February 23, 2019  

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USM Representatives to Speak at Early Childhood Inclusion Event

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Pictured from left to right: Nicole Briceno, M.S., Dr. Alicia Westbrook and Dr. Leslie LaVergne.

Representatives from the Mississippi Early Childhood Inclusion Center (MECIC) at The University of Southern Mississippi’s Institute for Disability Studies have been invited to speak at the 2017 National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute hosted by the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The invitation was extended to Dr. Alicia Westbrook, Dr. Leslie LaVergne, and Nicole Briceno, after learning how MECIC utilizes the Inclusive Classroom Profile (ICP) to support professional development in Mississippi.

Westbrook and LaVergne will participate in a panel discussion to share their research which employed the ICP to analyze the impact of MECIC’s Special Needs Credential, a 40-hour professional development program.

“We are excited to share our results and to highlight what Mississippi is doing to support quality early childhood inclusion”, said LaVergne, Coordinator of the Pediatric Evaluation and Diagnostic Services Team and the ICP Assessor.

Briceno and Westbrook will present, Innovative Techniques: Moving Up the Developmental Ladder. Their session will encourage educators to consider the cognitive, communication, and sensory needs of each child; to implement multiple guided practices when teaching; to be cognizant of the time needed for each child’s response; and to apply Universal Design for Learning principles in the early childhood classroom.

Briceno, Coordinator for MECIC, points out, “The work we do positively impacts children throughout Mississippi.  By sharing our expertise on advancing development at the Inclusion Institute, we now have the opportunity to extend our reach on a national level.”

“The leadership at Frank Porter Graham have become familiar with the work that MECIC is doing in Mississippi through our continued efforts to ensure best practices for high quality early childhood inclusion,” said Westbrook, director. “To be extended an invitation to speak at their national conference to share our research and early childhood inclusion philosophy is an honor for us.”

MECIC is a statewide program that provides quality training and technical assistance to early childhood educators who teach infant, toddler, and preschoolers who serve young children with disabilities in their childcare centers and preschool programs.

A contract with Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS) supports the services of MECIC which include: special needs credentials; quality trainings; technical assistance; screening and diagnostic evaluations; and family navigation.

To learn more about MECIC and to request services, please call: 1-888-671-0051 or visit www.usm.edu/disability-studies/mecic.