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EITP Spring 2015 Newsletter
Spring 2015 Early Intervention Training Program Newsletter
News and Updates
Ted Burke and Susan Connor
EITP Says Goodbye to Ted Burke and Welcomes Susan Connor as its New Director

After 21 years of working in the Illinois Early Intervention System, Ted Burke will be leaving Illinois and moving to Hawaii where he will be starting in a new role as Director of Early Intervention Programs for Easter Seals Hawaii overseeing programs on the islands of Oahu, Kauai and Hawaii.

Ted served as Director of the Early Intervention Training Program (EITP) since 2002 and has said of his departure, “As exciting of an opportunity as this is, it has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life because of the amazing colleagues and friends I’ve gained since moving to Illinois over 20 years ago. The relationships I have had with so many of you have shaped who I am today both professionally and personally on so many levels. There are not enough words to express the gratitude I have for all of you who taught me, mentored me, counseled me and stood alongside of me as a part of this amazing journey we call early intervention.”

In reflecting on his years working in Illinois’ EI System Ted stated, “The positive impacts that I have witnessed for the hundreds of thousands of families that early intervention providers have supported in the past two decades go well beyond the time they spent in early intervention. I believed in 1992 and I believe just as strongly today, that providing support for families during those critical early years has a greater impact on both that individual family and society as a whole than at any other point we provide services later in a child’s life. In my time in this field, I’ve seen society’s perceptions change and possibilities grow for people with disabilities that were unimaginable 20 years ago.”

Moving forward, the Early Intervention Training Program is excited to announce that Susan Connor has been named its new Director. Susan has worked with EITP since 2005 and has been the Assistant Director since 2013.

Upon hearing Susan’s appointment to Director, Ted shared “I have had the opportunity to interact and work with Susan in her various roles as service provider, professional development provider, administrator and parent in the Illinois Early Intervention System since 1997. During this time, Susan has proven to be one of those rare early intervention professionals who is not only knowledgeable, but also organized, efficient and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. Her level of understanding of research driven evidence-based practice related to child development and early intervention is unparalleled. Susan exemplifies the qualities of dynamic leadership dedicated to improving outcomes for infants, toddlers, and their families more than anyone I’ve ever known in my two decades working in the early intervention field. As Director of EITP, Susan will bring the practical experience, leadership, training excellence and the respect and admiration of practitioners, policymakers and state and national leaders in the early childhood field that is rarely found in any one individual in our field. I have no doubt that under Susan’s guidance EITP will continue to create new and exciting opportunities for our field as it evolves with a core team of individuals who are some of the best and brightest leaders in early intervention.”

EITP Winter Webinars
Thank you for Participating in our Winter Webinar Series!

EITP would like to thank everyone who joined us for our Winter Webinar series! We are so appreciative of the presenters who shared their expertise and time to educate the field on such interesting, important topics which serve to support our everyday work with families. EITP is especially grateful for all our participants! Your active engagement in the webinars enriched each session with thoughtful questions and shared experiences. Thank you so much for your contributions to this webinar series!

EITP Winter Webinar YouTube Playlist
Missed the Winter Webinars?

For those who were unable to attend, the recorded webinars are available on the EITP YouTube channel ( for viewing as a non-credit option.  You can click on the icon on the right to go directly to our YouTube Winter Webinar Playlist!

Currently, EITP is working to have the webinars available online for credit within the next few months.

New DEC Position Statement on Leadership

Division for Early Childhood (DEC) of the Council for Exceptional Children’s new Position Statement on Leadership in Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education (PDF) (March 2015) focuses on promoting high-quality leadership at all levels of the early intervention / early childhood special education service systems. It is endorsed by the IDEA Infant and Toddler Coordinators Association (ITCA).  (Reposted from ECTA eNotes)

Resources You Can Use
Early Intervention and Child Care: Natural Partners in Natural Environments

Children in early intervention receiving services in child care settings increases each year. Some CFCs report that up to 50% of services are taking place in child care centers. Therefore, working with other early childhood professionals is important in best serving these children and their families. In collaboration with the University of Illinois Office of Public Engagement, Illinois Department of Human Services, and Shatterglass Studios, EITP has created a video to support these partnerships between early intervention providers and child care programs. This video acts as an introduction for child care providers and highlights the benefits of these partnerships for both child and family outcomes. Please watch the video and share with others. The link for the video is

Find EITP Events quickly
A Better Way to Find EITP Sponsored Events

Visit  Updated weekly, EITP has added this new page to our website to help users quickly identify EITP-sponsored training events from our Training Calendar. It can be found on our homepage under the Upcoming Training Events section in the center of the page. Organized in chronological order, you can see all upcoming events for EITP that are open for registration. Simply click on the title of the event to get more information or register!

Home Visit Safety
Safety Considerations for Home Visitors

(Taken from the California Center for Infant-Family and Early Childhood Mental Health at

Research indicates that a main barrier to providing early intervention services is concern for personal safety as well as concern for personal property. As home visitors, we may sometimes enter into environments that could be considered “unsafe.” While we are dedicated to serving ALL families of infants and toddlers with special needs regardless of their home environments, it is also important for us to take care of ourselves.

Strategies for taking care of yourself:

  • Look for opportunities to reflect on your experiences (Vent!!!)
  • Obtain support from co-workers who have experienced similar situations
  • Seek out opportunities for professional development to learn strategies for supporting families
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance with establishing appropriate boundaries
  • Seek out access to mental health support as needed
  • Have a clear understanding of your agencies’ expectations when it comes to fulfilling your job requirements
  • Request assistance with managing your caseload to ensure that you don’t have all high intensity cases (when possible)
  • Look for opportunities to take a “timeout” or to attend a retreat or celebration of your hard work and commitment to your job
Three New Videos Illustrate Family Guided Routines Based Intervention

Early ACCESS in Iowa in collaboration with the Distance Mentoring Model at Florida State University recently published three new videos illustrating Family Guided Routines Based Intervention (FGRBI). The first two videos show what FGRBI looks like during early intervention home visits, and is narrated by providers and family members who reflect on a number of key strategies and themes. In the third video, a parent offers her perspective on the use of toy bags by home visitors.


