Category Archives: Centers

CEED partners with Reflection Sciences to offer training on Minnesota Executive Function Scale

The Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) has partnered with tech start-up Reflection Sciences to conduct on-site trainings on the Minnesota Executive Function Scale (MEFS) in Minnesota.

The MEFS is a testing app that early educators can use to measure executive function (EF) and early learning readiness in children. It is the only early learning readiness assessment measuring executive function that can be used with children as young as two years old. The MEFS was developed by Institute of Child Development Professors Stephanie Carlson, Ph.D., and Philip Zelazo, Ph.D., who started Reflection Sciences.

“Executive function skills are vital for children’s school readiness and later achievement, and we now have a way to quickly and validly measure EF against national and local norms,” Carlson says. “We are delighted to be collaborating with CEED, the state’s premier training organization for public and private early education providers, to help others learn to use the MEFS in their organizations.”

“Early educators who are looking for new, effective ways to promote children’s learning and social skills will appreciate the ease of using the MEFS,” says Amy Susman-Stillman, Ph.D., a research associate at CEED. “It provides information about children’s development that no other assessment tool does and makes it simpler to understand a child’s individual needs.”

Click here to request a training on the MEFS.

C&I’s Gillian Roehrig appointed President of the Association for Science Teacher Education (ASTE)

Professor Gillian Roehrig has been elected to the prestigious role of President of the Association for Science Teachers Education (ASTE), a non-profit professional organization composed of over 800 members from countries around the globe.

Gillian Roehrig with past ASTE president, Malcolm Butler

The mission of ASTE is to “promote excellence in science teacher education world-wide through scholarship and innovation.” Members include teacher educators, scientists, science coordinators and supervisors, and informal science educators who prepare and provide professional development for teachers of science at all grade levels.

As both a professor of science education and the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, Roehrig’s professional focus is on advancing science teacher education and preparation.

She writes that her “research and teaching interests are centered on understanding how teachers translate national and state standards into their classrooms. Of particular interest is how teachers, from preservice through induction and into the inservice years, implement inquiry-based teaching and how different induction and professional development programs can influence teachers’ knowledge, beliefs, and classroom practices.”

Roehrig’s brings her considerable experience and expertise to help steer ASTE in advancing science education practice and policy through scholarship, collaboration, and innovation in science teacher education.

Learn more about the science teacher education and research programs in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.

 

 

 

 

Learning Technologies “Changing Earth” team tackles second Arctic expedition

The mission: Tackle an ancient path across 137 miles of Arctic wilderness from the north of Iceland to the south. Document stories en route focused on how we find strength and purpose in an increasingly fragile, interconnected, and stressed world. A team of four explorers will travel by ski and snowshoe, pulling all gear, food, and technology in large sleds called pulks. They will visit schools and talk with residents in several Icelandic communities en route, learning about the social, economic, and environmental innovations spawned on this island of fire and ice, and how people adapt and find purpose even amidst constant change.

Modern technologies, including drones and virtual reality, will enable the team to capture the expedition, land, communities, and stories in extraordinary ways, and share their journey online in real time with students, teachers, and the general public. Schools around the world have access to the Changing Earth’s free online learning environment (http://thechangingearth.com) with activities and resources focused on science, technology, geography, and culture. The site includes free collaboration and interaction tools for students, a learning zone for the general public, and a student management system for teachers.

The Changing Earth is an adventure learning series of eight expeditions over four years to remote regions of the Arctic and the Tropics. The Arctic and Tropics are facing some of the most rapid and widespread environmental and sociocultural changes on Earth.

The first Changing Earth expedition, in April 2016, took the team across the far northern end of the Baffin Island in Canada (http://thechangingearth.com/expedition1/). This second expedition will begin in late February 2017 in Akureyri, a small city in northern Iceland. From there, the team will travel out by ski and snowshoe, crossing the island from north to south. In the heart of Iceland, they’ll traverse Sprengisandur, an ancient route between the Hofsjökull and Vatnajökull glaciers – to Landmannalaugar, an area rife with geothermal activity. This journey will take the team across challenging terrain, not easily accessible in winter. Their final destination is the capital city of Reykjavik.

