Despite the efficacy of assistive technology (AT), many children with disabilities do not have access to AT and are not fully benefiting from inclusive preschool education. The current mixed-methods study examined a multi-faceted professional development (PD) intervention aligned with the CEC’s Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education (EI/ECSE) Standards to increase general early childhood education (ECE) teachers’ use of AT to promote early literacy in young children with disabilities. The 24-week PD intervention included: (a) online modules, (b) coaching; and (c) a classroom kit of AT devices. Participants were six lead teachers, 10 teacher aides, and 34 children from six inclusive classrooms in two preschools. Quantitative methods included pre-and post- surveys, early literacy assessments, and classroom observations. Qualitative analysis explored data from focus groups and input from teacher adherence forms. Results revealed that (a) teachers’ AT knowledge, positive beliefs, and use; and (b) children’s use of AT and early literacy skills significantly increased pre- to post- intervention. Qualitative findings revealed themes relating to how teachers benefitted from the PD and the impact of AT on teacher instruction and child learning. Findings support innovative PD practices to build capacity of practitioners implementing AT as a responsive instructional strategy in inclusive classrooms.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)