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Literacy a lifeline for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Nebraska researchers are developing a detailed literacy profile to identify strengths and weaknesses in reading, writing and cognition skills among students with IDD. Learn more in the CYFS Research Network.

Each year, approximately 7 million U.S. students receive special education services. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, 25% of those students have an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) such as challenges with adaptive functioning, intelligence or conditions such as Down syndrome or autism spectrum disorder. Full Article

Study investigates American atheists’ stigmatization, psychological well-being

Research shows that U.S. atheists frequently experience social stigma from their non-beliefs. Learn more in the CYFS Research Network.

The religiously unaffiliated, including atheists, are the fastest-growing (non)religious population in the United States. But the social stigma associated with atheism leaves this population vulnerable to isolation and poor mental health outcomes.

Dena Abbott, assistant professor of counseling psychology, is using a one-year Research Council grant to investigate the psychological well-being of two groups of atheists — rural-residing and woman-identified atheists — in the context of anti-atheist discrimination in the U.S. Full Article

Project leverages online simulations for real-world civic experience

Evan Choi, associate professor of child, youth and family studies, is leading a pilot project designed to provide civics, entrepreneurship and leadership education to at-risk youth from two of Nebraska’s highest-poverty communities. Learn more in the CYFS Research Network.

Civic knowledge and community engagement is no game. But Nebraska researchers are developing a project that leverages some good, clean online fun to help develop and encourage good citizenship.

Evan Choi, associate professor of child, youth and family studies, is leading a pilot project designed to provide civics, entrepreneurship and leadership education to at-risk youth from two of Nebraska’s highest-poverty communities through an innovative learning program based on interactive online games and simulations. Full Article

Study explores how early language skills predict kindergarten readiness, later reading outcomes

A collaborative, multi-institution project is exploring how prekindergarten children’s early language gains predict their kindergarten readiness and later reading outcomes. Learn more in the CYFS Research Network.

Early language development is considered crucial for children’s school readiness and, ultimately, their reading success. But there are gaps in understanding how to best support children’s language skills during the preschool years, before they enter formal schooling. Full Article

SMILE project aided by COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant

The Self-regulation and Motivation In Learning Environments (SMILE) project, whose funding was supplemented by an ORED COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant, examines children as they transition from second to third grade — and how their self-regulation, motivation and interactions with teachers, parents and peers impact their classroom behavior. Learn more in the CYFS Research Network.

In early 2020, Jenna Finch, assistant professor of psychology, began a pilot project to identify which non-academic factors help predict a successful transition from second grade to third grade.

Third grade presents significant new challenges for students, including the onset of standardized testing, increased behavioral expectations for them to work independently and the transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Full Article

Exploring ways to help those who help others in the wake of natural disasters

Nebraska Extension and community volunteers combine flood relief efforts in spring 2019, after floods ravaged much of the state. (Photo by Jason Wessendorf, Verdigre Eagle) Learn more in the CYFS Research Network.

In March 2019, 81 of Nebraska’s 93 counties were declared states of emergency due to significant flooding and blizzards. Nebraska Extension provided vital assistance to communities during the state’s disaster response and recovery, and continues to offer a lifeline for many struggling to cope. Full Article

CYFS releases 2019-20 Annual Report

View the 2019-20 CYFS Annual Report: Interactive or PDF

In a year unlike any other, CYFS and its diverse partners in research, practice and policy have continued work to impact lives through research that advances learning and development.

The CYFS annual report for the 2020 fiscal year, which ran from July 2019 to June 2020, is now available — highlighting efforts to address social, behavioral and educational challenges facing society, both amid and in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Full Article

Project’s photos give voice to refugee population

A Yazidi woman shows off a large batch of naan, a round, flat, leavened bread. In keeping with cultural traditions, many women share freshly prepared naan with their neighbors, including Americans. (Photo courtesy of Zozan Bashar) Learn more in the CYFS Research Network.

In August 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) attacked Sinjar Province in northwestern Iraq. About 5,000 Yazidi civilians were killed, and the genocide led to the expulsion of thousands more from their ancestral lands. Additionally, thousands of women and girls were abducted. Full Article