Team leader Aaron Doering (see http://chasingseals.com) is an adventure learning pioneer, professor, and worldwide explorer who has dogsledded and pulked throughout the circumpolar Arctic, ranging from Chukotka, Russia, to Fennoscandia, and around the globe to Greenland, Canada, and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. He holds a close connection to the land, having grown up on a farm in southern Minnesota, and has a passion for educating others about our planet. Doering is a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, and the UMN Institute on the Environment. He has been honored with multiple awards and recognitions, including being a laureate of the Tech Awards (http://www.thetech.org/tech-awards-presented-applied-materials ), which pay tribute to individuals using technology to benefit humanity.

Doering will be accompanied on this journey by three fellow adventurers and education professionals: Chris Ripken, a high school geography teacher recognized for his innovative uses of technology in the classroom; Jeni Henrickson, a creative professional and researcher passionate about getting folks outdoors; and Matthew Whalen, a professional videographer and seasoned outdoorsman.

Doering notes, “In sharing adventures, educational activities, and stories of innovation from real communities around the world, we hope to engage others in discussions about the importance of these fragile regions of the planet, and inspire people to take action and choose to care about their own communities, cultures, and the environment.”

The ultimate mission of the Changing Earth is to help create an environmentally literate and socially engaged generation of learners worldwide who are able to blend traditional and 21st century scientific and cultural knowledge to generate innovative solutions to guide the Earth and its diverse inhabitants into the future.

Join in online at http://thechangingearth.com and follow on Twitter and Instagram using #choose2care. The challenge begins February 24, 2017.

The Changing Earth is a project of the Learning Technologies Media Lab (LTML). LTML is an innovative design and research center located in the College of Education and Human Development’s Centers for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Minnesota. LTML’s mission is to inspire and create opportunities for global collaboration in addressing humanity’s most pressing educational, social, and environmental issues by designing and evaluating innovative technology-mediated solutions for learners, educators, researchers, and organizations worldwide. We are a nonprofit focused on education, educational technology, and education research, and have to date designed and developed more than two dozen free online and mobile tools and learning environments in use by over 15 million learners worldwide.

See Aaron Doering interviewed about this expedition on The Weather Channel.

Learn more about the educational opportunities offered in the Learning Technologies program area in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.

Menninga receives MnAEYC Evelyn House Award

Menninga receives the Evelyn House Award from MnAEYC

Beth Menninga, project coordinator at the Center for Early Education and Development, recently received the Evelyn House Award from the Minnesota Association for the Education of Young Children (MnAEYC).

MnAEYC is a professional association devoted to representing early child care and youth programs across Minnesota. The award honors a current or former MnAEYC member who has made a significant contribution to the lives of young children in Minnesota and to the organization.

Menninga has worked in early childhood education for more than 30 years. In the 1990s, she was statewide coordinator of the Minnesota Infant-Toddler Training Initiative, which increased the quality of infant-toddler care by providing trainers with a high-quality curriculum. Menninga also has created programs, including Words Work! and Numbers Work!, and has co-authored the book, The Thinking Teacher: A Framework for Intentional Teaching in the Early Childhood Classroom (Griffin House, 2016).

“Beth is a longtime member of MnAEYC and has contributed much wisdom to MnAEYC and to the field as a past member of the board,” MnAEYC said. “Most importantly, she sees her work with young children, families and early childhood educators as a commitment to social justice, and has been a tireless advocate, spreading her influence and advancing the field across the state.”

Click here to learn more about Menninga’s work and the award.

Watson presents on reflective supervision research in Zero to Three webinar

Christopher Watson, Ph.D.

Christopher Watson, Ph.D., IMH-E (IV), a research associate at the Center for Early Education and Development, will be featured on ZERO TO THREE’s February Journal Author Spotlight on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, from 12:00-12:45 p.m. EST.

The live interactive spotlight, Next Steps in Reflective Supervision Research, will feature Watson and Sherryl Scott Heller, Ph.D., who will define reflective supervision and reflective consultation, and will present the history and process of building a research base focused on this form of professional development. The two authors also will discuss their research and describe the strategies they employed to create their research tools.

Register here for the webinar.

ICD unveils new online M.A. in applied child and adolescent development

The Institute of Child Development (ICD) has launched an online master’s degree program that will help prepare a new generation of professionals to meet the developmental needs of children in practice and through policy.

The Master’s of Arts (M.A.) in Applied Child and Adolescent Development program aims to equip students with a foundation in development science that can be applied in advocacy, community, and health care settings. Through the program, students will gain knowledge in cognitive and biological development, social and emotional development, research methods and ethics. The program is entirely online, allowing students to learn from where they are.

