Adult Sibling Project

In this project, we conducted a national survey with adult siblings of individuals with disabilities, parents of individuals with disabilities, professionals who work with individuals with disabilities and individuals with disabilities. We also conducted focus groups with individuals with disabilities and their siblings. We are now examining the effectiveness of a two-day leadership training for adult siblings of individuals with disabilities. This study is funded by the Pennsylvania Developmental Disabilities Council. (2015-2017)

Meghan Burke, Research Consultant

CHildren in Action: Motor Program for PreschoolerS (CHAMPPS)

CHAMPPS is a newly funded IES project (7/2015-6/2018), the purpose of which is to fully develop a class-wide motor intervention for preschoolers with developmental disabilities. Many of these children have delays in motor development, yet do not engage in structured motor play and physical activities to improve these skills. Enhancing motor development is important in and of itself but fundamental motor skills are also linked to intellectual and social skill development. This grant will focus on the development of an intervention that supports motor development in the context of motor play supported by universal design for learning lessons and physical activities, with the aim of improving children’s motor, social and cognitive development.

Micki Ostrosky, Principal Investigator

Collaborative Care: How Child Care Providers and Early Intervention Providers Support Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities in Child Care

The purpose of this project was to develop our field’s understanding of the current knowledge and experiences of child care and early intervention providers with infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays in child care settings. Specifically, in this project we examined how child care and early intervention programs collaborate to support these young children. Additionally, we identified training needs of child care and early intervention providers to better support infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families in child care settings as well as find and create opportunities to support collaboration between these groups. This study employed a sequential mixed method approach and included both quantitative factor and comparative analysis as well as qualitative thematic analysis. 09/01/2015 – 8/30/2016 (no cost extension to 2017) Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Child and Families.

Amy Santos, Principal Investigator

CS for All: Engaging Struggling Learners in Computer Science Instruction

This NSF funded STEM+C project focuses on foundational research pertaining to making computer science (CS) education academically accessible to elementary and middle school struggling learners, with a focus on students with learning disabilities (i.e., students receiving special education services for learning disabilities; LD) and students at risk for academic failure (i.e., students receiving additional instructional interventions within school-wide Response to Intervention, RtI). The goals of this project are to (1) investigate the challenges that students with learning disabilities and others at risk for academic failure face during CS instruction, and (2) develop interventions to address those challenges based on research-based practices from other content areas. Areas of focus include Universal Design for Learning (UDL), balancing explicit instruction within open-ended CS activities, and encouraging student collaboration. 36 months beginning October 1, 2016.

Maya Israel, Principal Investigator
George Reese and Cinda Heeren, Co-Principal Investigators

Family Behavior Support mobile software application (FBSApp) Project

FBSApp is a federally funded research project in collaboration with Dr. Barton (Vanderbilt University) and Dr. Fettig (University of Massachusetts Boston). The purpose of the project is to develop an app which will be designed for use by parents with young children (ages 2 – 5) with disabilities and challenging behaviors. The FBSApp will use a positive behavior support (PBS)/Pyramid Model framework to guide parents in using empirically supported, functional assessment (FA) based interventions to address their child’s challenging behaviors.

Hedda Meadan-Kaplansky, Principal Investigator

Fathers Lab

Our cross-disciplinary, collaborative research team focuses on conducting research designed to further our field’s understanding of the role of fathers in the lives of their young children with and without disabilities. Through this understanding we seek to develop and identify practices and strategies that early childhood providers can implement to enhance fathers’ involvement and engagement with their children and families.

Amy Santos, Principal Investigator

IEP Quality (IEPQ) Tutorial

The IEP Quality (IEPQ) Tutorial Project is a collaborative effort with – and funded by - the Illinois State Board of Education.  The Tutorial is a web-based decision support tools designed to assist Illinois educators in writing quality Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).  Resources and decision guides include best-practice guidance, examples, downloadable resources and interactive Goal Assistant Tools that guide users through the process of writing IEP goals aligned to state academic and social/emotional learning standards. The project period is July, 2016 through June 2017.

Jim Shriner, Principal Investigator

i-PiCS (Internet-based Parent-Implemented Communication Strategies) Project

i-PiCS is a funded research project that includes long-distance training and coaching via the Internet to parents of young children with autism and other developmental disabilities. The program is designed to teach parents to use evidence-based teaching strategies to improve their child’s social communication skills. The i-PiCS project embedded opportunities for parent to use specific strategies with their own child and provided parents with useful instructional strategies and information through individualized training and coaching sessions.  Project website -  https://sites.google.com/a/illinois.edu/i-pics/

