I Attended The Division For Early Childhood

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In 2013, I attended the Division for Early Childhood (DEC) Conference in San Francisco. At that time, I was a doctoral student eager to present my dissertation literature review on young children with disabilities (and their families) who have experienced, abuse, neglect and trauma. At the poster session I had the opportunity to speak with many people about the importance of this topic however, one interaction made a lasting impression. One mid-career practitioner approached my poster and asked me to explain what our field can learn from the literature about young children with disabilities who have experienced abuse and neglect. I explained in detail the strong, and admittedly disturbing relationship between young children with disabilities and the likelihood of experiencing abuse as well as the likelihood of young children who experience abuse to develop a disability. After my explanation, the practitioner looked at me and said: “Oh, I don’t think I want to think about this. It’s just too sad. I need to walk away” as she proceeded to walk on to another poster. At that moment, I knew our DEC community had both a responsibility and an obligation to (1) address the needs of young children with disabilities and their families who have experienced abuse, neglect and trauma and (2) support the professionals who work with these children and families.
Below I detail two important reasons why supporting young children with disabilities who have experienced abuse and
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