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New Special Ed. Research Will Tackle Deaf Students' Literacy Skills

A new round of about $60 million in grants from the National Center for Special Education Research awards researchers working to improve the school experiences of students with autism, ADHD, and who are deaf, among other disabilities.

With a $10 million grant, a new center will be created at Georgia State University to address the literacy skills of students who are deaf and hard of hearing. I only learned since I began writing so much about students with disabilities for Education Week the numbers the new center cited in its grant application: About one in five deaf students graduate high school reading at or below the second grade level; one in three deaf students who graduate have reading skills between the 2nd and 4th grade level.

Some is known about how to improve the literacy skills for these students, but I'll be curious about the center's work. A separate grantee will work to identify school-based interventions associated with academic, social/behavioral, vocational, and functional outcomes for deaf or hard-of-hearing students during and after high school.

Another project will investigate the effectiveness of a program called On the Way Home, an aftercare program for young people with emotional and behavioral disorders or learning disabilities. The yearlong program is intended to help students in residential settings successfully reintegrate into their communities, schools, and homes. I can't find a lot about On the Way Home online, although it appears Boys Town is using the approach.

Researchers at Ohio University in Athens want to find ways to improve the way teachers use daily report cards with students who have ADHD. Their project acknowledges the many demands teachers already have, and will work with students in Florida and Ohio to find ways for teachers to maintain the integrity of the report cards despite their workloads.

Other projects will look at interventions for toddlers with autism, kindergartners struggling with math, and establish a Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

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