Associate professor in Special Education named University Scholar

by the College of Education at Illinois  /   Feb 2, 2018

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The research of Associate Professor Hedda Meadan-Kaplansky and her team in the Department of Special Education focuses on finding innovative ways to enhance the communication skills of children with disabilities who are minimally verbal or nonverbal.

For those efforts, as well as for her strengths in teaching and service, Meadan-Kaplansky was named a University Scholar along with five other Illinois professors. The group was recognized Jan. 31 at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center in Urbana.

I'm very honored to receive this award and plan to use the money to continue our research studies and explore new ways to support children with disabilities and their families."Hedda Meadan-Kaplansky

“This award is an acknowledgment of the importance of our work and the contribution of our research team, the Department of Special Education, and the College of Education to the university and the field,” Meadan-Kaplansky said. “We have made headway, but have much work left to do. I’m very honored to receive this award and plan to use the money to continue our research studies and explore new ways to support children with disabilities and their families.”

Meadan-Kaplansky said families and caregivers play an important role in children’s development and are genuine experts in that realm. To supplement those efforts, the objective of the scholar’s team is to teach and coach caregivers to use evidence-based strategies to promote their children’s development using telehealth and other technologies to reach diverse and underserved families.

“Our goal is to empower caregivers and increase the quality of life for the whole family,” Meadan-Kaplansky said.

Her three-year award will provide a faculty member with bridge funding, as well as money for conference travel and supporting graduate students. Micki Ostrosky, the interim head of Special Education, said being named a University Scholar is one of the top honors an Illinois scholar can receive.

“The fact that recipients must excel in all three areas of research, teaching, and service highlights the fact that these are truly remarkable faculty members,” Ostrosky said.

Read more about the award and view Meadan-Kaplansky’s Illinois peers who were also named University Scholars.