Hedda Meadan, Principal Investigator

Latino Family Advocacy Project

Although many parents struggle to ensure that their children with disabilities receive appropriate educational services, Spanish speaking parents of children with disabilities especially face logistical and attitudinal obstacles in developing strong partnerships with the school as well as retaining needed services. Still further, families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) (versus other types of disabilities) are most likely to encounter conflicts with the school system. Using a randomized control trial, the purpose of this project is to examine the effectiveness of a Latino Parent Leader Support Project (LPLSP) in increasing empowerment, communication with the school, special education knowledge, student progress, quality of the family-school partnership, and satisfaction with services among Spanish-speaking, Latino parents of students with autism. This study is funded by the Organization for Autism Research. Data collection ended in March of 2016; data analysis will continue through 2017 (2015-2017)

Meghan Burke, Principal Investigator

Learning Trajectories for Everyday Computing (LTEC)

This NSF funded STEM+C project focuses on developing and testing prototype learning trajectories (LTs) integrated mathematics and computer science at the elementary grades. This is a collaborative project between the University of Chicago’s STEM Education Center and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign.  This development is taking place through three major activities: (1) synthesis of information about learning goals from K-12 computer science literature and curricula, (2) an analysis of the programming blocks within Scratch (a computer programming environment for young learners), and (3) field testing of integrated mathematics and computing model lessons in classrooms. The goal of this work is to ultimately develop a guide for integrating computational thinking into mathematics instruction in a manner that is accessible and engaging to a broad range of learners. Website: http://everydaycomputing.org/ 2 years beginning January 2016.

Andy Isaacs (U Chicago), Principal Investigator
Maya Israel, George Reese, Cinda Heeren (UIUC), Andrew Binkowski, Katie Rich (U Chicago), Co-Principal Investigators 

Military Family Learning Network (MFLN)

A national professional development training program for family providers serving military families and their young children with or at-risk for disabilities. https://blogs.extension.org/militaryfamilies/family-development/

The Family Development Early Intervention team within the Military Family Learning Network (MFLN) is a newly funded project, which started in 2015 that supports the unique needs of professionals who serve military families and their children with disabilities and developmental delays. While military families may have similar needs as civilian families, they also face unique situations such as extended separations due to deployments, frequent transitions due to moving, and access to adequate services within and outside military installations. Our goal through this project is to begin to address the need to enhance the knowledge and skills of military family service professionals so they in turn, can better support families of young children with disabilities. The focus on social media and on-line learning is a way to provide services to others through the translation of research as we support children, families, and early childhood professionals around the world. 01/01/2015 – to date. U.S. Department of Defense.

Amy Santos, Co-Principal Investigator
Micki Ostrosky, Co-Principal Investigator

Preparing Culturally Responsive Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education Personnel (PCRP)

This federally funded project (2014-2018) supports students interested in attaining a master's degree in early intervention/early childhood special education.  The PCRP Project is congruent with standards, competencies, core content and field-based experiences that are currently required by Illinois’ early intervention (Birth to 3) credentialing system (Dept. of Human Services, Provider Connections) and Illinois’ early childhood education teacher licensure and ECSE Approval (Illinois State Board of Education).   There are 3 options for degree completion.  Students completing Option 3 will be eligible to apply for Illinois’ ESL endorsement.  This project is beginning its first year of funding in 2014. 07/01/2014– 06/30/2018. OSEP/U.S. Department of Education

Mary-alayne Hughes, Principal Investigator

Project BLEND

The project prepares doctoral students in early childhood special education.  Students gain knowledge and skills (a) to provide blended early care and education, early childhood special education and early intervention professional development programs; (b) on current policy contexts surrounding the complex early childhood systems and standards; (d) to address the needs of diverse children, families and early care and education providers through the use and evaluation of evidence-based practice; and (e) to translate research into practice so that others will have access to the best available knowledge presented in practical and user-friendly ways. http://education.illinois.edu/sped/programs/ProjectBLEND . 08/01/2011 – 07/30/2016 (no cost extension). OSEP/U.S. Department of Education

Amy Santos, Principal Investigator

Project Family IMPACT

Project Family IMPACT will prepare doctoral students and post-doctoral scholars to become leaders who understand and can address the modern life-long experiences that families of individuals with disabilities face specific to Individualization, Mobility, Poverty, Adversity, Culture and Trauma (IMPACT).  Project Family IMPACT students and scholars will conduct methodologically rigorous research about and informed by families of individuals with disabilities across the life span, as well as prepare teachers and providers to forge strong relationships with families. http://education.illinois.edu/sped/about-the-department/funding-opportunities/project-family-impact (09/01/2015-8/30/2020) U.S. Department of Education

Amy Santos, Principal Investigator
Hedda Meadan, Co-Principal Investigator
Meghan Burke, Co-Principal Investigator

The Autism Program (TAP)