A Home Visit with Kris and Kiyah (10:50)

Early ACCESS special education teacher Peg joins Kiyah and her father, Kris on a home visit. Peg supports Kris to embed opportunities for Kiyah to learn and participate in the family's everyday activities such as getting ready for childcare and taking a walk.


A Home Visit with Brandon's Family (7:55)

Early ACCESS speech-language pathologist Alison works with Brandon's parents on ways to support Brandon's language development. The family practices using new strategies during the visit and makes plans to use the strategies throughout the week.


Families Talk About the Toy Bag (2:00)

Brandon's parents discuss the benefits of using their own toys and materials for Brandon's play, rather than toys brought in by an early intervention provider.

Ask Lucy
Ask Lucy

"…questions, boy do I get questions. I may not always have the answers, but with access to a rather wealthy reserve of resources at the Local, State, and National levels I am more than willing to track them down- or at least find leads to them. I am happy to help and happier when I know that I can.   As the Training Events Coordinator and Field Training Support Specialist for EITP, this is part of what I do. So when you have an early intervention question, go ahead and just Ask Lucy…" - Lucy Gimble, EITP

Lucy answers your questions on training locations and topics

As the Training Events Coordinator for EITP, not a week goes by without at least one call or e-mail inquiring “Why doesn’t the Training Program offer any trainings in _(you fill in the blank)_?” OR “Why doesn’t the Training Program ever offer training about (you fill in the blank) ? That’s what providers really need”.  

We welcome your feedback and do take it very seriously and into consideration when planning our events. EITP conducts a Training Needs Assessment Survey every Spring and evaluations after each training event. Your comments factor significantly in the development of our curriculum and coordination of our training calendar. We are aware that the learning styles and needs of the 6500+ early interventionists in the State of Illinois are not the same and continue to change. We make every effort, with the resources afforded us, to be as flexible, creative and as innovative and professional as possible to offer quality learning opportunities to early interventionists that are research-based and reflect best practices in early intervention. we do strive to do all that we reasonably can to make opportunities available that early interventionists can benefit from at some point.

So why doesn’t the Training Program offer more trainings in______?  

The Training Program typically offers between 150-200 training events each program/fiscal year all over the State. Because over 60% of Illinois’ early intervention providers and the families they serve reside in the Chicagoland area we plan 60% of our training events in the Chicagoland area.

Why doesn’t the Training Program ever offer training about______?  

Again, your feedback from our Training Needs Assessment factors greatly in the development of our training curriculum. Whether we are developing new curriculum or adapting existing curriculum, the content is appropriate for the early interventionist and will have a focus on the Key Principles of Early Intervention. EITP curriculum goes through a review process before we present it, with Illinois DHS giving final approval.

Our Very Own!

In our Fall newsletter, EITP asked our subscribers to identify people who regularly makes a difference in the Illinois Early Intervention system to feature on our website and upcoming newsletters for our “Very Own” column. This quarter we are proud to recognize Sarah Werner!

Sarah Werner

Sarah is a staff physical therapist for the Easter Seals in Bourbonnais, IL. She was nominated by Angie Palanca, who shared the following:

“Sarah is a brilliant person who really knows her discipline and willingly shares her knowledge with other therapists of all disciplines. She is never condescending, but rather a teacher to therapists and parents alike. She loves children and all children love her as well. Children all respond well to her even when she is challenging them. She finds that fine balance between challenging them and allowing them to recover and calm before moving on. Her success with children is remarkable!”

Describe Sarah in 5 words: Brilliant, teacher, compassionate, fun, advocate

If there is someone you would like to nominate, please visit

Research Participation Opportunity

Yusuf Akamoglu, a doctoral student working in the Special Education department at the University of Illinois is conducting a survey around what parents do to support the language and communication development of their children with language and communication delays.  Please share the link below with parents that you know and with practitioners who can share with their clients to take my survey. It will take about 10-15 minutes to complete.

To be eligible to participate, the parent must have a child: 1) who is 5 years old or younger (born after March 1st, 2010), 2) has a delay in language and communication or a disability that affects his/her language and communication development, 3) has English as the primary language, and 4) currently lives in Illinois.

To participate and learn more, please visit

Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events
Upcoming Events from EITP and others

To view a full list of events, including events not sponsored by EITP, visit our website by clicking the calendar image.  Please note that schedule is subject to change and availability.

To view upcoming events sponsored by EITP only, please visit





Online Systems Overview One Day Follow Up Session

West Peoria


Connecting the Dots



Understanding Toxic Stress in Early Childhood Years



Family Partnerships that Work! Engaging Families in Early Intervention

Palos Hills


Online Systems Overview One Day Follow Up Session


4/28/2015 - 6/5/2015

Infant/Toddler Assessment Institute-Developmentally Appropriate Practices

Crystal Lake


Online Systems Overview One Day Follow Up Session



5/1/2015 - 6/19/2015

Infant/Toddler Assessment Institute-Developmentally Appropriate Practices



Illinois System Refresher: What's New in Early Intervention?



Measuring the Success of Early Intervention



Making the Connection: Using the Evaluation & Assessment Process to Guide Functional Outcome Planning with Families



Online Systems Overview One Day Follow Up Session

Tinley Park




Online Systems Overview One Day Follow Up Session



Online Systems Overview One Day Follow Up Session



Online Systems Overview One Day Follow Up Session