We’re All Disseminators: Why This Info is Relevant to You

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Close up of a gold megaphone.

Here’s your megaphone.

January 2011

Who’s a disseminator, and who’s not? If you’re wondering whether the info in this special area of NICHCY’s website is relevant to you, then it probably is.

From our point of view as the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities, we all are disseminators in one way or another, to one degree or another. Sharing information with others makes you a disseminator. Having the possibility of sharing information with others (and we all do have that possibility) makes you a potential, waiting-in-the-wings, about-to-happen disseminator.

Individuals as Disseminators

You don’t have to share info far and wide to consider yourself a disseminator. Here are some examples of how we, acting as individuals, can share information with each other in order to help a child with a disability or someone involved in caring for a child.

If you’re a parent, you can…share an article on your child’s disability with a family member, another parent, or your child’s day care provider, teacher, cub scout leader, tutor, or school team.

If you’re a childcare provider, you can…share information with the child’s family about child development in general and your observations about their child’s development. If there’s cause for concern, you can… share the contact info for your area’s Child Find system, where the child can be evaluated free of charge to see if the child has a developmental delay or disability.

If you’re a teacher, you can….share an article on a child’s disability with another teacher, the parent of that child, or staff at the school who are involved with the child. You can also share our Spanish materials with your Spanish-speaking families or give them the web address of our Spanish website, NICHCY…en español.

If you’re a principal, you can…share info about disabilities or special education law (IDEA) with teachers and staff in the school. You can…arrange for inservice training for teachers on disability-related issues, such as how to participate in IEP meetings, how to involve children with disabilities in the general education curriculum, or how to differentiate instruction to address the needs of diverse learners. You can…simply share NICHCY’s website address and let people explore our site.

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Groups as Disseminators

Many of us work as part of a group to share info with those who need it. For example:

Parent training and information centers (PTIs) share their disability knowledge and connections with families who have a child with a disability.

So do CPRCs, community parent resource centers.

Disability organizations specialize in a specific disability or type of disability, and they sure do share what they know with others.

Agencies at the state or district level have a positive obligation to share info about the agency’s work, what services are available and where, if eligibility criteria exist, and so on. State agencies also are responsible for setting policies and communicating those policies to local offices–here, we’re thinking especially of the State Education Agency and how it communicates important info to local school districts and regional offices, which in turn communicate the info to local schools, organizations, and individuals.

When you’re part of a group that focuses on sharing information with specific target audiences or potential users, dissemination efforts may be much more deliberate and widespread than when you share as an individual. Your group may even have a dissemination plan—to whom you’re going to disseminate info, what type of info you’re going to disseminate, how you’re going to pay for it.

In fact, if you’re working with a group to raise awareness, build knowledge and capacity in others, or respond to people’s questions or concerns, it’s very helpful to have a concrete, written dissemination plan. There’s a lot to know about dissemination and definite ways to evaluate our efforts and improve:

  • how many people we reach,
  • how broadly and diversely we reach, and
  • how on-target we are in sharing info that’s relevant and useful.

If any of these observations ring a bell in your head, because this sounds like what you do, as an individual or in a group, then this special initiative on dissemination is for you.

NICHCY invites you to explore these pages and learn with the rest of us about effective dissemination considerations and practices. We especially invite you to join efforts with others and with the Dissemination CoP to make all of our dissemination work more effective in reaching and helping people involved with infants, toddlers, children, and youth with disabilities.

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Keep Reading about the Dissemination Initiative

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NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resources' Library at http://www.parentcenterhub.org/resources. This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to http://www.parentcenterhub.org.