Early Childhood Development

Clinics


Center for Autism and Related Conditions

The UT Physicians Pediatric Center for Autism and Related Conditions recognizes that the challenges faced by children with developmental concerns are complex neurodevelopmental issues in which multiple developmental concerns likely overlap and require a comprehensive look at every child. This understanding guides our approach to utilizing patient-centered, evidence-based methods in our diagnostic evaluations and our treatment recommendations. We are a multi-disciplinary team that includes developmental and behavioral pediatrics, child psychology, and speech and language pathology.

Dan L Duncan Children's Neurodevelopmental Clinic

The Dan L Duncan Children's Neurodevelopment Clinic provides comprehensive assessments of children, adolescents, and young adults who are thought to have developmental or behavioral problems, autism spectrum disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and learning disabilities such as dyslexia.


Programs


Act Early Texas!

Act Early Texas! is a set of online developmental and screening tools for parents who would like to learn more about their child’s development to determine if it is on schedule. Working in tandem with the Center for Disease Control, The Autism Center of The Children’s Learning Institute is directing state attention and efforts through Act Early Texas! to better address the needs of young Texas with autism spectrum disorders, identify the gaps in autism resources, and provide tools and resources for contacting pediatricians and other childhood specialists about potential developmental delays.

CIRCLE CDA Training Program

CLI is introducing a new program to help early childhood teachers in Texas obtain the training hours they need to apply for the Child Development Associate (CDA) CredentialTM for center-based programs. The CIRCLE CDA Training program will allow CLI to provide a new professional development opportunity and career pathway to early childhood teachers.

Play and Learning Strategies (PALS)

Play and Learning Strategies is a preventive intervention program to strengthen the bond between parent and child and to stimulate early language, cognitive, and social development. The program is facilitated by a trained parent educator who presents each session to the parent(s) and coaches the parent(s) in using the specific techniques that are either demonstrated in person or via videotaped examples of real mothers and children utilizing specific techniques at age appropriate levels. Guided practice opportunities during each session help parents move from watching listening and talking, to doing. PALS Infant curriculum consists of 10 sessions and is appropriate for parents of infants from about 5 months to 18 months. PALS Toddler consists of 12 sessions and is appropriate for parents of toddlers from about 18 months to 3 years.

Reach Out and Read

Reach Out and Read is a national program that prepares America’s youngest children to succeed in school by partnering with doctors to prescribe books and encourage families to read together. The Children's Learning Institute is home to the Texas branch of this program.

School-Based Tutoring Programs

Throughout the school year, our School-Based Programs provide early intervention to students who are at-risk for or who are experiencing reading and math failure as well as enrichment programs for students with grade level academic skills.

Special Education Training Fellowship

In order to best prepare individuals for independent research careers in the education sciences, the Children’s Learning Institute (CLI) will provide four postdoctoral fellows with extensive training in special education research with a focus on language and literacy interventions.

Summer Tutoring Programs

During the summer break, CLI Clinics provides hands-on tutoring in reading and math to help children prepare for the upcoming school year. These targeted tutoring programs can be instrumental in helping children develop the skills they need to be successful.

Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS)

The Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System is a statewide program designed to meet the professional development needs of those working in the early childhood field. The TECPDS website offers several tools and resources to help early childhood professionals.

Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office

In 2007, the Children’s Learning Institute was selected by the Governor of Texas to be the community partner with and home base for the Texas Head Start State Collaboration Office. Members of the Texas Head Start Collaboration Office are housed in the Children’s Learning Institute offices, take advantage of access to the experts within the facilities, and are partially supported by funds from the Institute over and above the budget provided by the state.

Texas School Ready

Texas School Ready is a comprehensive preschool teacher training program combining a research-based, state-adopted curriculum with ongoing professional development and progress monitoring tools. The goal of this program is to help children be better prepared for school.


Research


Brain-PALS MRI Study

The PALS-BRAIN MRI Study examines the role of parenting practices on brain development in toddlers. For this investigation structural and functional data are collected from children between the ages of 22 and 26 months. The goal of this investigation is to document the impact of an existing intervention on parenting practices on neurodevelopment during early childhood.

