Students seeking dual certification in pre-K-4 and special education can look forward to more applied experiences with children and professionals in the field with the new teaching certification changes being complemented at Millersville University as mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. As of this semester, the Department of Special Education and Elementary & Early Childhood Education began offering three new classes: “Early Intervention to Kindergarten,” “Serving Individuals with Persuasive and Extensive Disabilities in Inclusive Settings” and “Language Development and Emergent Literacy.”

These new courses are required for students before they begin their student teaching experience. Along with the courses, students will have two field experiences working with children. In addition, they will gain insight from experts in the field of early intervention through speaker sessions held throughout the semester.

Dr. Ellen Long

“I thought it would be best that they learn from the professionals who are working in this area of special education. The speaker sessions give an authentic sense of the important population of children who are receiving early intervention services,” said Dr. Ellen Long, assistant professor of special education.

In February, the special education department invited five expert speakers to present on the most current and best practices in the field of early intervention for children from birth to age 5. The first presenter, Kirsten Crosby-Blose, special instructor and first step evaluator, spoke on how to evaluate children for early intervention and routine based services. Next, Tania Hripto, early intervention coordinator for Lancaster County Office of Mental Health/Mental Retardation/Early Interventions, and Nicole Castagna, parent coordinator, spoke to the students about the zero to three early intervention programs and working with families. The last speaker, Mari Cunningham, physical therapist for TheraPlay and Intermediate Unit 13 instructor, spoke to the students about her experiences as a physical therapist working in early intervention.

Cunningham will return on April 2 to speak about sensory integration. Also, Amy Teigland, itinerant preschool special education teacher, will speak about her role and experiences. Teigland will present on April 10. The sessions are open to the entire special education and early childhood education departments.

For more information, contact Long at Ellen.long@millersville.edu or 717-872-3681.

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