Early Childhood Special Ed
Three UMF Early Childhood Special Education majors from Maine have been awarded Longley Scholarships for the 2011-2012 academic year. The recipients are Sarah Davis from Hope, Melissa Ryan from Gray, and Alyssa Stevens from Monmouth. The Governor James B. Longley Scholarships are continuing awards given to upper-class students who were born in Maine or graduated from a Maine high school, and who demonstrate persistence, determination, compassion and respect for others. Service to family, school (excluding athletic ability or participation), community, and academic performance are also to be considered. Recipients are to be known as Governor Longley Scholars and preference is given to students majoring in Special Education.
In 2011, Kiley Gendron of New Durham, N.H., a third-year Early Childhood Special Education major, received a Wilson Scholar Award to study iPad applications that could be used to facilitate communication between a child with autism and his peers. Kiley's work, directed by Professor of Special Education Loraine Spenciner, led to an important breakthrough for this child. As he learned how to use an iPad to communicate with others, peers began to reach out to him. One boy was surprised to find out what his friend liked to do. The next day, Kiley observed a "real conversation" -- the child's first -- as the boys communicated, one using words, the other using the iPad's speak feature. This began the development of new friendships.
UMF Early Childhood Special Education students have exciting opportunities to engage in independent and collaborative research and to share their learning with professionals in the field. For example, during 2010-11 two students, Jillian and Casey co-authored proposals with Assoc. Professor Dolores Appl. One was "Monitoring Progress of Early Childhood Special Education Undergraduates with CED/DEC Professional Standards" and the other was "Parent-Child Portfolios: Monitoring the Progress of Infants, Toddlers, and Preservice Professionals." These papers were accepted for presentation at the Fall 2011 Division of Early Childhood Annual Conference in National Harbor, Md. Students have also had opportunities to collaborate with Dr. Appl in preparing manuscripts of their work, which have been published in professional journals, such as Young Exceptional Children and Early Childhood Education Journal.
UMF Early Childhood Special Education student Kaylee Trefethen drew on her knowledge of Spanish and child development when she joined a small group of other UMF students and faculty to spend May term in Guatemala working with children in the Safe Passage Program. Kaylee brought children's books in Spanish and many ideas from her Early Childhood Education coursework to develop daily activities for the children. The following fall Kaylee presented information about her experience at UMF's annual Diversity Conference.
In 2010, Professor of Special Education Loraine Spenciner returned from a nearly three month stay at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University where she was a visiting professor, training future teachers to help children with disabilities succeed in inclusive classrooms. She was chosen because of her extensive background in preparing Education students at UMF in using assistive technology to help all children learn together. Assistive technology devices are items adapted so a person with a disability that can increase or maintain his or her function. University students in Singapore created adapted pencils, rulers that allowed students to measure with the use of only one hand, and even modified chop sticks.
UMF students get involved in the community! One such example is the annual "Make Tracks for Kids" walk-a-thon that benefits the local Franklin County Children's Task Force agency. In 2010 there were 14 walkers on Early Childhood Special Education team, which included Early Childhood Special Education students, friends, family members, and faculty. In previous years the Early Childhood Special Education team won the award for the most participants.
In fall 2010, the new Educare Central Maine opened in Waterville, the first of the nationwide Educare Centers in New England. In 2010-2011, two UMF Early Childhood Special Education students Katelyn Longstreet Farrar and Kaylee Trefethen completed their final internships at Educare Central Maine. They worked in an inclusive classroom under the mentorship of Tiffany Trahan, a UMF graduate who majored in Early Childhood Special Education. Educare Central Maine is part of a nationwide movement led by the Buffet Early Childhood Fund, the Ounce of Prevention Fund, and public-private community partners to provide inclusive, state-of-the-art services for young children (birth-to-5) and their families.
In fall 2010, four recent Maine "Teachers of the Year" visited UMF and spent some time with Early Childhood Special Education students. They shared their insights about teaching and students had the opportunity to ask questions, such as "What does a typical [teaching] day look like?" Four of the past six Maine "Teacher of the Year" are UMF graduates.
Our graduates enjoy a high success rate -- 100% of last year's Early Childhood Special Education graduates are employed in positions involving young children and their families. Graduates from prior and subsequent years have also attended nationally recognized universities to earn advanced degrees.
The Early Childhood Special Education Program at UMF is the only one of its kind in the state of Maine. In addition, it qualifies for a New England Regional Program tuition discount for students from certain New England states (eligibility varies by state).
For additional information about Early Childhood Special Education at the University of Maine at Farmington, just contact the Office of Admission:
Office of Admission
University of Maine at Farmington
246 Main Street
Farmington, Maine 04938-1994
US tel 207-778-7050
Intl. tel 00-1-207-778-7050