Education professors write first-of-kind instructional book

Teaching children who have or do not have disabilities in the same type of educational environment is now addressed by two education professors at Tennessee Technological University in a book that is the first of its kind.

For the past five years, Dean Richey, interim dean of the College of Education, and John Wheeler, interim associate dean, have been working on their recently released book, Inclusive Early Childhood Education: Merging Positive Behavioral Supports, Activity-Based Intervention, and Developmentally Appropriate Practice, published by Delmar Publishers.

"We're both excited about this book because it bridges a gap not previously addressed in our field," Wheeler said.

The three areas named in the title Ð positive behavioral supports, activity-based intervention and developmentally appropriate practice Ð were always used exclusively to teach either special education students or those in early childhood education.

For example, positive-behavioral supports, such as rewarding a student for good behavior, was used nearly all the time solely for children with challenging development.

However, if a teacher is trained to deal with only certain developments of particular students, then he or she does not have the capacity to instruct other children facing different situations.

"We don't intend for this book to be for special education only Ð it is for learning ways to teach all young children," Richey explained. "We are offering creative approaches to work collaboratively across these three disciplines."

The book, which can be used as a textbook in early childhood education programs, early child special education programs and child development and family programs uses a family-centered approach in which parents and families are partners in service for the education their children receive.

"We think it appeals to universities and colleges' text needs, and it is reader and student friendly," Wheeler said.

"Our hope is that people will begin to understand that these three theories can converge to educate all children Ð those with typical and special needs Ð in inclusive environments," he added. "We want to convey a respect for children."
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