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IES Grant

Title: Project SELECT: Social Emotional Learning in Early Childhood for Infants and Toddlers
Center: NCSER Year: 2015
Principal Investigator: Squires, Jane Awardee: University of Oregon
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (9/1/2015-8/31/2019) Award Amount: $1,500,000
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A150145

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop a social-emotional intervention, Social Emotional Learning in Early Childhood for Infants and Toddlers (SELECT) to increase the quality of key parent-child interaction skills, improve children's social-emotional skills, and ultimately improve school readiness for infants and toddlers with disabilities. Significant numbers of infants and toddlers—particularly those with developmental disabilities—have social-emotional problems that are neither recognized nor targeted for intervention. Although relationships between early social-emotional competence and later academic success have been documented, little attention has been given to the development of a curriculum-based approach aimed at evaluating important social-emotional constructs and tying the evaluation to simple, straightforward, routines-based early intervention in the home.

Project Activities: This research will use an iterative process to develop an intervention for infants and toddlers and their parents in home visiting programs. Data from multiple sources, including interventionists and parents, will be used in the development process to guide revisions. The research team will document the feasibility and potential efficacy of the intervention through two types of studies. The feasibility study will consist of preliminary tests of the intervention to examine acceptability and feasibility using child performance data and provider feedback to further guide, evaluate, and enhance the intervention. The pilot study will use a single-subject multiple baseline design to examine fidelity of implementation and the promise for efficacy in enhancing parent–child interaction skills and improved child social-emotional competence.

Products: The products of this project will include a fully developed intervention package aimed at improving young children's social-emotional skills and child–parent interactions, and provide evidence of feasibility, fidelity, and promise of efficacy. Products will also include peer-reviewed publications and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The implementation of the intervention will take place in family homes in urban and rural Oregon. The focus groups will be conducted at the university or local early intervention sites.

Sample: Approximately 40 parents and their infants and toddlers (ages 2 to 36 months) who are eligible for services under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) will participate in this study. In addition, eight early intervention teachers will participate over the course of this project.

Intervention: SELECT will be the curricular component to a social-emotional intervention that will link directly to the benchmarks of the Social Emotional Assessment Measure (SEAM), an assessment previously developed and validated by this research team. Providers of Part C early intervention services will work with families in their homes and focus on self-regulation, communication, and adaptive functioning. SELECT will address two different age groups—infants (2 to 18 months) and toddlers (19 to 36 months). The intervention will consist of two major components. The Interventionist Strategies component is intended to guide providers in their work with parents during home visits. The Parent Activities component will provide suggestions and examples of strategies that support parents in addressing targeted social-emotional goals embedded within daily routine activities.

Research Design and Methods: In the first phase of this project, the intervention will be developed and refined through three steps: 1) A team consisting of experts in social-emotional assessment and curriculum development and teachers will engage in the initial development of the intervention; 2) experts in research, early intervention, social-emotional development and assessment, parent–child interactions, and coaching will review the initial intervention and provide feedback for revisions; and 3) naturalistic intervention trials will take place in which early interventionists use the SEAM to assess children and identify appropriate social-emotional goals, implement portions of SELECT with families during home visits to address identified goals, and provide feedback on the usability and feasibility of SELECT through focus groups and surveys. The next phase includes the feasibility and pilot studies. The feasibility study will examine whether early interventionists can implement SELECT with fidelity in home settings with parents, whether this fidelity is related to parent practices, and whether the parents are able to implement SELECT strategies with their children. Feedback at this stage will further guide, evaluate, and enhance the intervention. The pilot study will examine evidence of the promise of the intervention for achieving its intended outcomes. In the first part, early interventionists will implement the revised intervention during home visits conducted weekly or biweekly with two parent–child dyads to determine fidelity of implementation (by both interventionist and parent) and whether parent–child interactions are enhanced. In the second part of the pilot study, a single-subject multiple baseline design will be used to examine changes in parenting behaviors and key child social-emotional skills.

Control Condition: In the pilot study, the participants will serve as their own controls through the use of a baseline phase within a single-case research design.

Key Measures: Usability and feasibility surveys will be developed by the researchers and used for early interventionists and parents after naturalistic intervention trials and the feasibility studies. Child outcome measures will include the SEAM, Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social-Emotional (ASQ:SE), and the Infant-Toddler Social-Emotional Assessment (ITSEA). Parent–child interactions will be observed and rated using the Parenting Interactions with Children: Checklist of Observations Linked to Outcomes (PICCOLO). Fidelity checklists will be developed and used to rate early interventionists' use of the SELECT intervention as well as parents' implementation of SELECT strategies.

Data Analytic Strategy: Data from the multiple sources during the iterative development will be used to triangulate major findings using themes to further refine the intervention and provide descriptive data on the feasibility and appropriateness of SELECT. The single-subject design studies for the pilot test will be analyzed using visual analysis and calculation of effect sizes, and the researchers will use several techniques (generalized least squares regression models, order-1 autoregressive correlation structure between residuals) to account for non-independence of observations.

Related IES Projects: Project SEAM: Preventing Behavior Disorders and Improving Social-Emotional Competence for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities (R324A070255)

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