Students can apply to one of three specialized tracks: infant and early childhood mental health, child life, and individualized studies. Each track incorporates coursework specific to the specialization and requires a field experience internship or fellowship for graduation.  

“Children are our future — the nation’s future. At this critical time, we must ensure that children and adolescents receive the support they need to develop and grow into healthy, thriving adults,” says Megan Gunnar, Ph.D., director of ICD. “Our new master’s degree seeks to do just that by helping students build a foundation in development science that they can use in real-world situations.”

The M.A. is intended for individuals who would like to build a career working with children or adolescents or creating and implementing practices and policies that support their well-being and development. The M.A. also is ideal for professionals working in fields that serve children who are seeking to advance their career. The program currently is accepting applications for Fall 2017.

Sullivan and Susman-Stillman share research on how subsidy system impacts children with special needs

Amy Susman-Stillman
Amy Susman-Stillman
Amanda Sullivan

Amanda Sullivan, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology, and Amy Susman-Stillman, Ph.D., research associate at the Center for Early Education and Development, recently hosted a research-to-policy briefing to discuss whether the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) equally benefits children with and without special needs.

The CCDBG is a $5.3 billion block grant program that provides funding to states, territories, and tribes in an effort to increase access to quality care for low-income families with young children. In 2014, Congress reauthorized the CCDBG and identified low-income children with special needs as a priority target population.

The briefing shared findings from a research project funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Research, Planning and Evaluation. For the project, Sullivan and Susman-Stillman analyzed data from a nationally representative sample of young children with and without special needs to determine whether children with special needs equally access child care subsidies and how child care subsidies affect use of various care types and quality.

Sullivan and Susman-Stillman’s analysis found that throughout early childhood, children with special needs are less likely to access subsidized child care and that subsidy use increased the likelihood that a family would use home- or center-based care. The analysis also found that subsidized children with special needs spend more hours in care than non-subsidized children with special needs, and that subsidy use does not ensure access to quality care.

According to Sullivan and Susman-Stillman, based on the study’s findings, stakeholders should address inequities in accessing subsidized care for children with special needs and reduce barriers parents and providers face in finding and supplying high-quality care.

Hear about cutting edge research in ITR’s Colloquium Series

Series kicks off Feb. 7 with discussion of retaining and engaging enrolled families

As part of ITR’s mission to connect leaders in the field of children’s mental health, we are excited to announce our 2017 Colloquia Series, featuring three discussions on new research from ITR faculty. Space is limited, so reserve your spot early — e-mail ITR@umn.edu to RSVP.

Feb. 7 – Project INTERFACE: Promoting Parent Engagement in Parent Education Programs | 3:30-5 p.m., ITR offices
Dr. Richard M. Lee and Dr. Alisha Wackerle-Hollman
 
Problems in engaging and retaining enrolled families is a significant barrier to reaping the effects of evidence-based parenting interventions. Studies show modest rates of enrollment and retention in evidence-based parent training particularly among racial/ethnic minority families.  We will describe our work to develop and test a brief group-based engagement and retention priming module for families from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.

The work was funded by a seed grant from ITR in 2015.

About Dr. Lee: Rich’s research interests are in understanding the psychological aspects of culture, ethnicity and race that function as risk and protective factors for well-being, mental health, and achievement in ethnic and racial minority populations. Dr. Lee has received NIH, NSF, and foundation funding to support his research.(Full bio)

About Dr. Alisha Wackerle-Hollman: Dr. Wackerle-Hollman is an educational psychologist with a passion for engaging communities and young children to improve child and family outcomes. Alisha’s interest focuses on two primary strands of research: a clinical foci on parenting education and development and an applied foci centralized around early childhood assessment and intervention.(Full bio)

March 27 – Personalizing Treatment for Adolescent Depression: Challenges and Opportunities | 3:30-5 p.m., ITR offices
Dr. Meredith Gunlicks-Stoessel

There are now a number of evidence-based interventions for adolescent depression; however, many adolescents who receive one of these interventions do not respond. There is increasing recognition that treating depression more effectively requires taking into account individual differences and providing adolescents with treatment that is optimally matched and adapted over time to their individual characteristics, needs, and circumstances. In this presentation, I will discuss our work developing and evaluating personalized interventions for adolescent depression.

