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Special Education Program Update - Spring 2010

News from the Special Education program for Spring 2010

Special Education Program Update - Spring 2010


We would like to share the following news.

Krista Farace and Liz Nolan presented at the state capital in Harrisburg on the effectiveness of self-regulated strategies to improve writing skills in students with emotional or behavioral disabilities. Krista and Liz are in the special education undergrad program, and carried out their project as part of associate professor Linda Mason's SPLED 409 class.

In response to a growing national demand for special education teachers, Penn State is offering scholarships up to $12,500 for 15 months of study in early intervention (EI) and early childhood special education (ECSE). Kathleen McKinnon, assistant professor of special education, is the director of the U.S. Department of Education funded training grant.

The demand for qualified special education faculty already exceeds supply, and the demand for qualified special education faculty will continue to grow in the 21st century. Professor Kathy Ruhl and associate professor David Lee are the Project Co-Directors for PPREP, a federally funded program that provides financial and academic support to full-time doctoral students in Special Education at Penn State.

Douglas Dexter, a doctoral student in special education, is the 2010 Graduate Student Recognition Award winner. Besides teaching and receiving excellent SRTE student evaluation scores, he has published 13 works, made several presentations, and received an appointment as one of five doctoral student scholars in Special Education on the U.S. Council for Exceptional Children’s Division for Research.

David McNaughton, professor in special education, and Janice Light, disinguished professor in communication sciences and disorders, have developed a new online resource for teachers who provide literacy instruction to children with severe disabilities. The site, Literacy Instruction for Individuals with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome and other Disabilities,  provides instructional guidelines and videoclips of effective instructional practices.



Paul Morgan, associate professor in special education, is investigating early risk factors for cognitive delays in preschool-aged children. The project, which is funded by a two-year grant from the National Institutes of Health, is seeking to better understand the role played by socio-demographic and gestational or birth factors, such as poverty and low birth weight, respectively, in contributing to the early and repeated incidence of cognitive delay.


Sam Sennott, a doctoral candidate in special education, is a co-developer of ProLoquo2go, a popular software application for individuals with complex communication needs. The software application can be loaded on the iPhone and iPad to support communication for people with limited speech.


Charles Hughes in South Korea


Charles Hughes, professor of special education, traveled to Souh Korea as a  Fulbright Senior Specialist in April. Hughes worked primarily at the Gongju National University of Education in Gongju. He presented lectures on learning disabilities, learning strategies, and response-to-intervention models, and worked with graduate students and faculty.