The Post-Doctoral Research Training Program in Special Education: Response to Intervention (RTI) in Early Childhood will provide training experiences for research focused on the RTI approach to early intervention and early childhood special education, with implications for improving school readiness. The overall aim of the program is to provide trainees with opportunities to learn first-hand of advances in the RTI prevention approach and interrelated research and methodological foci. The proposed number of fellows is four, with two years of training each. The program is housed at the Juniper Gardens Children's Project at the University of Kansas, with training opportunities available through the multi-site Center for Response to Intervention in Early Childhood (CRTIEC).
This program provides comprehensive training in research on early childhood RTI with a focus on two overarching areas: the knowledge and content domain and the measurement and research methods domain. The knowledge and content domain includes the RTI prevention/intervention framework; advances in early childhood RTI models; language, social-emotional, and early literacy competency domains; instructional interventions, curricula, and multiple tiers of support; and research communication (e.g., publications, presentations). The measurement and research methods domain includes universal screening and progress monitoring measurement requirements of RTI; rigorous experimental study designs; and univariate and latent growth modeling techniques. Guided by an Individual Academic Fellowship Plan, fellows will be mentored by core faculty, audit relevant courses and summer institutes, and participate directly in research projects. Research opportunities include but are not limited to: (a) development, validation, and other research activities within the CRTIEC; (b) validation of a universal screening and progress monitoring measure of infant and toddler growth in communication skills; (c) development of a preschool RTI model for language and early literacy; (d) study of a web-based parenting intervention for mothers of infants at risk for maltreatment; (e) development of an intervention for improving social-emotional outcomes for infants in child care; and (f) evaluation of evidence-based, naturalistic language-promoting strategies for infants and young children with disabilities.