The Special Education Research and Development (R & D) Centers contribute to the solution of significant special education and early intervention problems in the United States. The R & D Centers engage in research, development, evaluation, and national leadership activities aimed at improving child outcomes through enhancements in the special education and early intervention systems. Each Center conducts a focused program of research in a specific topic area and works cooperatively with the Institute to provide relatively rapid research and scholarship on supplemental questions that emerge within the Center's topic area and that are not being addressed adequately elsewhere. In addition, each Center provides national leadership in advancing evidence-based practice and policy within its topic area. Currently, there are six National R&D Centers.
There is currently one additional NCSER special initiative within the National Center for Special Education Research, Accelerating the Academic Achievement of Students with Learning Disabilities, to tackle the problem of academic achievement of students with learning disabilities who demonstrate the most intractable learning problems.
CSESA, based at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, focuses on developing, adapting, and evaluating a comprehensive school and community-based education program for high school students on the autism spectrum.
CLAD is exploring child and instructional factors that affect language and literacy skills in early elementary school students who are deaf or hard of hearing as well as developing and testing interventions designed for deaf or hard of hearing struggling readers in this grade range.
The National Center for Education Research also funds R&D Centers that address important issues in education at all levels.