Waisman Center–Birth To 3 Program
Southeastern Wisconsin Region
RESource Southeastern Regional Office
2239 South Layton Blvd.
Milwaukee, WI 53215
Tel: (414) 671-1220
Fax: (414) 671-1221
Background & Interests:
Ms. Vélez comes to the Birth to 3 RESource Project with a variety of education and experience that has supported her work with both typically developing and exceptional children and their families. Her education includes a Master of Science in Early Childhood Exceptional Education with an emphasis on Early Childhood Exceptional Education as it relates to Cultural and Linguistic diversity, 24 graduate hours towards completion of a Master of Science degree in Educational Diagnostics, and finally, a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Language Pathology. Her work experience includes several years with an early intervention agency providing services to infants/toddlers with special needs and their families. Through this experience Melissa was able to design, develop, and manage parent/child programs that utilized parents as primary educators, infant massage, assistive technology, and parent support; design and develop philosophy and strategies for serving exceptional children in conjunction with their typically developing peers in natural environments, and design and develop transition programs for children exiting early childhood intervention. Melissa has also served in dual roles as a provider and service coordinator in a model that focused on primary relationships with families and children. She has also served as a trainer and conference lecturer in both the United States and in Mexico on various topics around early childhood exceptional education. Melissa is fully bilingual in Spanish.
Melissa is also employed by CESA 5 as an Infant/Toddler Program Specialist through the Great Lakes Head Start Quality Network where she provides training and technical assistance for Early Head Start and Head Start programs in the southeastern corridor of WI. Through this work Melissa has gained great skill and expertise in family-centered practices, organizational development, strategic planning and ongoing planning, systems and elements of reflective practice. Through this work Melissa has also been highly active nationally and locally through professional conferences supporting work with infants and toddlers and their families. Some of these events have been specifically targeted to Spanish-speaking providers.
Melissa's additional experience includes work in psychiatric rehabilitation and work in an urban Head Start Program for several years where she had the opportunity to work closely with children and their families as well as with training teachers and the larger community. She also served as a bilingual CDA advisor and EC 1 & 2 instructor.