Recent News


Support STEP, Inc. by Shopping at Kroger

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Tools to Support Preschool Learning

New resources focus on technology integration, emergent bilingual learners.  

Early childhood educators looking for ways to develop a supportive learning environment for children who are emergent bilingual (or dual language) learners, while also seeking to meaningfully integrate technology tools into their programs, now have two new EDC resources. Both resources were funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  

Supporting Emergent Bilingual Children in Early Learning and Integrating Technology into Early Learning draw on current research into how children learn, giving educators promising practices for supporting the diverse needs of young learners. These resources also provide easy-to-use classroom checklists to aid educators in effectively implementing these practices. The resources, available in Spanish, Chinese, and English, are applicable to all early childhood professionals, working in all types of learning environments, with young children from all backgrounds.

Want to know more? Click here or Follow the hashtag #EarlyEdTools on Twitter for ideas and to connect with other early childhood educators or contact Heather Sherwood.

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What Is Early Childhood Development? A Guide to the Science

Healthy development in the early years of life provides the building blocks for lifelong health, educational achievement, and responsible adulthood. What can we do during this incredibly important period to ensure that children have a strong foundation for future development? 

This multi-part guide explains the science of how children develop in their earliest years. Using videos, research briefs, infographics, games, and other tools, this set of materials is organized in sections to respond to three questions: 1) Why is early childhood important? 2) How does early childhood development happen? And 3) What can we do to support child development?

Enjoy these online resources at

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Submit Your Nomination for 2019 STEP's Advocate of the Year Awards

STEP, Inc. (Support and Training for Exceptional Parents) is accepting nominations for the 2019 Advocate of the Year Awards.

Each year STEP, Inc. recognizes extraordinary advocates across Tennessee who has made significant contributions to the lives of children and youth with disabilities.  Award winners will be honored at the 2019 TN Disability MegaConference Annual Awards Banquet on May 22th in Nashville.

Wayne Parker Advocate of the Year Award

This award is given to a person who has exemplified using information to assist their own child or someone else’s child with a disability to receive a free appropriate public education. A person who demonstrate teamwork and collaboration and the zeal to share the information they have learned with others. Nominees may be a parent of a child with a disability, an advocate that works with families, a teacher who has been exemplary in the life of a student with a disability, or a service provider who has bridged the gap for a student or their family to assist in receiving a free appropriate public education.

Click here for online nomination form or Click here to download and print the nomination form.

Wesley Rice Youth Advocate of the Year Award

This award is given to a youth with a disability between the ages of 15 and 26 who is a strong self-advocate at school, home or in the community. Nominee must demonstrate leadership by speaking up for themselves and others and is positive role model for young people with disabilities.  

Click here for online nomination form or Click here to download and print the youth nomination form.

Scotty Finney Self-Advocate of the Year

This award honors a person who has embodied the positive character traits of being a strong self-advocate by accepting responsibility, speaking up for themselves and others, and above all, leading by example. The Scott Finney Self-Advocate of the Year Award is named after a man who has dedicated his life to leading by example.

Click here for online nomination form or Click Here to download and print the Self Advocate nomination form.

Please submit your nominations via email to:

Include in the subject line:  Nominee for Advocate of the Year Award

  • Nomination form
  • Photo of nominee (jpg format)

Deadline for nominations is April 30, 2018.  

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Annual Schools and Camps Issue of EP Magazine

The Annual Schools and Camps Issue of EP Magazine is out.Highlights include:

?? The Dignity of Risk: Going to College

?? Getting Your Child Un-Stuck from Anxiety

?? Life Skills from a Mobile Coffee Cart

Click here to read

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TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update

The latest TEIS (TN Early Intervention System) Update is out from the Tennessee Education Association.

In this issue:

?? Parent Testimonial: What’s not to love about TEIS? by Stephanie Phillips

?? Updated Diagnosis List

?? Regional Resource Highlight: Isaiah 117 House

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Empower TN, STEP, & The TN Council on Developmental Disabilities Announce Summer 2019 Youth Leadership Academy

Fermina is Proud!

Empower TN, STEP, and the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities invite young people between the ages of 16 and 24 to apply to participate in the "I Am More Than..." Youth Leadership Academy to be held in Nashville TN on July 17 and 18, 2019.

Participants will learn about:
  • Speaking up for Yourself
  • Getting Comfortable with Who You Are
  • Working Toward Independence
  • And more...

All while having fun!

This program will be offered at no cost to participants. 

Application deadline has been extended to May 15, 2019!

For online registration please click here.

For a paper application please click here to download a PDF copy or email or call Lisa Gosnell of STEP at 800.280.7837.

Questions about the program? Please call Paul Choquette of EMPOWER TN at 615.515.8612. 

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Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities Update

The latest update is out from the Tennessee Council on Developmental Disabilities.

In this issue:

  • TN Disability MegaConference Registration Now Open
  • The Arc TN Special Education Community Conversation on March 5 in Nashville
  • Opportunities for Input
  • TennesseeWorks Blog Spotlights Partners in Policymaking

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TNDOE Releases IEA (Individualized Education Account) Program Info Videos

Looking for more information about the IEA Program? Check out these short informational videos posted on the TNDOE IEA webpage

For more detailed information about the IEA Program, watch the IEA Parent Information Session Webinar, read answers to frequently asked questions, read the IEA Parent Handbook, or review the other resources on the TNDOE IEA webpage.

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Your Voice is Needed: Perspective on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Survey

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center is currently seeking families of individuals with complex communication needs to complete a survey on communication systems and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) services.

The goal is to gather information that will help improve the awareness of AAC services, AAC implementation strategies, and barriers of accessibility of communication systems and services.

This survey will take approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. However, because your participation is voluntary, you are free to withdraw from this survey at any time.

Copy the link below into your web browser:

At the end of this survey, you will have the option to be entered in a drawing to win one of several $20 gift cards.

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