Division for Early Childhood Recommended Practices

What are the DEC Recommended Practices?
DEC Recommended Practices are a DEC initiative that bridges the gap between research and practice, offering guidance to parents and professionals who work with young children who have or are at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. The Recommended Practices were first developed by DEC in 1991 to provide guidance to the relatively new field of early intervention/early childhood special education. In the late 1990s, work was undertaken to revise the initial set of practices and establish the evidence base for the practices through an extensive review of the literature. Through recent collaborative work with the Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA), the practices have been revised and updated, and a new set of DEC Recommended Practices is now available.

What is the purpose of the DEC Recommended Practices?
The DEC Recommended Practices were developed to provide guidance to practitioners and families about the most effective ways to improve the learning outcomes and promote the development of young children, birth through age 5, who have or are at-risk for developmental delays or disabilities. The purpose is to help bridge the gap between research and practice by highlighting those practices that have been shown to result in better outcomes for young children with disabilities, their families, and the personnel who serve them.

Who uses the DEC Recommended Practices?
The Recommended Practices are intended to be used by individuals working across a variety of early childhood settings providing services to young children who have or at-risk for developmental delays or disabilities. The updated set of practices consists of eight domains: leadership, assessment, environment, family, instruction, interaction, teaming and collaboration, and transition. It is anticipated that the practices also will be helpful for those engaged in both preservice and in-service professional development.

To reference the DEC Recommended Practices, please use the following citation:
Division for Early Childhood. (2014). DEC recommended practices in early intervention/early childhood special education 2014. Retrieved from