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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

Boosting children’s resilience in the face of socioeconomic risk

Hannah Kerby, doctoral candidate in school psychology, is exploring how children’s social-emotional skills are influenced by their residential neighborhoods. Learn more in the CYFS Research Network.

Children who possess strong social-emotional skills in elementary school tend to experience academic and personal success. Children lacking those skills, however, often experience adverse outcomes — both short- and long-term.

To improve outcomes for children, it is crucial to understand factors associated with positive social-emotional development. 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

Coaching model aims to enhance services for Nebraska infants, toddlers

Lisa Knoche, CYFS co-director, is leading a project to explore ways to enhance coaching of state early intervention personnel who work with infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. Learn more in the CYFS Research Network.

In the United States, almost 400,000 infants and toddlers who are not developing typically receive services through the federal Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities.

Because these children and their families rely on early intervention services for optimal developmental outcomes, evidence-based solutions are crucial. Full Article

Interdisciplinary study leverages technology to assess preschool teachers’ resilience

Nebraska researchers are working on ways to better understand the processes that enable preschool teachers to remain healthy and resilient — and to contribute to the positive development of children in their care. Learn more in the CYFS Research Network.

In a typical preschool classroom with as many as two-dozen children, there are bound to be times of elevated stress for the teacher — and sometimes the students.

Along with meeting the needs of several children, teachers juggle many emotional and physical demands in their daily work, often with limited resources. Following an early childhood curriculum or philosophy, engaging families, maintaining a safe environment and dealing with interpersonal conflicts are just some of their daily classroom tasks. Full Article

Project VIEW aims to sharpen writing instruction for the visually impaired

Using a Braille writing machine, a student writes a paper at the Nebraska Center for the Education of Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired in Nebraska City.
Using a Braille writing machine, a student writes a paper at the Nebraska Center for the Education of Children who are Blind or Visually Impaired in Nebraska City. See gallery.

Nebraska researchers are exploring ways to better understand how students with visual impairments are being taught to write, and how that instruction can be enhanced and tailored to each individual student’s needs.

Michael Hebert, associate professor of special education and communication disorders, and Mackenzie Savaiano, assistant professor of practice of special education and communication disorders, are the principal investigators in Project VIEW — Visual Impairments Education in Writing. The four-year study focuses on identifying factors that influence teachers’ writing instruction practices in an effort to improve outcomes among visually impaired students. Full Article

Brain imaging brings predictors for cochlear implantation success into focus

From left, Randa Ismail adjusts an fNIRS cap on Grace Oh.
From left, Randa Ismail adjusts an fNIRS cap on Grace Oh. Learn more in the CYFS Research Network.

For someone with hearing loss, a successful cochlear implant can change their world.

But because results vary among implant recipients, it is crucial to determine strong candidates for whom an implant will likely be successful.

A cochlear implant (CI) is a complex electronic device that can effectively restore hearing in individuals with severe to profound hearing loss. While the CI does not restore normal hearing and differs from hearing aids, which amplify sounds, it does provide a useful representation of sounds by directly stimulating the auditory nerve. The CI’s success depends on how well the auditory nerve functions. Full Article