity and/or improved outcomes at one or more systems levels (state, regional, local). Intensive TA is provided through a process that may begin with an application process. TA strategies are extensively tailored to client context and supported both by remote technology as well as on-site, face to face activities.

The PELE Center provides all three types of technical assistance (TA) and training to a variety of audiences on effective practices and policies for the promotion of optimal outcomes for young children, their families and those who serve them. Much of the TA and training is related to two national centers with which the PELE Center partners. The two national centers are the Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center and the National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI). Each is described below.

Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center

The Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center is funded by OSEP to provide technical assistance (TA) to improve services and results for young children, birth to five, with disabilities and their families. ECTA provides information and TA to a) increase awareness and recognition of how IDEA Part C and Section 619 can be intentionally included within broader early childhood initiatives; b) increase knowledge, skills, and competencies of IDEA Part C and Section 619 Coordinators; c) increase capacity of Part C and Section 619 programs to implement systems change efforts, improve and sustain state systems, and increase access to, and participation in, high-quality, inclusive programs for young children with disabilities; and, d) increase implementation of effective services and evidence-based interventions, including DEC Recommended Practices, in inclusive settings. Learn more here.

National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI)

The National Center for Pyramid Model Innovations (NCPMI) is funded by the Office of Special Education Programs to improve and support the capacity of state systems and local programs to implement an early childhood multi-tiered system of support to improve the social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of young children with, and at risk for, developmental disabilities or delays. The goals of the Center are to assist states and programs in their implementation of sustainable systems for the implementation of the Pyramid Model for Supporting Social Emotional Competence in Infants and Young Children (Pyramid Model) within early intervention and early education programs with a focus on promoting the social, emotional, and behavioral outcomes of young children birth to five, reducing the use of inappropriate discipline practices, promoting family engagement, using data for decision-making, integrating early childhood and infant mental health consultation and fostering inclusion. Learn more here.

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