In 2013, the National Center for Special Education Research (NCSER) launched the Accelerating the Academic Achievement of Students with Learning Disabilities Research Initiative (A3). The goal was to develop and evaluate intensive interventions—such as curricula, instructional approaches and technology—that could improve the academic achievement of students with or at risk of a disability.
A five-year grant in this initiative went to Dr. Douglas Fuchs and Dr. Lynn Fuchs (pictured), of Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, who for the past three years have been developing and piloting intensive interventions focused on improving students’ reading comprehension of informational texts and fraction and pre-algebra performance.
Earlier this month, the Fuchs joined Dr. Lou Danielson and Dr. Rebecca Zumeta Edmonds from the National Center on Intensive Interventions (NCII) for a webinar: “Intensive Intervention: What is it, Who it’s For, and Why it’s Important?” (NCII is a research initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs.)
The NCII/A3 webinar was purposely held in October—which is Learning Disabilities Awareness Month—to raise awareness of research and resources to support students with learning disabilities. The session was recorded and is available through the NCII website or you can watch it below.
The panelists discussed the intensive intervention process, methods of identifying students not making adequate academic progress, and recent related research. Specifically, the Fuchs’ shared their research designing and piloting two innovative components that seek to expand responsiveness to intervention:
- Capitalizing on the power of prior knowledge to build informational text comprehension; and
- Capitalizing on the power of executive function to build fractions knowledge
As part of this NCSER A3 Initiative, these and other intervention components are being developed, integrated into comprehensive intervention programs, and rigorously tested. Please visit the project website to learn more and keep up to date with the latest findings from this research. Viewers of the recorded webinar can also learn more about implementation support resources available through NCII.
In the final years of their five-year NCSER grant, Doug and Lynn Fuchs will work to understand the efficacy of intensive interventions for improving outcomes for students with learning disabilities.
Written by Sarah Brasiel, Program Officer, NCSER
Photo by Wolf Hoffmann,courtesy of Vanderbilt University