What We Do
MAC provides direct services to infants and toddlers and their families. We combine direct services with the collection of data on a variety of research questions concerning evaluation instruments and child development. We emphasize the use of music, art, dance and related areas to further bonding and attachment, language development, gross and fine motor development, initiation, engagement, and reciprocity. Parents are trained in early childhood development, the unique needs of their child, and their rights under Part C of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.
Yearly center-based programs for infants and toddlers are created from the research results of the prior year. In addition, playgroups of no more than four children per group are available depending on the appropriate mix of ages, development and goodness-of-fit. MAC also provides consultation to public and private schools, agencies, and organizations through the following services:
- Inservice Training – Connections between neuroscience, education, and law are presented through interactive role-playing. Sessions are videotaped and remain the property of the site for future training purposes.
- Master teaching- MAC staff is available to teach classes of pre-K- age 7 children with a variety of special needs, as well as Inclusion classes. One day of observation is required, as well as the consent of the classroom teacher in addition to administration. Lesson plans are developed and become the property of the school/agency/organization. The master teacher is videotaped implementing this lesson, the tape critiqued by (1) the building principal and the classroom teacher and (2) the entire teaching staff. The videotape remains on site.
- Parent training classes- Programs are developed for specific non-profit populations and become the property of those programs. Topics include child development, special education law, IFSP/IEP development, and Parenting the special needs child.
NOTE: All school/agency/ organization consultations and staff development are on a fee for services basis. For more information contact MAC at 201-692-7908.
MAC provides individualized consultation to parents and caregivers in the following areas:
- Explanation and discussion about the concept of developmental delays
- Legal rights and responsibilities of parents and children needing early intervention
- Parent/caregiver as lead teacher
- Sibling difficulties involving the infant or toddler with a disability
- Accessing publicly funded early intervention services
- Available support systems for mothers, fathers and caregivers
EARLY INTERVENTION EVALUATIONS
MAC does not provide traditional early intervention evaluations, specializing in assessing an infant or toddler’s response to music and music related activities in its ongoing research study. MAC can, upon request, conduct functional, behavioral, play-based assessments that result in a written report. It must be noted, however, that these are done on a limited basis due to the workload of the Center. For parents new to early intervention, MAC will:
- Refer to the county agency for evaluations at no cost to the parent
- Make recommendations as to specific evaluations needed in order to develop a comprehensive early intervention program
- Review records and reports relative to completeness of assessment
- Assist the parent in understanding the ranges of typical childhood development
Direct instruction available at MAC falls into four categories. They are:
- Therapeutic day care AM program
- 1-1 therapies, instruction, 2-1 play groups PM
- Therapeutic Day Care, one-half day, of no more than five children, with two licensed special educators and an assistant.
- Parent training in two forms:
- Training in carrying over the techniques and methods at MAC into the home setting. A minimum of three home visits is included.
- Monthly parent training classes in special education law, with emphasis on ages 0-5.
MAC engages in advocacy activities only when they are of a systemic nature and may set precedent for improvement of early intervention and preschool issues.
- MAC sponsored the first early intervention due process hearing at the Office of Administrative Law in New Jersey and represented the Petitioner in T.D. v. NJEIS. This was the first case to be heard before an administrative law judge, and the first to utilize all of the protections of due process, including discovery rights. It involved failure of the State to provide the parent with an understanding of her rights, challenged the refusal to honor stay-put, and sought reimbursement as a result of a flawed parent payment system. The post-hearing brief is provided which gives the history of early intervention and the facts of this case. It has been used by several other parents as their template when engaged in EI due process. (brief link)
- Central Directory Dispute. IDEA, Part C, addresses all requirements to be met in early intervention. One of these is the State’s development of a Central Directory of public and private early intervention services, resources and experts in the state, as well as demonstration projects and parent support groups to be provided to families. MAC was the only group in New Jersey having all of these within one organization but was deleted entirely from the State’s Directory. Communications that follow provide a history of MAC’s efforts to be included in that directory. It is to be noted that none of the actual questions raised were answered by either the federal or state government. MAC chose not to litigate this issue, spending its resources on providing services to children rather than to lawyers to litigate this issue. The importance of the Central Directory dispute, however, remains as an example of a closed system to the most vulnerable families at a time they need expert advice and services the most. (Include all correspondence under this explanation.)
MAC provides specific help for parents in going from the early intervention (EI) system to the special education system, an area frequently misunderstood both by parents and public school districts. EI is not special education. States can chose which part of government administers the EI system for ages 0-2. In some the Department of Education supervises and administers it, while in others, such as New Jersey, the responsibility belongs to the Department of Human Services. However, at age 2 ½ the transition process from early intervention to special education begins for the child, placing the responsibility for evaluation and services exclusively on the Department of Education of the state, and upon the local school district of the child’s residence.
When parents begin this transition process for their child, most do not understand the basics of special education.
- Placement recommendations cannot be done correctly without comprehensive evaluations at no cost to parents.
- Parents have the right to receive a copy of those reports well in advance of the IEP meeting, usually 10 days before.
- If they are in disagreement with the findings of any of the reports, they have the right to independent evaluations without cost to themselves.
- The parents are equal partners in the special education process. This can be very intimidating for any parent, but is particularly overwhelming for those from other countries, cultures and languages. It is vital that they receive the reports in their native language if possible, or have them explained in a manner that they understand the contents and recommendations.
- The Eligibility Meeting- Once the evaluations are completed, the school invites the parents to a meeting called the Eligibility Meeting. This means that there will be a discussion about the reports and whether or not the child has a disability that requires special education. If there is agreement that the child requires special education, he/she is “eligible” to receive special education services.
THE LAW IS CLEAR. THERE IS NEVER TO BE A DISCUSSION OF PLACEMENT UNTIL AFTER ELIGIBILITY, WHEN GOALS, OBJECTIVES AND RELATED SERVICES OF THE IEP ARE DEVELOPED AND WRITTEN DOWN.
- IEP Development- (Individualized Education Program) The school and parents discuss and agree upon the areas of need that requires special education, as well as the therapies that are needed. They must also agree on the present levels of functioning and the nature of the child’s disability. Parental signatures are required on this IEP before it can be implemented. This means that they agree with everything that is written on the IEP. They are NEVER to sign a blank IEP form.
- Placement- This is the classroom and school able to implement the IEP. Considerations of peer group and of remaining within the community are key factors. However, the controlling issue is the ability to implement all of the IEP as written.
MAC provides assistance to parents having difficulty with this transition on a fee for service basis
MAC Original Research
MAC is both a direct service center for young children as well as a research center. Our original research papers appear below. All work is funded by MAC, with donations made from public and private organizations. The goal in every study is to examine mechanisms that underlie certain developmental strengths and weaknesses in the population selected. Much of the work involves the use of six musical elements, with an emphasis on rhythm, as well as play-based intervention, and sensory integration activities and methods to address problems in self-regulation. In addition, a year- long curriculum has been developed based upon these methods and approaches. See: