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Hilton/Early Head Start Training Program. Training Strategies and Resources that Support and Sustain Community Inclusion. Linda Brekken, Ph.D Rob Corso, Ph.D. Tamanika Odinga, Ed.D . California Institute on Human Services Sonoma State University www.specialquest.org

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hilton early head start training program
Hilton/Early Head Start Training Program

Training Strategies and Resources that Support and Sustain Community Inclusion

Linda Brekken, Ph.D

Rob Corso, Ph.D.

Tamanika Odinga, Ed.D.

California Institute on Human Services

Sonoma State University


Sixth National Early Childhood Inclusion Institute July 25-27, 2006

inclusion training challenges and strategies
Inclusion Training: Challenges and Strategies
  • What are the biggest issues that you face in facilitating inclusion?
  • What are the most effective strategies for creating changes that last over time?

To support Early Head Start and Migrant and Seasonal Head Start staff, and family members, in collaboration with Early Intervention and other community partners to develop skills and strategies for including infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.

program facts
  • Public-private partnership between the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and the Head Start Bureau.
  • Purpose: to augment learning opportunities for Early Head Start staff and families in serving infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
hilton early head start training program components
Hilton/Early Head Start Training Program Components
  • SpecialQuests - Team-based, intensive learning opportunities, provided over time
  • Learning Coaches provide supportive on site follow-up
  • SpecialQuest Training Guides and Videos - provide resources so participants can “share the training”
  • Continuous Improvement - logic model driven evaluation process which provides data for program improvement, decision-making and assessing impact
key themes
Key Themes
  • Goal: To create change in communities to promote the inclusion of infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
  • Themes
  • Belonging
  • Families as Informed Decision Makers
  • Collaboration and Teaming
  • Reflection and Continuous Improvement
  • Implementation and Sustainability
  • Intensive, interactive learning experiences, using a sequential, skill-building curriculum, spanning 4 days
  • Teams from each EHS/MSHS grantee and their community partners annually participate in regional SpecialQuests over the course of 4 years
learning coaches
Learning Coaches
  • A Learning Coach works with each team during SpecialQuests in developing goals
  • Learning Coaches provide on-site follow-up to support implementation
specialquest teams
  • Family members of children with disabilities
  • Early Intervention Partners
  • EHS Administrators
  • EHS Disabilities Staff
  • EHS teachers or home visitors
  • Child care partners
  • Head Start partners
  • Phase I (1998-2002)- SpecialQuest Graduates:
  • 240 EHS/MSHS programs participated for 4 years
  • 50 SpecialQuest Ambassadors
  • Phase II (2002-2007) Current Participants:
  • 263 EHS/MSHS Programs
  • All Regional Offices
infants and toddlers with disabilities
Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities
  • Infants and toddlers with disabilities are those from birth to three years, as identified under the Part C Program (Individuals with Disabilities Act) in their state.

45 CFR 1304.3(a)(2)

hsps 1305 6 c
HSPS 1305.6 (c)
  • At least 10% of enrollment opportunities in EHS/MSHS programs must be available to infants and toddlers with disabilities.

SpecialQuest provides support to participants in developing the attitudes, knowledge and skills to welcome and appropriately serve infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families in inclusive settings. Participating programs individualize and support quality services to all infants and toddlers.

what we ve learned from specialquest graduates and participants
What we’ve learned from SpecialQuest Graduates and Participants
  • EHS programs increased the number of children with disabilities served
  • Programs developed strategies to support family advocacy and leadership
  • Collaboration between Early Head Start and Early Intervention resulted in increased services to families.
  • Teams shared the training with others in their community
implementation sustainability
Implementation & Sustainability
  • Of the 817 Action Plans developed in SQ II, 73% were completed or are still in progress.
  • Across all of the content strands of SpecialQuest, teams report to be moving towards fully implementing sustainable practices to support high quality services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families.
our training model
Our Training Model






Continuous Improvement

Learning Coaches

Graduates & Ambassadors

framework of the hilton model





Framework of the “Hilton Model”

Parallel Process


  • Clear Direction and Vision
  • Administrative Support
  • Active Involvement by All
  • Reciprocal Community Partnerships
  • Time and Practice
  • Continuous Improvement
sustain the quest
Sustain The Quest
  • What stood out for you as you listened and watched?


  • What sustainability strategies did you observe in the video that might be useful for you?
  • What other sustainability strategies do you use in your training/practice?
  • Shareback one or two strategies
reflections and planning
Reflections and Planning
  • What were the most exciting or innovative ideas that you heard today?
  • What ideas could you implement when you return to your program?
  • What supports would you need to implement these ideas?
specialquest multimedia training library
SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library

SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library

Coming Soon: November 2006!

  • Features:
    • Award Winning DVDs in English and Spanish
    • Facilitators’ Guide - to learn how to provide effective, engaging training
    • Facilitators’ Planning Worksheets
    • Facilitators’ Scripts - to guide the facilitators in training
    • Handouts in English and Spanish
specialquest multimedia training library37
SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library

SpecialQuest Multimedia Training Library

These easy-to-use, interactive materials are perfect for early care and education professionals, parents, inclusion specialists, early interventionists, training and technical assistance providers, and college or university faculty.

Titles available in the library include:

Volume III

Collaboration and Teaming

Volume I

Including Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities

Volume II

Building Relationships with Families

for more information

Hilton/Early Head Start Training Program Staff

Current SpecialQuest teams (2002-2007)

SpecialQuest Graduate teams (1998-2002)

SpecialQuest Ambassadors

Learn About:

SpecialQuest Ambassadors

Resources and Links

Evaluation data and relevant articles

Academic Credit and CEUs

Training Model

SpecialQuest Curriculum and Follow-Up

Family Stories

For More Information


clear direction and vision
Clear Direction and Vision
  • “Since our last SpecialQuest training each team member has returned to their job with a renewed vision in their support of infant and toddlers with disabilities and their families. Our jobs are such that we are fortunate enough to meet again and again and have been able to return to our SpecialQuest goals that support this vision.”
administrative support
Administrative Support
  • “Three years ago a plan was developed to transition children. A meeting was held with staff from all service areas, including Early Head Start and Head Start teachers to discuss any issues. Changing the system has been slow. We're making positive changes thanks to SpecialQuest. Higher level administrators are now more on board, and as a result, we are having smoother transitions.”
active involvement by all
Active Involvement by All
  • “SpecialQuest has been presented to the interagency council, and participation on SpecialQuest helped with building relationships between all levels of the Early Head Start staff. Program staff are working to help therapists and direct service staff feel comfortable working in natural environments rather than pulling children out for services.”
reciprocal community partnerships
Reciprocal Community Partnerships
  • “The structure and expectations of SpecialQuest provided the opportunity and face-to-face time with key partners and our team. Now we feel as though we are all on the same page. We completed formal agreements in each of our seven counties. We started with one draft that was adjusted to fit the needs, expectations and focus/philosophy of that particular partnership. It took conversation, thought and more discussion to develop each agreement. An important "by product" of the process of developing each agreement was the strengthening of each of the seven partnerships.
time and practice
Time and Practice
  • “SpecialQuest was the "seed" that has "taken root" and is "blossoming". Even though staff has changed, our long-term goals are in place and we are making progress in achieving them.”
continuous improvement
Continuous Improvement
  • “ We maintain quarterly meetings. We review and revise the referral process and the communications notebook for continued improvement. Teachers are a part of the evaluation process. It helped to improve collaboration.”