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The Carolina Curriculum for Preschoolers with Special Needs (CCPSN), Second Edition

The Carolina Curriculum for Preschoolers with Special Needs (CCPSN), Second Edition

Authors: Nancy M. Johnson-Martin Ph.D., Bonnie J. Hacker M.H.S., OTR/L, Susan M. Attermeier Ph.D., PT

ISBN: 978-1-55766-654-3
Pages: 456
Copyright: 2004
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Spiral-bound $54.95 Qty:

Size:  7.0 x 10.0
Stock Number:  66543
Format:  Spiral-bound
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The Carolina Curriculum for Preschoolers with Special Needs, Second Edition is one of the two volumes of the The Carolina Curriculum, an assessment and intervention program designed for use with young children from birth to five years who have mild to severe disabilities. Developed for use with children from 24 to 60 months, the CCPSN is an easy-to-use, criterion-referenced system that clearly links assessment with intervention and lets professionals work closely with the child's teachers, family members, and other service providers. Already trusted by thousands of early childhood professionals from coast to coast, this proven system is even easier to use with the revisions and updates in this third edition.

View our recorded webinar: The Carolina Curriculum: An Integrated System for Assessment and Intervention presented by Susan Attermeier.

Using The Carolina Curriculum is simple. In each of the age-specific volumes—now reorganized to establish a seamless transition between the two—all the areas to be assessed are clearly laid out in logical sequences in an Assessment Log. A professional observes the child playing with familiar toys and other available materials in a naturalistic environment, and caregivers may or may not participate. After all appropriate activities in each sequence have been observed or attempted, professionals and caregivers examine the strengths and weaknesses revealed during assessment, pinpoint items that need the most work, and select from the teaching activities that correspond to the items in each sequence of the Assessment Log.

CCPSN includes 22 logical teaching sequences, covering five developmental areas: personal-social, cognition, communication, fine motor, and gross motor. Curricular sequences each consist of an introduction that explains why that sequence is important; suggested adaptations for children with visual, motor, and hearing impairments; and a list of behaviors associated with that sequence. For each behavior, users get a criterion that pinpoints the objective, a list of suggested materials for eliciting that behavior, procedures that help, and functional activities for encouraging that behavior within the child's daily routine. This volume targets more advanced, age-appropriate behaviors and includes suggestions for group activities appropriate for preschools or child care centers.

This book is part of The Carolina Curriculum, a bestselling assessment and intervention program designed for children birth to five with mild to severe disabilities. With this easy-to-use, criterion-referenced system, professionals who work with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers will closely link assessment with intervention and work effectively with the child's teachers, family members, and other service providers.

Learn more about The Carolina Curriculum.

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Review by: Michelle Isaacs, Early Intervention Service Coordinator, CDSA of the Blue Ridge, NC
"Very helpful to me as an early intervention service coordinator. I have used the training I received and the manual to assist families in developing and completing IFSP outcomes for families, and used this as a monitoring piece for parents to see how their child is making progress."
Review by: Lee Rouse, Senior Psychologist I, New Bern, NC
"I find [Carolina Curriculum] very helpful when I want a more in-depth curriculum-oriented assessment than standardized testing can provide. I also sometimes go directly to the intervention activities when I need ideas for IFSP Outcome activities."
About the Authors
  1. Introduction
  2. Guiding Learning: Principles and Suggestions
  3. Environmental Factors Influencing Learning, Development, and Emergent Literacy
  4. Using The Carolina Curriculum
Assessment Log
Developmental Progress Chart

Curriculum Sequences
Sequence 1 Self-Regulation & Responsibility
Sequence 2 Interpersonal Skills
Sequence 3 Self-Concept
Sequence 4-I Self-Help: Eating
Sequence 4-II Self-Help: Dressing
Sequence 4-III Self-Help: Grooming
Sequence 4-IV Self-Help: Toileting

Sequence 5 Attention & Memory: Visual/Spatial
Sequence 6-I Visual Perception: Blocks & Puzzles
Sequence 6-II Visual Perception: Matching & Sorting
Sequence 7 Functional Use of Objects & Symbolic Play
Sequence 8 Problem Solving/Reasoning
Sequence 9 Number Concepts

Sequence 10 Concepts/Vocabulary: Receptive
Sequence 11 Concepts/Vocabulary: Expressive
Sequence 12 Attention & Memory: Auditory

Sequence 13 Verbal Comprehension
Sequence 14 Conversation Skills
Sequence 15 Grammatical Structure
Sequence 16 Imitation: Vocal

Fine Motor
Sequence 17 Imitation: Motor
Sequence 18 Grasp & Manipulation
Sequence 19 Bilateral Skills
Sequence 20 Tool Use
Sequence 21 Visual-Motor Skills

Gross Motor
Sequence 22-I Upright: Posture & Locomotion
Sequence 22-II Upright: Balance
Sequence 22-III Upright: Ball Play
Sequence 22-IV Upright: Outdoor Play

Appendix A: Selected Impairments and Their Effects on Development
Appendix B: Play and Children with Motor Impairments
Appendix C: Object Boards as Aids for Teaching Children with Severe Motor Impairments
Appendix D: Resources and Recommended Readings

Excerpted from the Introduction of The Carolina Curriculum for Preschoolers with Special Needs, Second Edition
By Nancy M. Johnson-Martin, Ph.D., Susan M. Attermeier, Ph.D., P.T., and Bonnie Hacker, M.H.S., O.T.R./L.
©2004. Brookes Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

The first edition of The Carolina Curriculum for Preschoolers with Special Needs (CCPSN; Johnson-Martin, Attermeier, & Hacker, 1990) was an outgrowth of a federally funded "demonstration project" designed to facilitate the inclusion of preschoolers with special needs with typically developing children in community child care centers by providing consultation and developing screening and intervention materials. In the 1980s, most states had not yet established programs for identifying preschool children with special needs or for providing appropriate education for them. Other than Head Start, few public preschools existed for typically developing children, making it difficult to find space and teachers to serve those with special needs. Some states considered serving children with special needs in private child care centers or preschools by providing assistance to those centers; however, neither the child care providers nor the preschool teachers had been trained to work with children with significant impairments. Furthermore, although there were many excellent programs for training preschool teachers, relatively few programs had a special education component. Likewise, while there were many curriculum guides for teaching typically developing preschoolers, there were few curricular materials for children with special needs.