About Dr. Meredith Gunlicks-Stoessel: Meredith’s research focuses on the development and evaluation of interventions for adolescent depression. She has a particular interest in the development of adaptive interventions, which provide clinical guidelines for selecting, combining, and sequencing interventions to personalize the intervention approach. (Full bio)

May 2 – An alternative model of personalized interventions: Findings from an adoption study | 3:30-5p.m., ITR offices
Dr. Leslie Leve

It is widely known that parents play a crucial role in their child’s development, ranging from the disciplinary practices they engage in, to the quality of their own interparental relationship, to the educational context they provide. However, there is increasing evidence that genetic influences play a role in these associations, sometimes via their moderating role in increasing or decreasing children’s susceptibility to these environmental experiences, and other times because they shape the types of environments that children are exposed to.

This presentation focuses on the interplay between inherited and environmental influences on child development by describing findings from an adoption study where children were reared from birth by unrelated caregivers. The relevance of children’s inherited predispositions in the design and delivery of preventive interventions will also be discussed.

Dr. Leslie Leve is a developmental psychologist who has used natural experimental designs to examine the interplay between social and inherited influences on child and adolescent development. This includes adoption studies where children have been reared by unrelated caregivers, intervention studies with children in foster care, and studies of siblings who have been reared apart since birth. Leslie is the Associate Director of the Prevention Science Institute and the Associate Dean for Research in the College of Education at the University of Oregon. She currently serves as President-Elect of the Society for Prevention Research. Her research is currently funded by NIH and IES. 

Nye-Lengerman receives AUCD Young Professional Award

On December 6, Kelly Nye-Lengerman from the College’s Institute on Community Integration received the AUCD Young Professional Award during the AUCD annual conference in Washington, DC. This award is presented to professionals in the disabilities field under the age of 40 who have demonstrated dedication and commitment to people with developmental disabilities and their families through their work as a bridge between the academic sector and the community.

Gulaid joins National Advisory Committee

In October,  Anab Gulaid from the college’s Institute on Community Integration was invited to join the National Advisory Committee for the Diversity & Inclusion Training Action Plan (D&I-TAP), a one-year project funded by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of the project is to research, develop, and disseminate a D&I-TAP for the national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs), of which ICI is a member. Gulaid’s committee duties began in November.

 

Thurlow speaks at White House convening on education

Martha Thurlow, director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) at the college’s Institute on Community Integration, participated in the White House Convening on Better, Fairer, and Fewer Assessments in Washington, D.c., on Dec. 7.

The convening brought together about 100 representatives from states, districts, and schools, as well as researchers, and assessment developers. The purpose was to discuss how to improve assessments and reduce the burden of redundant assessments, consistent with the Obama Testing Action Plan released in October 2015.

Thurlow (pictured here, center) participated in a panel discussion on better, fairer, and fewer assessments. Representing the “fairer” aspect of the convening, she responded to questions from Gene Wilhoit, director of the National Center for Innovation in Education, and the audience. Thurlow also collaborated with Jose Blackorby of CAST in a breakout session focused on increasing accessibility.

“It was a great opportunity to ensure that the development of innovative assessments and efforts to reduce the number of assessments continue to ensure that the results are fair to all students, including those with disabilities and those who are English learners,” noted Thurlow.

NCEO provides national leadership in designing and building educational assessments and accountability systems that appropriately monitor educational results for all students, including students with disabilities and students who are English Language Learners. NCEO receives funding from the federal government, states, and other organizations.

Center for Resilient Families featured in MinnPost

A recent MinnPost feature story highlights the Center for Resilient Families, a new national center housed at ITR aimed at raising awareness of, and increasing access to, family interventions that promote resilience in traumatized children.

From the article:

Kids do well when their parents do well.

Thanks to a new $3 million, five–year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the University of Minnesota’s new Center for Resilient Families will work to shore up the health of traumatized families nationwide through the promotion of parenting interventions that have been found through rigorous testing to be effective at strengthening resilience.

While the theory that strong parents create strong families has been accepted for years, much attention of late has been centered on creating services that focus on the unique needs of children in at-risk environments.

That’s important, said Center for Resilient Families Project Director Abi Gewirtz, Ph.D., professor at the University of Minnesota’s Department of Family Social Science and Institute of Child Development, but it’s also important to dig deeper, to help support families from the ground up by supporting the emotional health of parents.

