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NCSER Announces New Grants for Special Education Research

The National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) is investing over $20 million in newly funded special education research grants. The Center received 199 research grant applications across 10 program areas focusing on improving educational outcomes for students with or at risk for disabilities. To see a list of all the new awards by program topic, click here.

Highlighted new awards include:

Researchers to Study Efficacy of Intervention for Children At-Risk for Autism
Early intervention with children with or at risk for autism can promote better long-term outcomes and pre-empt more serious consequences associated with this disorder. Despite the rising prevalence of autism, there is little research about the efficacy of interventions with infants and toddlers who, at this point, have exhibited only some diagnostic symptoms. Dr. Linda Watson and her colleagues at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are assessing the efficacy of an early intervention program called Adaptive Responsive Teaching for improving developmental outcomes and improving symptom severity among 1-year-olds most at risk for autism. 

Researchers to Study Efficacy of Speech Intervention for Children with Down Syndrome
There is a widely held belief that improving speech accuracy will lead to improved speech comprehensibility, yet traditional speech services in schools that focus on speech accuracy have not led to improvements in speech comprehensibility for students with Down Syndrome. Dr. Paul Yoder and his colleagues at Vanderbilt University will test the efficacy of two interventions -- Broad Target Speech Recasts (BTSR) compared to the Easy Does It for Articulation program -- for improving speech comprehensibility of elementary school students with Down Syndrome. BTSR focuses on the speech context through speech recasts (adult repeats words child is attempting to say, providing a model of correct pronunciation, pitch, stress, and intonation). The Easy Does It comparison program emphasizes drill and practice of individual sounds and sound combinations, reflecting typical services provided in school settings.

Positive Behavior Support program to be Adapted for Adjudicated Youth with Disabilities
An estimated 50 percent to 80 percent of incarcerated youth are reported to have educational disabilities or diagnosed mental health conditions. Researchers have argued that facility-wide Positive Behavior Support (PBS) may effectively address the educational, behavioral, safety, and security needs of youth in juvenile justice programs. The National Council on Disability cites PBS as an effective method to address the needs of adjudicated youth in the juvenile justice setting. Dr. Jeffrey Sprague and his colleagues at the University of Oregon and his colleague at Georgia State University will adapt and further develop a facility-wide PBS program for use in juvenile justice settings.

Group to Explore Predictors of Post-School Success for Adolescents with Disabilities
Understanding predictors of post-school success of students with high incidence disabilities is an important and understudied issue in special education. Dr. Jay Rojewski and his colleagues at the University of Georgia will use three national longitudinal datasets to examine the development of career aspirations of adolescents with high incidence disabilities, examine short term transition outcomes for students with and without disabilities, and explore the relationships between specific secondary educational programs and students’ postsecondary education and work.
 

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