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Palma Ceia

First Steps Together
A Collaboration between CARD and Palma Ceia Presbyterian Preschool

In the Spring of 1997, Lise Fox was asked to come to Palma Ceia Presbyterian Preschool (PCPP) to observe a constituent and make suggestions for ways to support him in his engagement and appropriate behavior. That observation was the beginning of a two-year collaboration that has been extremely important to PCPP and CARD.

Nancy Little, the director of PCPP, expressed concern to Lise about her school's ability to appropriately support children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She was most concerned about her staff's ability to include children who have serious problem behavior. Palma Ceia Presbyterian Preschool has a rich history and experience in providing a quality, inclusive early childhood education program to children with disabilities and their typically developing peers. Nancy approached Lise about the possibility of teaming with CARD to ensure that children with autism who were enrolled in PCPP were receiving the best supports possible.

The collaborative entity "First Steps Together" was begun in the Fall of 1997. CARD staff members Lise Fox and Sandi Locklear and PCPP staff formed a collaborative team with a focus on providing positive behavioral support to children with autism spectrum disorder who were enrolled in the school. Lise and Sandi trained PCPP staff in positive behavior support, conducted observations with PCPP staff of children in the classroom, guided PCPP staff through the functional assessment process, and teamed with PCPP staff in the development of behavior support plans. Lise and Sandi coached classroom staff in the implementation of the plan and provided technical assistance to the school on an ongoing basis.

The first year of the collaboration was so successful that the project continued during the 1998-1999 school year. Lise and Nancy shared the successes of the project at the annual conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children held in Toronto, Canada. They used this quote to describe their collaboration:

"Collaborations are defined as organizational and inter-organizational structures where resources, power, and authority are shared and where people are brought together to achieve common goals that could not be accomplished by a single individual or organization independently."
Sharon Kagan, 1991