​​​​Early Childhood

Education Conference

Early Childhood educators play a pivotal role in strengthening parent-child relationships within the context of Autism Spectrum Disorder.  By fostering open communication, offering empathy, and providing resources, educators can serve as viable allies to parents navigating the challenges associated with raising a child with special needs.  Through collaborative efforts, educators and parents can co-create supportive environments that prioritize the child’s holistic development.  By recognizing and addressing the needs of both parents and children, educators contribute to the formation of a resilient community that supports the well-being of all its members.  Ultimately, by strengthening parent-child relationships, educators pave the way for improved academic and social outcomes for children with ASD, creating a more inclusive and supportive educational environment where every child can thrive.  This presentation will be a dialogue about ASD, its impact on the family, and how educators can provide holistic support to families.  We will share observations and information on the identification of children/youth, parental acceptance, the importance of vision and acquiring services that support and fulfill that vision.

Dr. Melissa Duchene-Kelly is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at Bowie State University.  She received her B.S. in Psychology from the University of Central Florida and PhD in Human Development form the University of Maryland, College Park.  She has served in a number of positions in the field of early childhood development including researcher, practitioner, and teacher.  She has co-authored publications regarding children and families and has presented at several professional conferences.  She has also collected data on infant, toddler, and preschool classrooms at a number of child care facilities throughout Washington, D.C.  Additionally, she has facilitated programs at an early childhood center to increase family engagement from those families whose children have a diagnosed disability and/or who are at developmental and/or environmental risk.  Finally, she has led workshops designed to educate practitioners on the importance of quality care, theories of development, and curriculum desig, when working with children in early childhood.

Dr. Abila Tazanu received her B.S. in Microbiology and her Doctorate of Medicine from Howard University in Washington, D.C. Abila is a pediatrician with greater than 20 years of health and community service provision.  She is a mother of five inspiring adult children, three of whom have autism and related co-existing emotional and health concerns.  She serves as Spectrum of Hope’s Lead Medical Guide/Consultant where she pursues her passion for enhancing the lives of living with ASD and related different abilities, while enriching the communities in which we live!

      Core of Knowledge: 2 Clock Hours of Special Needs

Community Matters:  Building Supportive Networks for Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Session 2 & 3 only

Workshop F