Ilene Schwartz, the director of the University of Washington’s Haring Center for Inclusive Education, has been awarded the 2018 Mary McEvoy Service to the Field Award by the Council for Exceptional Children Division for Early Childhood (DEC).

The award, given to a DEC member who has made significant national or international contributions to the field of early childhood special education, will be presented to Schwartz during the organization’s annual meeting in October.

Kathleen Artman Meeker, associate professor of education, said that Schwartz’s research and advocacy have transformed early childhood special education in Washington state and across the country over the past three decades.

“[Schwartz’s] commitment to our field is reflected in her contributions to the evidence-base and knowledge around best practices for young children with disabilities and their families,” Meeker said. “She has a tremendous publication record and has served on countless local, state and national workgroups to push forth good science and best practices to increase and improve learning opportunities for young children with disabilities.

“These efforts do not stop with Ilene, however: she is also committed to training the next generation of scholars and practitioners who will carry on the work. Many of her former advisees have become leaders in research, policy and practice.”

Nancy Rosenberg, director of the UW’s Applied Behavior Analysis program, noted that Schwartz’s development of Project DATA (Developmentally Appropriate Treatment for Autism) at the Haring Center in 1997 created a template for high quality school-based intervention for children with autism that is comprehensive and sustainable.

“Dr. Schwartz’s work on Project DATA set a standard that these children can and should be educated in public schools alongside other children with and without disabilities,” Rosenberg said.

Jen Fung, assistant director of applied research at the Haring Center, said Schwartz has made significant scholarly contributions in the areas of inclusive early learning, applied behavior analysis, early childhood special education and intervention for young children with autism. That work includes designing and studying strategies to improve the learning, social relationships, participation and quality of life of young children with autism and their families.

“She is a passionate advocate for the rights of young children with disabilities—for their rights to access high quality interventions, for their rights to be included in school and their community with their siblings, friends and neighbors, and, most importantly, for the rights of children with disabilities to be seen as children first,” Fung said.


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