Grant Abstract

This project is designed to provide interdisciplinary, field-based, graduate training that will enable a total of 40 trainees to acquire the competencies necessary to provide high-quality services for infants, who are disabled or at risk for disabilities, and their families. Twenty full-time trainees, four in each of five project years, will complete intensive field-based training. They will receive assistantships and tuition support for the 12 month (three semester) involvement that is necessary to complete graduate degree requirements. An additional 20 trainees will complete degree requirements on a part-time basis. These students will also be eligible for tuition support while working toward graduate degrees. The inter-institutional and interdepartmental design of this project that includes several departments from Kent State University and Children's Hospital Medical Center of Akron, ensures high quality, interdisciplinary faculty and training experiences. Interdisciplinary project staff will provide infield training and supervision of trainees, implement project management and evaluation activities, and disseminate information about the project.

National, state, and regional needs for increased numbers of skilled interdisciplinary personnel are addressed through either a full or part-time training model. This training project promotes full qualifications for serving infants and toddlers with disabilities by:
(a) certifying personnel who are already working with infants but who are currently not-qualified; and
(b) preparing newly trained individuals for work with infants.

Trainees will complete a minimum of 35 semester hours of coursework, field-based training, and research to fulfill the requirements for certification in the Early Childhood Special Needs Emphasis, Infant/Newborn Specialist option. These requirements are jointly administered by two departments of the K.S.U. College of Education: the department of Educational Foundations and Special Services and the department of Teacher-Leadership-Curriculum Studies. Full-time trainees will complete a minimum of 600 clock hours and part-time trainees will complete a minimum of 160 hours of field-based training at the Family Child Learning Center (FCLC). This field-based internship provides hands-on experiences and demonstrates direct application of information acquired through formal coursework. Trainees may integrate their infant specialization coursework with a M. A. degree program in special education (41 hours total), M.Ed. program in early childhood special education (ranging to 50 hours total), or other degree requirements (e.g., M.A. in Speech Pathology or Audiology; M.S. in Nursing; further education in the Physical or Occupational Therapies).