“Too often, we tend to treat the kid that’s experienced trauma alone instead of treating the whole family,” Gewirtz said. “With this new center, we are focused on improving mental health for traumatized families by improving parents’ parenting skills.”

Read the full article here.

Cramer leads interdisciplinary research initiative to improve student math outcomes

STEM co-executive director Kathleen Cramer is part of an interdisciplinary research initiative aimed at improving student math outcomes. In partnership with Generation Next and representatives from Minneapolis Public Schools, the GopherMath project builds on the expertise of faculty within four distinct areas: fraction learning, whole number assessments and interventions, teacher development, and parent involvement.

The GopherMath collaboration builds on a long term research and curriculum development project at the University known as the Rational Number Project (RNP). Because the work done in this area in grades 3-6 mathematics classrooms determines students’ access to algebra, it is critical that students have appropriate learning experiences that support learning in ways that result in deep conceptual understanding and procedural fluency.

This project also looks at factors within and outside the classroom that may influence students’ learning of this important content, potentially identifying how each component addressed supports students’ success in learning about a key topic in elementary grades.

Development and Psychopathology Special Section from ITR 2015 symposium in print

A Special section in Development and Psychopathology, 28 (4 part 2), 2016, dedicated to topics presented at the Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health (ITR)’s Inaugural Symposium entitled “Epigenetics: Development, Psychopathology, Resilience and Preventive Intervention,” was recently published by Cambridge University Press.

The three-day symposium in May 2015 focused on epigenetics, the study of how DNA methylation affects gene expression and mental and physical health. The symposium featured leading researchers investigating topics ranging from the way experiences of parents can impact DNA methylation to how child maltreatment can affect how genes are expressed and lead to mental and physical health risks. Each presenter contributed an article to this Special Section of the Journal.

The 2015 symposium was the brainchild of ITR’s Director of Research, Dante Cicchetti. Dr. Cicchetti is a pioneer in the field of developmental psychopathology and is the founding and current editor of Development and Psychopathology. He is recognized by the National Institute of Health (NIH) as one of their top grantees, achieving an award rate in the 95th percentile for the past 25 years, and has published over 475 articles, books, and journal special issues. His research spans developmental psychopathology, child maltreatment, developmental neuroscience, gene-environment interactions, epigenetics, mood disorders, personality disorders, and multilevel Randomized Control Trial (RCT) preventive interventions to inform developmental theory.

Direction of the symposium rotates each year among ITR’s three core faculty. Our second annual symposium this fall was initiated by ITR Director of Training & Education, Dr. Gerry August, and focused on precision care; the 2017 event will be directed by ITR Director, Dr. Abi Gewirtz. Highlighting cutting edge research and connecting leading researchers and practitioners is one of the many ways ITR works to bridge the vast gap between research and practice in children’s mental health.

See the full list of articles in this Special Section here.

ITR’s Dr. Gerry August part of UMN Grand Challenge-winning team

Dr. Gerry August, one of the Institute for Tranlsational Research in Children’s Mental Health (ITR)’s three core faculty members, was part of a cross-discipline team of researchers recently awarded one of the University of Minnesota’s coveted Grand Challenge grants.

The collaborative team of researchers — known as the Minnesota Precision Medicine Collaborative (MPMC) — will explore how new technologies can better tailor health care to the needs of individual patients. Applying precision-based health care techniques to address children’s mental health issues is one of Dr. August’s specialties; in October he directed the second-annual ITR symposium that focused on personalized, precision-based care.

The Grand Challenges research program is a key part of the University’s Strategic Plan vision to address critical challenges to Minnesota and the world. The University is investing $3.6 million to fund a slate of faculty research collaborations aimed at five research priorities:

  • Advancing health through tailored solutions
  • Feeding the world sustainably
  • Assuring clean water and sustainable ecosystems
  • Fostering just and equitable communities
  • Engaging individual and community capacity for a changing world.

ITR is committed to address the gap between research and practice in children’s mental health and uses an interdisciplinary, team-based setup to support researchers from many background and cultivates new ways of approaching problems.

