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Research: Family adversity lowers children’s social-emotional skills

Research suggests preschool children with increased exposure to family adversity exhibit lower social-emotional skills than their peers.

Strong social-emotional skills have been found to impact children’s development and later success.

Research also shows children exposed to adverse experiences — maternal depression, poverty, parental substance use, physical abuse and neglect — are at risk for having lower social-emotional functioning compared to their peers. Full Article

TAPP Online brings enhanced support to rural students, families and schools

CYFS researchers are working to identify an effective professional development approach to prepare school-based specialists to implement the Teachers and Parents as Partners (TAPP) intervention to address behavioral challenges presented by rural students. Learn more about this project in the CYFS Research Network.

Research shows rural students are experiencing social-behavioral and mental health challenges at unprecedented rates, placing them at risk for long-term negative outcomes.

With the effectiveness of family-school interventions in addressing social-behavioral and mental health needs at both school and home — especially in rural settings — professional development of rural practitioners is a priority. Full Article

Researchers examine experiences, needs of Nebraska’s special education teachers

Nebraska researchers are exploring which factors influence preparation and retention of special education teachers, including available professional development opportunities. Learn more in the CYFS Research Network.

Throughout the United States, the number of teachers qualified to support students with special needs is declining. In Nebraska, school leaders are concerned the shortage of special education teachers will put these students at risk for compromised learning and growth. Full Article

Prevention program aims to reduce dating violence, problem drinking among LGBTQ+ youth

Nebraska and Colorado researchers are leading development of an online dating violence and problem drinking prevention initiative for LGBTQ+ youth ages 15 to 18. Lean more in the CYFS Research Network.

For sexual minority youth, dating violence and problem drinking are frequently intertwined, often leading to depression and even suicide.

Katie Edwards, associate professor, CYFS and educational psychology, and Heather Littleton, associate professor and director of research operations at the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience at the University of Colorado–Colorado Springs, are developing an online initiative for LGBTQ+ youth ages 15 to 18 to prevent dating violence and alcohol use. The program is the first culturally adapted and affirming program designed specifically for sexual minority youth. Full Article

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