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News from April 2015

Article by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Institute staff among publisher’s five most-accessed for week
April 29, 2015

A recently published article by members of MCPER's Deaf and Hard of Hearing Institute was among the five most-accessed articles for the week on Taylor and Francis Online, which includes a portfolio of more than 1,600 journals. 

"Effect of Parent Involvement and Parent Expectations on Postsecondary Outcomes for Individuals Who Are d/Deaf or Hard of Hearing" by Institute Director Stephanie Cawthon, and researchers Carrie Lou Garberoglio, Jacqueline M. Caemmerer, Mark Bond, and Erica Wendel appears in Volume 23, Issue 2, of Exceptionality: A Special Education Journal. For the week, the article had 119 abstract views and 105 full-text downloads. Taylor and Francis is offering the article for free for a 30-day period.

Tags: Deaf and Hard of Hearing Institute 

MCPER’s Sharon Vaughn among experts interviewed for new publication on learning science and literacy
April 8, 2015

MCPER Executive Director Sharon Vaughn was among a panel of researchers who lent their expertise to a new publication by Intentional Futures and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that explores learning science and its application to literacy education. Learning Science & Literacy: Useful Background for Learning Designers summarizes some core principles of learning science and serves as a precursor to a larger conversation on "improving student outcomes in literacy, particularly when it comes to older students who have already mastered the basics of phonics and decoding" set for a later date. For more information, download Learning Science & Literacy.

MCPER researchers serve as guest editors, contributors to journal’s special issue on math interventions
April 8, 2015

MCPER is well represented in the latest edition of the journal Intervention in School and Clinic—the special issue "Mathematics Interventions: Translating Research Into Practice." 

Mathematics Institute for Learning Disabilities and Difficulties Director Diane Bryant, Fellow Brian R. Bryant, and former Project Manager Kathleen Hughes Pfannenstiel were the guest editors for the special issue. The three also penned the Introduction, in which they write that the purpose of the special issue is to "provide content knowledge about specific mathematics skills and concepts, and evidence-based practices for teaching this content to students who have [a mathematics learning disability] or are struggling with mathematics but may not have an identified mathematics disability." They also offer brief synopses of the five articles in the issue.

Institute Fellow Sarah Powell wrote the article "The Influence of Symbols and Equations on Understanding Mathematical Equivalence," in which she examines the misunderstanding of mathematics symbols, particularly the equal sign, as a "potential contributing factor to lower mathematics performance."

Institute Fellow Barb Dougherty, Diane Bryant, Brian R. Bryant, Pfannenstiel, and two colleagues in Project AIM wrote "Developing Concepts and Generalizations to Build Algebraic Thinking: The Reversibility, Flexibility, and Generalization Approach." This article explores "three types of questions—reversibility, flexibility, and generalizations—[that] support the acquisition of broader concepts leading to algebraic thinking" and provides examples of the question types in relation to rational numbers and integers to help teachers of students with learning disabilities.

Finally, Pfannenstiel, Diane Bryant, Brian R. Bryant, and former Project Coordinator Jennifer Porterfield contributed the article "Cognitive Strategy Instruction for Teaching Word Problems to Primary-Level Struggling Students." In this article, the authors describe Math Scene Investigator, an example of a cognitive strategy suitable for teaching word problem solving to primary-level students with mathematics difficulties and learning disabilities. 

For more information, visit the Intervention in School and Clinic website.

Tags: Mathematics Institute for Learning Disabilities and Difficulties  The Validation of Early Mathematics Interventions Algebra-Readiness Mathematics Intervention for Middle School Students: Project AIM 

Documentary, articles spotlight MCPER researchers’ support of children with autism and their families
April 7, 2015

Several recent features demonstrate the work—and success—of faculty members and students affiliated with the MCPER Autism Spectrum Disorders Institute as they support children with autism and their families, translating research into effective practices that have a direct positive impact on this population.

"Game Changers: Autism and Developmental Disabilities," produced by the Longhorn Network, features the innovative work of Institute Fellows Greg Allen, Terry Falcomata, and Amanda Little. In addition to insights from the researchers, the video features baseline and postintervention footage of a child with autism and his mother.

"A Symbiotic Partnership"—a feature in .edu, the online magazine of the UT Austin College of Education—chronicles the success of the partnership between members of the Autism Spectrum Disorders Institute and Austin Travis County Integral Care. A narrated video documents the journey of a participant in the study, his mother, and the researchers who work with him. The accompanying article features input from Institute Director Mark O'Reilly and doctoral students including MCPER's Cindy Gevarter and Laura Rojeski who receive in-the-field training while providing a vital service for children and families and supporting Austin Travis County Integral Care.

"The Cerebellum Question," an article in .edu, examines Allen's use of magnetic resonance imaging to study the cerebellum's potential role in autism.

"Changing Challenging Behavior: Q&A With Terry Falcomata," another feature in .edu, profiles Falcomata's work in assessing and treating challenging behaviors of children with autism. The article also describes the partnership between Falcomata and his colleagues and the Bluebonnet Trails Autism Program to provide both clinical work with families and research activities. 

For more information, visit the Autism Spectrum Disorders Institute on the MCPER website.

Tags: Autism Spectrum Disorders Institute