It has been approximately 25 years since the first edition of Young Children with Special Needs was published, and there was little history to present about the field at that time. We remarked about that in the preface of the third edition, and now comment on it again in the fourth edition. This remains an important point in that the growth in the field of early childhood special education has been extraordinary. From the first few experimental personnel preparation programs, there have grown dozenswith more contemporary programs evolving at a rapid rate even since the last edition in 1998. From a few demonstration early intervention programs for preschoolers in each state, there have grown thousands of programs, and early intervention is mandatory in every state for eligible children beginning at birth. From a few experimental curricula and homemade materials, there has grown an industry geared to serving the needs of young children with disabilities and their families.
This growth has been unprecedented, and it is likely to continueeven in the face of difficult financial times. There has been a true commitment to early childhood special education on the part of state and federal governments, university training programs, and local communities, and this commitment likely will be rewarded with better services and evidence-based interventions for young children with special needs, better trained personnel, more informed and more involved families and communities, and increasingly more child-friendly public policies. In turn, we should gain increased respect for young children with special needs and their families and, ultimately, there should be valuable contributions to our society as a whole from this population.
The fourth edition of Young Children with Special Needs maintains a number of similarities with the third edition. This edition continues to be driven by a developmental theoretical perspective. We have built that perspective into most of the chapters in the latter half of the text, and all of the contributors have done an exceptional job in perpetuating this developmental perspective. We also have continued to put emphasis on some key content areas in early childhood special education such as historical foundations, basic growth and development, families, assessment and intervention, and technology. At the center of successful early intervention are competent professionals who are knowledgeable about children, families, and the tools of assessment and intervention, and who apply that knowledge in a sensitive and skillful way. Many of the chapters in this text provide the reader with an introductory knowledge base about the field and about factors that influence development, and we have made a great effort to present the very latest information and to challenge the reader to think beyond the facts. In this revision, we also continue to emphasize the importance of gaining a broad, yet deep perspective of how children develop as they do and what can go wrong. We have remained consistent in our use of terminology (e.g., we use the term early interventionist to refer to the many different professionals, including and most specifically the early childhood special educator, who provide early intervention services), and we have given the instructor in early childhood or special education a clear approach from which to work; that is, a knowledge-content-application approach. We believe this approach is more logical and more conducive to incremental learning by the student.
The fourth edition of Young Children with Special Needs also maintains a number of differences when compared to the third edition. The text has a more user-friendly appearance, with a number of instructional aids being added. Specifically, each chapter begins with an outline of the chapter-specific topics, and ends with questions and discussion points. In addition, each chapter provides a number of recommended resources for additional reading, research, and projects. All chapters have additional instructional technologies, including introductory case vignettes, key points listed in a sidebar format, text boxes highlighting a topic directly or indirectly related to the chapter, and boldfaced key words. It is hoped that these new instructional features will facilitate the teaching and learning of this material.
Another subtle difference between the third and fourth editions lies in how the text is organized. Based on peer reviewer comments, we have subdivided the chapters a bit differently from the previous edition via four separate sections. Most chapters have been realigned to emphasize the information that is most important for early interventionists and to provide as broad a perspective as possible to the reader. Philosophically, we see development as the basis of assessment and diagnosis; it is the foundation upon which interventions are built. The early interventionist who knows child development can feel confident and be supportive of children's and parents' needs.
Specifically, Part I delves into basic foundational issues in early childhood special education and comprises three chapters. Chapter 1, "Introduction to Young Children with Special Needs," provides an overview of the history of special education, with a key focus on special education classification and research support for early intervention. Chapter 2, "Developmental Processes and Factors Affecting Development," details growth and development, including definitional issues, and provides a current, research-based discussion of the numerous factors that can impact on development. Chapter 3, "Partnerships with Families," continues to emphasize the importance of families in the early years, particularly with respect to programmatic intervention for children.
Part II addresses principles of assessment and intervention and comprises three chapters. Chapter 4, "Assessment of Young Children: Standards, Stages, and Approaches," provides a state-of-the-art discussion of the assessment process and procedures necessary for evaluating young children with special needs, whereas Chapter 5, "Intervention," continues to provide an evidence-based discussion of a wonderful array of contemporary approaches to programmatic treatment in early childhood special education. The discussion on cultural diversity and intervention also is quite noteworthy. Chapter 6, "Technology for Assessment and Intervention," has been thoroughly revised and now has a clearer focus on the use of technology for assessment and treatment. In particular, the various types of technology are discussed and their importance to nearly every developmental domain is asserted. This expansion of the types of technology clearly reflects advances in the field of early childhood special education since the last edition was published.
Part III addresses the core components of this textdevelopmental domainsand comprises five chapters. Chapter 7, "Gross Motor Development," and Chapter 8, "Fine Motor, Oral Motor, and Self-Care Development," provide exquisite details with respect to these two motor domains. These chapters represent some of the material contained in the third edition of this text when this information was combined into a single chapter, but the content was subdivided for the fourth edition to provide more expansive coverage of these key developmental domains. Chapter 9, "Cognitive Development," and Chapter 10, "Communication," have been updated to reflect contemporary literature in each of these developmental domains. Chapter 11, "Social and Emotional Development," also has been updated to reflect current research, but there is increased focus on peers, friendships, and social play. These latter topics reflect current trends in research in early childhood, with the application of these findings to young children with special needs only beginning to be understood.
The final section, Part IV, consists of Chapter 12, "Issues and Directions." In this chapter we comment on some of the more critical and controversial issues that are raised in the other chapters, and have extended topics raised in the third edition of this text. We hope these discussion points will become the basis for reflection and further investigation by the reader. Although perhaps a bit atypical for an epilogue, we also added a case study to provide a clinical framework from which many of the key points and issues could be discussed.
The modifications in this edition either reflect what early interventionists have said about the importance of a specific issue and their need for more comprehensive knowledge, or they reflect our own impressions of what early interventionists need to know. But mastery of the information will lead to mastery on the job. Any redundancy in information among chapters is intentional because it reflects both the natural overlap in material from one developmental area to another, and that repetition facilitates learning.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.