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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

Promoting cultural understanding through the dialogue of dance

Student and Yazidi participants inspect part of the “Unquiet Harmony: The Subject of Displacement” exhibit at the Sheldon Museum of Art.
Student and Yazidi participants inspect part of the “Unquiet Harmony: The Subject of Displacement” exhibit at the Sheldon Museum of Art. See photo gallery.

While constantly evolving technology such as the internet, smartphones and social media have connected the world like never before, various polls and surveys reveal that many people feel more isolated than ever.

In many ways, society has become polarized in recent years. For educators, the growing challenge is to find effective ways to ensure their schools are places where all students’ voices are heard and welcomed. Full Article

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

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

Study examines STEM pathways in the community college

Elvira Abrica, assistant professor of educational leadership and higher education, is examining institutional factors within community colleges that affect students from underrepresented and underserved populations who wish to transfer to four-year institutions in STEM fields.
Elvira Abrica, assistant professor of educational leadership and higher education, is examining institutional factors within community colleges that affect students from underrepresented and underserved populations who wish to transfer to four-year institutions in STEM fields.

As demand increases for a growing workforce in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, the nation’s colleges and universities strive to recruit and retain students from diverse backgrounds.

Open-access institutions, including community colleges, enroll the majority of U.S. college students and play a crucial role in increasing the number of graduates with STEM degrees. Full Article