UH Researchers Get $8.5 Million to Study Learning Disabilities

Researchers at the University of Houston will use a new $8.5 million grant to study new methods to help students with learning disabilities overcome classroom obstacles. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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The grant from the National Institute of Child Health has helped University of Houston psychology professors Jack Fletcher and David Francis create the Texas Center for Learning Disabilities, a partnership that includes researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center and UT-Austin. Fletcher says the money will be used for research in seven schools this year.

"We'll be going out into the schools in Houston and in Austin, implementing interventions for struggling readers in middle school and elementary school, monitoring how well the students respond to these interventions and then designing really intense interventions for students who don't respond adequately."

Fletcher says historically, learning disabilities haven't had a firm research base, but that is beginning to change.

"We're really beginning to look at special education as an intervention where kids actually can make progress and looking at it more broadly than just say an isolated, segregated group of students, but thinking about sort of how to get general education and special education to work together to either prevent disabilities or enhance outcomes for kids who really need the protection of special education."

Student responses will be documented and then evaluated for effectiveness. You can find a link to the Texas Center for Learning Disabilities on our website, KUHF.org.

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Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...