$800,000 grant will help train FSU students for early intervention in diverse communities

An interdisciplinary team of researchers at Florida State University has been awarded a four-year, $800,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Education to train doctoral students in providing services to infants and toddlers who have, or are at risk for, disabilities. Emphasis will be placed on children and families from diverse cultural, linguistic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

Mary Frances Hanline, an associate professor in the FSU College of Education’s department of childhood education, reading and disability services, and Juliann Woods, a professor in the College of Communication’s department of communication disorders, are co-principal investigators of “Project LIFE: Leadership in Family-Centered Early Intervention.” The program will train graduate students from the two departments to become dynamic, well-grounded leaders in university settings, program administration and research.

Project LIFE consists of a set of research-based coursework and field experiences that target specific competencies, professional activities and leadership qualities. Up to eight doctoral students will gain broad-based knowledge and skills essential for leadership in early-intervention programs (birth to 3 years), as well as have the opportunity to specialize in deafness, autism, severe disabilities, emergent literacy and/or bilingual learners.

The students will be trained to generate, implement, evaluate and disseminate early-intervention practices and policy already proven through past research.

In addition to specific coursework and field experiences, students engaged in the project will have the opportunity to work with faculty and state- and national-levelmentors through an internship and collaborative activities supported through technology, including computer-based, two way-interactive communications and Web-enhanced instructional systems. They also will build their research and teaching portfolios in the areas of early intervention, research and professional development, and cultural and linguistic diversity.

The opportunities that the project provides will allow the students to be prepared to develop early-intervention policy, train teachers and early interventionists, and conduct research within their areas of specialization as it relates to infants, toddlers and families.

More information about FSU’s College of Education and its department of childhood education, reading and disability services can be found online at www.coe.fsu.edu. Information about the College of Communication is available at www.comm.fsu.edu.