January 28, 2005

Engaging disabled children in class subject of study

Featured Image

Lauren Petr, left, buys a Go Red dress pin from Jill Forbert in the hospital cafeteria. The sale is part of the Go Red at Vanderbilt campaign to boost awareness of heart disease.
photo by Mary Donaldson

Young children with disabilities will be the subject of a new Vanderbilt study funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs. A three-year, $540,000 grant was given to Robin McWilliam, Ph.D., director of the Vanderbilt Center for Child Development.

“The Engagement Classroom: A Model for Preschool Inclusion,” will study the premise that young children with disabilities need to be engaged in the classroom with other normally developing peers.

Research will begin this fall, and will involve 60 children. Fifteen local classrooms are being trained in the engagement classroom concept; 15 others will participate while continuing their existing approach.

McWilliam expects findings will change the way services for young children with disabilities are organized. For more information, contact Amy Casey at 936-3986.