July 20, 2007

Grant aids services to infants, toddlers with disabilities

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Robin McWilliam, Ph.D.

Grant aids services to infants, toddlers with disabilities

The Center for Child Development (CCD) at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt has received a four-year, $1.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences to help improve services for infants and toddlers with disabilities.

Currently, in many states, professionals working with infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families must use a data system similar to an electronic medical record. The Tennessee Early Intervention Data System (TEIDS) was developed by the Tennessee Department of Education.

The CCD team, with collaborators at the University of Florida and Middle Tennessee State University, will create TEIDS Plus, which are the materials early interventionists will encounter as they use the system, including online training of recommended practices.

“Early intervention professionals won't be able to avoid exposure to recommended practices,” said Robin McWilliam, Ph.D., director of the CCD and a professor of Pediatrics. “In some cases, they will be prevented from entering information if they haven't performed certain steps. In other cases, they will be given information about recommended practices at the relevant times.”

Earlier this month, the research team began preparing materials to be included in the system. In years two through four, early interventionists in several areas in Tennessee will use the pilot program.

“Ultimately, we hope this training component of TEIDS will be available to every interventionist in every state,” McWilliam said. “This is part of our national outreach efforts to improve early intervention services.”