Dr. Beckman is a specialist in the area of Infancy and Early Childhood Special Education. She is particularly interested in working with children who are at risk for learning problems due to poverty and lack of educational opportunity. She has been working with children, teachers and schools in developing countries, particularly in Central America, for more than twelve years. In this area, she has been providing training for teachers, administrators and community leaders to improve the quality of education for children in economically impoverished communities. She also works actively to support service-learning opportunities for U.S. students in Central America. A video of Dr. Beckman’s service learning work in El Salvador can be viewed at: http://vimeo.com/21809939.
Another major area of interest is in supporting families of young children with disabilities. Within this area, she has focused on strategies for promoting family well-being and for developing collaborative partnerships with between families and service providers. As part of her interest in families, she has also been interested in community development and on factors that promote the ability of children with disabilities and their families to participate in a wide range of activities within their neighborhoods and communities. She has particular expertise in establishing programs for young children and their families in community settings.
As an internationally known expert in early intervention and early childhood special education, and working with families, Dr. Beckman has edited two books and published more than 80 articles and chapters. She served for 12 years on the State of Maryland’s Interagency Coordinating Council which works directly with the Maryland State Department of Education to coordinate services for infants and toddlers. She has also been involved in international research and training projects related to early intervention in Europe and Central America. She serves on the Board of Directors of a nonprofit organization, International Partners Cassie Stern Memorial, which works extensively in Central America and consults with several other nongovernmental organizations in the region. She has 30 years of experience conducting training as well as in developing, implementing and evaluating projects. Previously, she served on the Executive Board of the Division for Early Childhood, Council for Exceptional Children and was the associate editor of the Journal of Early Intervention for six years. In 2008, Dr. Beckman received the President’s Commission on Disability Diversity Award for her contributions to the lives of people with disabilities. In July, 2012 she received the Mattie J.T. Stepanek Foundation’s “Peace Bringer” Award.
Dr. Beckman holds her Ph.D. in Special Education from the University of North Carolina and her M.A. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Nebraska.