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Closing the preschool skill gap for disadvantaged children

Rachel Schumacher, fifth-year doctoral student in school psychology, is examining children’s responses to their transitions into school.
Rachel Schumacher, fifth-year doctoral student in school psychology, is examining children’s responses to their transitions into school.

Many children growing up in disadvantage enter school without the requisite social, emotional and behavioral skills to be successful. When those children start off behind, they have a difficult time catching up to more successful students.

Because a child’s early school experiences are predictive of their long-term educational trajectory, starting school socially and behaviorally ready is crucial. Otherwise, long-term detrimental outcomes and widening gaps in academic and social success may follow. Full Article

Children take the reins over ADHD challenges with help from horses

Michelle Howell Smith, CYFS research assistant professor, is exploring the effects of equine-assisted activities on children diagnosed with ADHD.
Michelle Howell Smith, CYFS research assistant professor, is exploring the effects of equine-assisted activities on children diagnosed with ADHD. See photo gallery.

As 12-year-old Joe rides a horse named Indy, his mother watches from the far end of the arena. She smiles as her son interacts with the gentle, giant animal.

Michelle Howell Smith, CYFS research assistant professor, can relate. She has seen the positive effects of equine-assisted therapy with her own daughter, MaKenna, who has autism. Full Article

Partnership approach supports ADHD-diagnosed students one grade at a time

A recent research project explores whether teacher-to-teacher consultation can maintain gains in positive behavior from students with ADHD during their transition from one grade to the next.
A recent research project explores whether teacher-to-teacher consultation can maintain gains in positive behavior from students with ADHD during their transition from one grade to the next.

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is not limited to certain hours of the day. For diagnosed children, the condition is with them every hour of every day, year-round.

And their needs will evolve as they grow older.

Given the chronic and changing nature of ADHD — a neurodevelopmental disorder that makes it difficult to focus and control impulsive behavior — effective treatment must be flexible and consistent throughout the child’s life span, both at home and school. Full Article

Taking a bite out of immigrant dental health misconceptions

Patient Oscar Kaled Gonzales gets a checkup from Nebraska College of Dentistry students Olivia Straka and Maddi McConnaughhay at Lincoln's El Centro de las Americas.
Patient Oscar Kaled Gonzales gets a checkup from Nebraska College of Dentistry students Maddi McConnaughhay and Olivia Straka at Lincoln’s El Centro de las Américas.

Something to chew on: Despite oral disease being mostly preventable, it remains one of the world’s most common illnesses. But for many Latino immigrant families, limited access and high cost make dental services prohibitive.

While studies demonstrate that dental appearance and aesthetics have important implications for positive self-esteem, relationships and employment outcomes, perceptions of dental aesthetics held by immigrant families have not been investigated. Full Article

Project enhances Nebraska STEM access, understanding

Teachers participate in a STEM education class at Henzlik Hall.
Teachers participate in a STEM education class at Henzlik Hall as part of the NebraskaSTEM project for supporting elementary rural leadership.

Recent studies show that 85 percent of the U.S. population has access to 4G — fourth-generation — broadband network technology.

Which means 15 percent of Americans do not.

In Nebraska, the numbers are better: A recent report by Nebraska Broadband indicates broadband is available to 99.5 percent of the state’s residents. Full Article

Examining strategies to enhance the arithmetic-to-algebra transition

Jessica Namkung, assistant professor of special education and communication disorders, is exploring ways to help students with math learning difficulties prepare for algebra.
Jessica Namkung, assistant professor of special education and communication disorders, is exploring ways to help students with math learning difficulties prepare for algebra.

For students struggling to learn math, confusion and frustration can be common denominators. But a recent University of Nebraska research project aims to help remove those negative factors from the equation.

According to previous studies, students with math learning difficulties experience the most severe and persistent underachievement in algebra compared to their peers. Jessica Namkung, assistant professor of special education and communication disorders, is exploring ways to help such students prepare for algebra. Full Article

Community research partnerships highlighted at NAECR Networking event

Community Research Partners panelists at the May 1 NAECR Networking event include, from left, Stephanie Knust, director of Dodge County Head Start; Karla Lester, pediatrician at Omaha's Children's Hospital and Medical Center; and Patty Smith, principal at Fairbury's Central Elementary School.
Community Research Partners panelists at the May 1 NAECR Networking event include, from left, Stephanie Knust, director of Dodge County Head Start; Karla Lester, pediatrician at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha; and Patty Smith, principal at Fairbury’s Central Elementary School. View photo gallery.

Strong partnerships among researchers and community organizations are crucial to enhancing and expanding early childhood research.

More than two-dozen researchers, faculty members and community partners attended the May 1 NAECR Networking event, “Connecting with Community Research Partners,” at the Nebraska Union — in person and via web conferencing — to discuss ways to enhance partnerships between researchers and the various community agencies. Full Article

Video available for Marc Goodrich presentation

Marc Goodrich, assistant professor of special education and communication disorders, leads a March 29 Methodology Applications Series presentation at the Nebraska Union.
Marc Goodrich, assistant professor of special education and communication disorders, leads a March 29 Methodology Applications Series presentation at the Nebraska Union.

Marc Goodrich, assistant professor of special education and communication disorders, led a March 29 presentation in the 2018-19 Methodology Applications Series. His presentation, “Addressing One Research Question Using Multiple Methodological Approaches,” is now available on video. Full Article