TAP is a state funded collaborative project between UIUC’s departments of Special Education and Human and Community Development. TAP brings together parents, schools, community agencies, health care providers, and private therapists to enhance services for children with autism and their families in Champaign County. In particular, TAP is a community resource center that offers information, consultation, referral and training.  The Autism Resource Center is located in Christopher Hall, 904 W. Nevada St., Urbana (http://theautismprogram.illinois.edu/).  Contact person:  Linda Tortorelli

The Illinois Early Intervention Training Program (EITP)

A statewide professional development training program for early intervention (birth -3) professionals. Through a comprehensive system of personnel development, the Early Intervention Training Program (EITP) at the University of Illinois provides pre-service and in-service training for early interventionists, including service coordinators, providers, and other stakeholders supporting young children and families in the Illinois Early Intervention System.  This comprehensive system of personnel development is designed to support early intervention personnel in providing supports to families that are aligned with the evidence base, with the overall goal of improving the quality of services and supports offered to infants, toddlers and their families in the Early Intervention (EI) system.  Building and supporting an effective network of early interventionists that have a shared understanding and implementation of the philosophy of early intervention is the goal of EITP.  Many early intervention resources and more information about EITP can be found at http://eitp.education.illinois.edu/. Susan Connor, Program Director. 07/01/2013– 06/30/2018. Illinois Department of Human Services

Amy Santos, Co-Principal Investigator
Micki Ostrosky, Co-Principal Investigator

The Illinois Early Learning Project (IEL)

The Illinois Early Learning Project which is funded by the Illinois State Board of Education, produces and increases access to information and resources useful for increasing school readiness. Its resources are available to families, child care providers, and to early childhood and kindergarten professionals in all settings. The project continues to be successful in reaching diverse audiences around the state and the world with information developed for its Web site and distributed in video and print. The IEL Project provides research-based information on early education and care that has been “repackaged” for easy reading.

The IEL  project has been funded for 12 years and is renewed annually.  Visit the website and drop by Children’s Research Center (CRC; Rm. 12) for tip sheets. http://illinoisearlylearning.org/ Bernie Laumann, Project Coordinator.

Susan Fowler, Principal Investigator

The Early Intervention Clearinghouse

The Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse, a free, state-funded, lending library that identifies and collects research-based and best-practice early intervention and early childhood information to share with families, providers and professionals.  Since arriving at the University of Illinois in August of 2009, the Clearinghouse has expanded the resources available including now offering downloadable eBooks.  In addition to the lending library, the Clearinghouse website offers a variety of valuable information on the Early Intervention program as well as a variety of specific information useful for caregivers of children with special needs.

The library is located at Children’s Research Center (CRC; Rm. 24), 51 Gerty Drive, Champaign and the resources are available to all Illinois residents.   (http://www.eiclearinghouse.org/ei_home.html)  Contact person:  Sarah Isaacs, Head Librarian. June 30, 2017

Susan Fowler, Principal Investigator

The Illinois Early Childhood Asset Map

The IECAM Web site provides a comprehensive picture of early care and education services in Illinois by combining demographic data, such as population, language use, and poverty level, with early childhood program data (Preschool for All, Head Start, other child care). IECAM informs Web site users with guides and reports that explain features found on IECAM; Data Reports that clarify uses and limitations of particular data types; Technical Reports that provide detailed information on data found on the Web site; and Spotlight on Stats that provide a birds-eye view of data related to risk factors for the entire State of Illinois. (http://iecam.crc.uiuc.edu/)  Contact person:  Dr. Dawn Thomas, Project Coordinator. June 30, 2017

Susan Fowler, Principal Investigator

The Illinois Early Learning Project

The Illinois Early Learning Project produces and increases access to information and resources useful for increasing school readiness. Its resources are available to families, child care providers, and to early childhood and kindergarten professionals in all settings. The project continues to be successful in reaching diverse audiences around the state and the world with information developed for its Web site and distributed in video and print. The IEL Project provides research-based information on early education and care that has been “repackaged” for easy reading. 2017 Bernie Laumann, Project Coordinator.

Susan Fowler, Principal Investigator

The Illinois Families and School Success Website

The Illinois Families and School Success Web site provides families and school personnel (PreK- Grade 12) with evidence-based information and resources that focus on family and school engagement. These resources are aligned to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) Family Engagement Framework. The Web site contains videos and webinars that support family/school communication activities. Highlights and examples of successful family engagement practices will be made available as well. The Web site will go “live” in fall, 2017.

Michaelene Ostrosky, Co-Principal Investigator
Bernadette Laumann, Co-Principal Investigator

Volunteer Advocacy Project

In this project, we are examining the effectiveness of a 36-hour advocacy training upon parent empowerment, knowledge, and advocacy skills. This study is funded by a College of Education Hardie Grant. (2016-2017). 

Meghan Burke, Principal Investigator