Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) Module

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Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) Module: 

Developmentally Appropriate Practices (DAP) Module

History of DAP: 

History of DAP The National Association of the Education of Young Children , the largest early childhood organization in the United States, has constructed and published written discourse known as DAP. According to Harjusola -Webb, Hubbell, and Bedesem (2012) discourse is defined as dominating how society defines and organizes both ourselves and our social world.

History of DAP continued: 

History of DAP continued Harjusola and colleagues looked at developmentally appropriate practices and the way in which they are developed, and the meaning behind them for young children with disabilities. DAP was developed by NAEYC in 1987 and is “a standardized, prescriptive teacher’s guide that was used for program evaluation” (p. 10). It is based on cognitive-developmental theories and offers “a singular approach to practice, training, and evaluation of young children” (p. 11).

History of DAP continued: 

History of DAP continued In addition, DAP practices are used regularly to plan and discuss progress for young learners. Children are often viewed through this lens, and lack of progress according to what is considered developmentally appropriate, often leads teachers to evaluate a child’s needs or deficit areas. This is where developmentally appropriate practices take us down the road to special education .

DAP and Special Education : 

DAP and Special Education Special education for all ages focuses on identifying need and teaching to the deficit. Young children who are not considered age appropriate are identified and evaluated to see if they are in need of services that will bring them to age level. If a preschool age student is not able to make progress in a program which is considered a developmentally appropriate program, it is often assumed that the child is the issue, not the program.

DAP and Special Education continued : 

DAP and Special Education continued The teachers often look at the child, knowing they are not average or on par with classmates, and recommend the parent(s) or guardian(s) obtain help in an effort for the child to be comparable to his or her peers. DAP provides the base for what is average and what falls outside the norm. While special education focuses primarily on the deficit model which is somewhat designed around DAP, disability studies has another view of DAP .

Is DAP in special education good or bad? You decide. : 

Is DAP in special education good or bad? You decide. As a result of examining DAP and disability studies, issues may arise. Would the special education field view these issues as problems, or long term solutions to the current problems? Without DAP the field would have nothing to base the case of special education services on. DAP provides the field with standards to which they focus, and deficits in learners are identified. Without DAP, students would not be placed in special education, as there would be no way to qualify them for services.

Is DAP in special education good or bad? You decide. : 

Is DAP in special education good or bad? You decide. If students did not qualify, they would stay in their general education placement with their same age peers. At first, some may believe this sounds problematic, but as an educator in the field, it appears as though this could be a solution to many current problems, one being the lack of inclusion in early childhood settings.

Is DAP in special education good or bad? continued: 

Is DAP in special education good or bad? continued According to Odom, Buysse , & Soukakou (2011) approximately 15% of preschool age children with disabilities are in what are referred to as ‘blended programs’, with the majority of remaining young children in segregated classrooms. Blended programs are described as partly self-contained and segregated and partly general education environment. They state the field of early education “has made little progress in increasing the placements of children in inclusive settings in the past decade” (p. 346). Many educators are interested in promoting inclusive practices; it is important to ask if re-evaluating DAP may help promote successful inclusion?

Does down with DAP equal more successful inclusive practices? : 

Does down with DAP equal more successful inclusive practices? The term inclusion refers not just to a child with a disability being placed amongst non-disabled peers in a classroom, but for the child with a disability to become part of the bigger picture (Odom, et al., 2012). According to Odom and colleagues (2012), this bigger picture includes being accepted and also embraced as part of society and the community. In addition, a study by Florian, defines inclusion as the moment teachers begin to shift from teaching from most students, or some students, to “all” students (2012).

Does down with DAP equal more successful inclusive practices? : 

Does down with DAP equal more successful inclusive practices ? Florian goes on to state that previously, teachers’ notions about learners were based on judgments about ability. These judgments were perpetuated by the concept of the bell curve, where most students’ abilities fall in the middle, and a few on either side, higher or lower. DAP is directly related to bell curve, basing developmentally appropriate practices on what is considered age appropriate, which is based on the bell curve norm . So the question may be asked; where would inclusion be without DAP?

Conclusion: Going Forward: 

Conclusion: Going Forward Consequently , as disability studies begins to grow, and social justice for individuals with disabilities spreads, the field of education will begin to look more closely at special education practices, as well as education practices in general.

Conclusion: Going Forward: 

Conclusion: Going Forward Brantlinger adds that “a problematic aspect of DAP and individualized instruction approaches is that, even when they are aimed at helping children become similar, paradoxically, both assume definitive and lasting differences among children” (p. 130).

Conclusion: Going Forward continued: 

Conclusion: Going Forward continued There are many reasons to re-evaluate special education, and critically view the medical model society uses to treat individuals with disabilities. DAP and individualized instructions are just two of them.

Conclusion: Going Forward continued: 

Conclusion: Going Forward continued Moving forward it is important to examine the discourse which educators use in classrooms, as sometimes it is terminology and slippery shibboleths, not just people, which help perpetuate segregation.

References/Recommended Readings: 

References/Recommended Readings Brantlinger, E. (2005). Slippery shibboleths: The shady side of truisms in special education. In S. L. Gabel (Ed.), Disability studies in education: Readings in theory and method (pp. 125-138). New York, United States of America: Peter Lang . Copple , C., & Bredekamp , S. (1997). Developmentally appropriate practice [journal article]. National Association for the Education of Young Children, 352. Florian, L. (2012). Preparing teachers to work in inclusive classrooms: Key lessons for the professional development of teacher educators from Scotland’s inclusive practice project. Journal of Teacher Education, 63(4), 275-285. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022487112447112 Harjusola -Webb, S., Hubbell, S. P., & Bedesem , P. (2012). Increasing prosocial behaviors of young children with disabilities in inclusive classrooms using a combination of peer- mediated intervention and social narratives [journal article]. Educational Studies, 21(), 29-36. Odom, S. L., Buysse , V., & Soukakou , E. (2011). Inclusion for young children with disabilities: A quarter century of research perspectives. Journal of Early Intervention, 33, 344-356. http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1053815111430094