Comparative Coaching

The proposed project brings together two widely used, evidence-based coaching approaches for supporting early childhood teachers. We will utilize a face-to-face model with a remote instruction model in a comparative analysis, which will be conducted over a three year period. The purpose of this study is to contrast these two approaches in order to investigate their benefits to teachers’ understanding and instructional practices, which support children’s language and literacy skills. An economic analysis of the models will help us to identify the most effective and efficient methods for providing coaching in early childhood settings.

Developmental Consequences of Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury

Information from this project will inform how we identify children who are not meeting developmental milestones and how we design developmentally appropriate supports for children after traumatic brain injury that will allow them to participate fully at home, in school, and in the community.

Enhancing Early Learning for Children with Special Needs (ENABLE)

Enhancing Early Learning for Children with Special Needs is a four year project that studies the effectiveness of a parenting program on the early learning and motor development of infants with spina bifida and infants with tone and strength difficulties, including cerebral palsy. The study investigates whether an integrated parent responsiveness and motor support intervention targeting these infants will result in changes in parent behavior leading to improvements in the overall development of such core skills and competencies as attention, cognition, goal-directed play, language, and motor performance.

ENRICH Intervention for Obesity Prevention Among At-Risk Toddlers

The purpose of this study is to develop and test an integrated, culturally sensitive home-based program that helps families improve parenting skills for obesity prevention and control among toddlers (2- to 3-years-old). The intervention will integrate the Play and Learning Strategies (PALS) program, a home-based parent-centered curriculum designed to facilitate parents’ mastery of skills for interacting with their toddler, with Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH), a behaviorally-based school health promotion program based on Social Cognitive Theory (SCT) to increase opportunities for healthy eating and activity.

Lactoferrin for Prevention of Sepsis in Infants

The high frequency of serious infections in premature infants, as well as their associated morbidity and mortality, is a critical barrier to progress in improving infant care. Lactoferrin is a factor in milk that helps decrease infection and improves neurodevelopment due to its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties. This clinical trial will study the effect of lactoferrin on the occurrence of sepsis and to determine whether, as a result of decreased infections, infants grow and develop better after having been on lactoferrin.

Parents and Teachers Together: e-PATT

The added benefit of combining the Texas School Ready program in the classroom with the Play and Learning Strategies program in the home is the focus of the Parents And Teachers Together (e-PATT) study. This study parallels an earlier study conducted at CLI. However, this project utilizes remote technology in coaching and training to conduct these interventions.

Preparing Pequeños

Preparing Pequeños is studying the effectiveness of a comprehensive Spanish school readiness curriculum combined with small group instruction towards improving literacy, language, math, and social skills for prekindergarten English language learners from low-income backgrounds. The project will provide the educational field with information about the impact of small group instructional practices on language and academic development of English language learners from low-income backgrounds. The project also will provide the field with much-needed research surrounding the cross-linguistic transfer of Spanish to English within early academic settings. Because the project is longitudinal in nature, we also will be evaluating how educational-intensive small group instructional approaches impact English language learners' academic competencies in both languages in kindergarten.

School Readiness Curriculum Based Measurement System (SR-CBM)

This project addresses the pressing need for assessment tools that teachers can use to efficiently identify children’s strengths and weaknesses in English and Spanish, monitor students’ learning, and inform instruction. The School Readiness Curriculum Based Measurement System includes research-based progress monitoring tools that assess vocabulary, letter identification, graphophonemic knowledge, phonological awareness, math, and science in English and Spanish speakers aged 3 to 6 years.

Supporting Sprouts

The purpose of the Supporting Sprouts project is to study a combination of two research-proven programs: a responsive, caregiving parenting program and a teacher training program. This will enable us to study the benefits of these programs on infants’ and toddlers’ cognitive, social-emotional, and self-regulation skills. Each program is facilitated by a trained coach who presents each session via an online video conference.