From the project description:

Minnesota Precision Medicine Collaborative: Transforming health and advancing equity 

The Minnesota Precision Medicine Collaborative (MPMC) is a transformative initiative to use 21st century technologies – including genomics, informatics, bioengineering, analysis of environmental exposures, and behavioral sciences – to tailor health care to the challenges facing individuals and their communities. This ambitious approach will fundamentally alter our understanding of health, disease prevention, and treatment. Core to this project is partnering across the state of Minnesota with citizens, patients, and healthcare providers to understand and effectively address major health problems.

MPMC will create a living laboratory, starting with demonstration projects on Alzheimer’s disease, lung cancer, and depression. All three are diseases whose incidence, burden, and mortality rates reveal disturbing health disparities. This focus will enable us to leverage University of Minnesota research strengths across many disciplines and to engage with partners in the health industry and Minnesota’s underserved communities. Together we will create affordable, mobile tools to speed research, better deliver health information, and advance health for all. [Full description]

Read more about the Grand Challenges award winners here. Learn more about ITR’s work at http://itr.umn.edu.

ITR’s Dr. Abi Gewirtz involved with new book on parenting and military deployment

Since 9/11, more than 1 million parents have been deployed to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. For those parents, the difference between parenting before deployment and after returning home is stark — and not well studied

A new book co-edited by Dr. Abigail Gewirtz, Institute Director at ITR, examines crucial questions around parenting and military deployment in the 21st Century. Parenting and Children’s Resilience in Military Families, edited by Gewirtz and Adriana M. Youssef, explores questions like:

“How does deployment influence parenting? How is parenting of the at-home caregiver affected by the absence of the deployed parent? How might effective parenting at different child developmental stages mitigate children’s worries and fears about their deployed parent and promote healthy adjustment? How might the experience of motherhood be changed by military service in general and deployment in particular? How are deployed fathers influential for their children’s development and adjustment, and how can they be supported in these efforts? And, how might military parents transmit military cultural values, such as service, to their children?”

Gewirtz in a nationally recognized leader in research on trauma, resilience, parenting, and promoting children’s healthy development. Among her major research projects is the After Deployment, Adaptive Parenting Tools (ADAPT) program, which develops tools to support parenting and resilience among military families coping with the stress of deployment and reintegration.

ITR’s affiliated clinic thrives in first six months

Affiliation provides mental health services for families and hands-on training for students

This summer we at the Institute for Translational Research in Children’s Mental Health (ITR) announced an exciting affiliation between ITR, the University of Minnesota and the Family Innovations Counseling and Training Center.

In its first half-year the clinic has provided hundreds of hours of service based on evidence-based interventions to Twin Cities families. Through our affiliation, the clinic has also provided hands-on training for students preparing for a career in mental health, helping reach our goals of translating discoveries in children’s mental health research into practice and providing training in evidence-based practices that students often have difficulty finding for their practicum experience.

The clinic leases space within ITR’s office building located near downtown Minneapolis, offering convenient access to the families it serves. It is one of 11 Family Innovations outpatient clinics in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan.

To learn more about our work to bridge the gap between research and practice in children’s mental health, visit itr.umn.edu. Learn more about the clinic at familyinnovations.com.

University autism expertise leads to earlier diagnosis

jedandjason
Jed Elison and Jason Wolff

CEHD researchers Jason Wolff and Jed Elison are detecting objective differences in the brains of children who have autism spectrum disorders as early as six months old. And their work is contributing to a national effort to understand this complex array of developmental disorders.

“We know from intervention studies that the earlier you intervene, the better the outcome,” says Wolff in a U of M Medical Bulletin feature story.

Read more about the work of several U of M researchers who bring a spectrum of expertise to their autism research, including prevalence studies led by Amy Hewitt, director of CEHD’s Research and Training Center on Community Living in the Institute on Community Integration.

Star Tribune interviews Susman-Stillman on changing role of play in kindergarten classrooms

Amy Susman-Stillman
Amy Susman-Stillman

Amy Susman-Stillman, Ph.D., director of applied research at the Center for Early Education and Development, was featured in a Star Tribune article that explored changes to the kindergarten curriculum in Minnesota.

Across the state, kindergarten curriculum has shifted from “learning-while-playing” to emphasizing reading and math in an effort to meet new standards.

According to the Star Tribune, Susman-Stillman said that in “the process, guided adult-supported playtime like sand and water play, dress-up corners and role-playing has largely vanished from kindergarten classrooms.”

The article noted that as the kindergarten curriculum has become more rigorous, teachers are working to balance academics and developmentally appropriate activities.