Against this background, the first edition of the CCPSN was developed as a guide for teachers and interventionists as they assessed the skills of a preschool child with special needs and planned the individualized educational program (IEP) required under federal and state guidelines developed following passage of the Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments of 1986 (PL 99-457). The first edition included skills children typically develop between the ages of 2 and 5 years. Because some children would have sufficiently atypical developmental patterns that would make it difficult for them to work through most preschool curricula, we chose to follow the format of The Carolina Curriculum for Handicapped Infants and Infants at Risk (CCHI; Johnson-Martin, Jens, Attermeier, & Hacker, 1986). The CCHI was designed for children from birth to 2 years, and many interventionists found it useful for accommodating the needs of both the children whose development was markedly atypical and those whose development was delayed but followed a typical pattern.

There have been many changes since 1990 in the services available to preschool children with special needs. Many universities provide education and training for teachers who will serve young children with special needs. All of the 50 states now have programs in place for identifying and serving these children, although there continue to be many unidentified children and many identified children who are underserved. There continues to be a need for criterion-referenced assessments and for intervention materials that accommodate a wide variety of developmental problems.

One of the continuing problems facing those who work with children with special needs is that there are a number of children of preschool age whose development in one or more areas falls within the range usually included in infant curricula rather than in preschool curricula. To deal with this issue, the CCHI was revised in 1991 as The Carolina Curriculum for Infants and Toddlers with Special Needs (CCITSN; Johnson-Martin, Jens, Attermeier, & Hacker). The CCITSN provided a chart to facilitate the assessment of children whose skills spanned the infant and toddler curriculum and the preschool curriculum; however, many of those relying on the two curricula to address the scattered skills of preschool children have reported difficulty moving smoothly from one curriculum to the other because of how differently they were organized.

This revision of the CCPSN and the concurrent revision of the CCITSN have been designed to provide a comprehensive guide for working with children who have special needs functioning in the birth to 60-month range. The organization of the two curricula is consistent throughout. The infant and toddler curriculum now covers developmental skills from birth to 36 months, whereas the preschool curriculum covers skills from 24 to 60 months. The sequence and the item names are identical in both volumes for the 24- to 36-month range so that interventionists can move smoothly from one curriculum to the other.


The CCPSN, like the CCITSN, links assessment to intervention through hierarchies of developmental tasks that are relevant to what children normally do with their caregivers and teachers and are pertinent to long-term adaptation. Having each item on the assessment tool linked directly to a curriculum item that describes procedures for teaching the assessed skill provides a framework for moving smoothly from assessment to intervention. Use of curricular activities that are both relevant to typical routines for young children and pertinent to long-term adaptation is an approach described as "authentic" by Bagnato, Neisworth, and Munson (1997). That is, the intervention is integrated in a meaningful way into the child's life. This edition includes the following characteristics:

  1. The curriculum is based on typical sequences of development but does not assume that a child will develop at the same rate across domains or even within one domain (e.g., a child may exhibit typical cognitive development along with very delayed motor development or a child may have age-appropriate grammatical structures but have significantly delayed vocabulary). Thus, the curriculum is designed for you to use both with the child who is developing slowly but in a typical pattern and with the child whose pattern of development is markedly atypical due to one or more impairments.
  2. The curriculum approaches atypical development in two ways. First, the items in each developmental domain are subdivided into logical teaching sequences (i.e., a sequence in which item order is primarily determined by how one skill builds on another, not only by the mean age levels at which typical children learn the skills). Second, general modifications of the items in each developmental domain are suggested so that you can accommodate a child's particular sensory or motor limitations. Thus, a child with severely delayed motor abilities but potentially average cognitive skills is not held up in progressing through the cognitive domain because he or she cannot do items that require typical motor skills.
  3. The curriculum is based on the recognition that many young children with serious impairments will never develop typically in spite of intervention efforts. Thus, in treating these children, you must consider teaching atypical but highly adaptive skills that may temporarily or permanently replace typical skills. For example, should a child be unable to talk but have adequate motor skills, it is appropriate for you to teach signing as a means of communication until speech becomes effective. Should the child be unable to talk because of severe physical problems, it is appropriate to teach eye gaze, pointing, or another indicator response that will allow him or her to make choices, communicate wishes, and eventually use an electronic communication device.
  4. The curriculum is developmental, with items drawn from standard developmental assessment tools, clinical experience, and the research literature read by the authors, but behavioral theory and methodology underlie item construction. There is also a strong emphasis on developing adaptive functional skills, even if these are not necessarily typical (e.g., moving by scooting on one's buttocks or using a scooter board when crawling would be typical but is not functional).

The CCPSN has been designed to provide a systematic approach for developing intervention plans for children with special needs who are functioning within the 24- to 60-month developmental range. In this curriculum, you will find

  • A criterion-referenced assessment for determining the child's mastery of important social, cognitive, language, motor, and adaptive skills
  • Suggestions for selecting educational objectives from the assessment
  • Guidelines for developing activities for the IEP (or for the individualized family service program [IFSP]) that incorporate the educational objectives