The PACER Center, in collaboration with the Tots 'n Tech Research Institute, recently published EZ AT 2: Simple Assistive Technology Ideas for Children Ages Birth to Three (2011). EZ AT 2 is a guide for parents and professionals interested in helping infants and toddlers with disabilities participate more fully in daily routines and activities. It includes a collection of "Ideas to Share" from the Tots 'n Tech Research Institute, as well as easy-to-follow directions, a glossary, and a list of vendors where materials, supplies and AT can be easily located. It available online at http://www.pacer.org/stc/pubs/EZ-AT-book-2011-final.pdf
On a related note, the most recent newsletter from the Tots 'n Tech Research Institute examines the following topic: Can a Robot Really Be Considered "Assistive Technology" for Children? (June 2011). It is available at http://tnt.asu.edu/files/RobotsNewsletter(May)_final_6-8-2011.pdf
First Focus recently released Children's Budget 2011, which provides an analysis of over 180 federally funded programs that are aimed at enhancing the well-being of children across the nation, and how appropriation levels have changed over the past five years. The report shows that spending on children in the 2011 federal budget dropped by nearly 10 percent compared to 2010 levels and explains that without funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), spending on children's programs in 2010 and 2011 would have been significantly lower. It is available at http://www.firstfocus.net/library/reports/childrens-budget-2011
A new publication from the Urban Institute, Kids' Share 2011: Report on Federal Expenditures on Children through 2010, by Julia Isaacs, Heather Hahn, Stephanie Rennane, C. Eugene Steuerle, and Tracy Vericker, looks at trends in federal spending and tax expenditures on children over the past 50 years and finds that children have not been a budget priority. This report is available at http://www.urban.org/publications/412367.html
The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) recently published a new working paper, Improving Early Education Programs through Data-based Decision Making (2011), by Shannon Riley-Ayers, Ellen Frede, W. Steven Barnett, and Kimberly Brenneman. The paper presents five options for studying the effectiveness of state-funded preschool programs, summarizing each option in chart form and providing estimated costs for each evaluation. It is available online at http://nieer.org/publications/nieer-working-papers/improving-early-education-programs-through-data-based-decision
The Urban Institute has published a new paper, Head Start and the Changing Demographics of Today's Young Children (July 2011), by Olivia Golden, which summarizes recent changes in the racial and ethnic composition of young children in America, as well as shifts in where young children live. The authors discuss implications of these changes for Head Start and Early Head Start programs and provide four recommendations on how local practitioners can best meet the needs of today's young children and their families. It is available at http://www.urban.org/publications/109046.html
The National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) recently made a total of 17 awards to applications considered under two FY 2011 (Session 2) competitions: Special Education Research Grants Program (CFDA 84.324A) and Special Education Research and Development Center Program (CFDA 84.324C), including several specifically related to early intervention and early childhood special education. To learn more, go to http://ies.ed.gov/ncser/projects/11awards2.asp.
The Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California at Berkeley recently published a research brief that looks at the extent to which Quality Rating and Improvement Systems (QRIS) include key elements that support or improve early childhood workforce quality, especially in the following four areas: staff qualifications, professional development, compensation and benefits, and workplace environment. Staff Preparation, Reward, and Support: Are Quality Rating and Improvement Systems Addressing All of the Key Ingredients Necessary for Change? (2011), by Lea J.E. Austin, Marcy Whitebook, Maia Connors, and Rory Darrah, is available at http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/cscce/2011/staff-preparation-reward-and-support-are-quality-rating-and-improvement-systems-including-all-of-the-key-ingredients-necessary-for-change/