Teaching Together-PreK: A Home-School Intervention for Young Children At-Risk for Academic Difficulties

The purpose of this project is to iteratively develop and pilot test Teaching Together-PreK, a multi-tiered pre-kindergarten curriculum that will provide whole-class shared book reading experiences (Tier 1) and targeted small-group language and literacy instruction (Tier 2). The classroom intervention builds on an existing, Tier 1 language and literacy supplementary curriculum, Read It Again-PreK!, which has been evaluated in IES funded studies. In addition, aligned home activities will be developed with a focus on parents whose children are not responding adequately with Tier 1 instruction alone.

Toddler Language in the Classroom (TLC)

This three-year study developed and documented the feasibility and promise of a professional development intervention targeting teachers of at-risk toddlers in childcare settings. The first two years were spent developing and field-testing each component of the intervention, and the third year included a small, randomized control pilot study of the complete program. The 12-week intervention, called “Toddler Language in the Classroom” (TLC) was designed to improve at-risk toddlers’ language outcomes by increasing quality language and literacy experiences in the childcare setting. The intervention includes didactic training and in-class mentoring to assist teachers in achieving knowledge of early language development, empowerment in their role in supporting toddlers’ language development, and competence in applying specific language promoting strategies within daily caregiving contexts such as meal/snack time, centers/free play time, circle/book-reading time, outdoor time, and transition times.

Resources


Beginning Education: Early Childcare at Home

The Beginning Education: Early Childcare At Home program is a web-based professional development system specifically designed for home childcare providers and is available in English and Spanish. The program is free to all users on CLI Engage and focuses on supporting the socio-emotional, cognitive, language, literacy, and mathematics development of young children.

CIRCLE Activity Collection

The online CIRCLE Activity Collection offers a variety of hands-on activities that teachers and parents can use with their children. Teachers can implement during large group, small group, centers, and one-on-one instruction. Language, literacy, social emotional skills, mathematics, and science are the core concepts covered.

CIRCLE Progress Monitoring

The Texas School Ready child progress monitoring tool, the CIRCLE Progress Monitoring System, enables a teacher to quickly measure a child’s progress in a particular skill area. Utilizing this instrument allows teachers to appropriately focus their lessons.

CLI Engage

CLI Engage is a comprehensive e-learning platform housing TSR Online professional development, child progress monitoring tools, and classroom observation tools - available for free to Texas public schools, Head Start programs, and Texas Rising Star Certified Providers.

Developing Talkers/Hablemos Juntos and Training

Developing Talkers and Hablemos Juntos are curriculum supplements to promote oral language. Listening comprehension and vocabulary skills are targeted through lessons, materials, and instructions on developing and strengthening children’s oral language skills. For interested teachers and caregivers, CLI regularly conducts Developing Talkers Training.

eCIRCLE

eCIRCLE Professional Development provides online courses featuring extensive video-based demonstrations of effective instructional practices, application-based assignments, and activities. The program is designed specifically for teachers, school leaders, and intervention specialists.

Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators

Core competencies are defined as an individual’s demonstrated skills and abilities. The Texas Core Competencies for Early Childhood Practitioners and Administrators document lists observable skills that, when accomplished, demonstrate competency in a particular area of knowledge.

Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System (TECPDS)

The Texas Early Childhood Professional Development System is a statewide program designed to meet the professional development needs of those working in the early childhood field. The TECPDS website offers several tools and resources to help early childhood professionals.

Texas Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines and Training

The purpose of the Texas Infant, Toddler, and Three-Year-Old Early Learning Guidelines is to outline expectations about what children should know and be able to do across domains of learning during specific age ranges and to outline steps for caregivers to support healthy development.

Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines and Training (2008)

The Texas Prekindergarten Guidelines, published in 2008, were developed to help educators provide all preschool children with the proper foundations for school success. CLI also created a web-based professional development tool to provide educators an introduction to the guidelines. This instrument includes video examples of child behaviors and classroom interactions and provides instructional strategies for teachers to support students.

TSR Online

TSR Online is one of the three Texas School Ready delivery models and is available to eligible educators in Texas at no cost. Programs that register for TSR Online will have access to the free tools and resources that include teacher professional development, child progress monitoring classroom observation tools, and supplemental classroom activities — all hosted on CLI's new e-learning platform CLI Engage.