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IES Grant

Title: A Randomized Efficacy Trial of the Kids in Transition to School (KITS) Program for Children with Developmental Disabilities and Behavioral Problems
Center: NCSER Year: 2008
Principal Investigator: Pears, Katherine Awardee: Oregon Social Learning Center
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4/1/2008 to 3/31/2012 Award Amount: $2,957,477
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R324A080026
Description:

Purpose: Children with disabilities often experience a gap in services during the summer before kindergarten. During this time, they may lose school readiness skills that would have facilitated their transition to early elementary school. This gap in services is a particular problem for children with co-occurring developmental disabilities and behavior problems. These children are likely to have low levels of school readiness and are at risk for academic failure. In addition, their behavior and social problems are likely to interfere with school adjustment. In this project the researchers will evaluate an intervention designed to fill the gap in services as children transition from preschool to kindergarten and enable children to experience a smoother transition into kindergarten. They will conduct an efficacy evaluation of a short-term intensive intervention, Kids in Transition to School, for improving social-emotional, early literacy, and school readiness skills of young children with developmental disabilities and behavior problems.

Project Activities: Kids in Transition to School is a short-term intensive intervention, for improving social-emotional, early literacy, and school readiness skills of young children with co-occurring developmental disabilities and behavior problems. The intervention is designed to fill the gap in services as children transition from preschool to kindergarten. Approximately 200 children transitioning from preschool to kindergarten will participate in this research. They will be randomly assigned to the intervention condition or a services-as-usual comparison group. Children will be assessed at multiple time points during and after receiving the intervention. Several multivariate analytic strategies will be employed to determine the efficacy of the Kids in Transition to School program. In addition, researchers will investigate potential mediators and moderators of intervention effects.

Products: The products of this project include evidence of the efficacy of Kids in Transition to School, published reports, and presentations.

Setting: The research will occur in Oregon.

Population: Approximately 200 children transitioning from preschool to kindergarten will participate. The children will have co-occurring developmental disabilities and behavior problems. They will be referred for participation by a public agency in Oregon.

Intervention: The Kids in Transition to School intervention is a short-term intervention delivered in the summer prior to and the first two months of kindergarten. It employs a highly structured curriculum-based playgroup that targets social emotional functioning and early literacy. The playgroup meets for 24 sessions. It meets twice per week during the summer and once per week in kindergarten. The intervention also includes a parent support group designed to increase parent involvement and support positive parenting practices. Parent groups follow a manual-based curriculum and meet once every 2 weeks for 7 sessions.

Research Design and Methods: Children will be recruited in four yearly cohorts. There will be 50 children in each cohort. Children will be randomly assigned to the intervention condition or a services-as-usual comparison group. Children will be assessed at multiple time points during and after receiving the intervention. The first three cohorts will be assessed in the spring of first grade.

Control Condition: In the control condition, participants will continue to receive Early Childhood Special Education services or other services that they would typically receive.

Key Measures: Data will be collected on children's social-emotional and early literacy skills including children's emotional and behavioral regulation, social competence, letter knowledge and naming speed, letter-sound knowledge, language skills, phonological awareness, and knowledge of concepts in print. In addition, data on parent involvement in early literacy, parenting practices, teacher practices, and school and classroom characteristics will be collected. Finally, the researchers will collect data on the fidelity of implementation and intervention dosage.

Data-analytic strategies: Several multivariate analytic strategies, including multiple regression, structural equation modeling, and multivariate analysis of variance, will be employed to determine the efficacy of Kids in Transition to School for improving social-emotional, early literacy, and school readiness skills of children with co-occurring developmental disabilities and behavior problems. In addition, researchers will investigate potential mediators and moderators of intervention effects.

Project website: http://www.kidsintransitiontoschool.org/

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Pears, K.C., Kim, H.K., Fisher, P.A., and Yoerger, K. (2016). Increasing Pre-Kindergarten Early Literacy Skills in Children With Developmental Disabilities and Delays. Journal of School Psychology, 57: 15–27. doi:10.1016/j.jsp.2016.05.004

Pears, K.C., Kim, H.K., Healey, C., Yoerger, K., and Fisher, P.A. (2015). Improving Child Self-Regulation and Parenting in Families of Pre-Kindergarten Children With Developmental Disabilities and Behavioral Difficulties. Prevention Science, 16(2): 222–32. doi:10.1007/s11121–014–0482–2


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