RESEARCH

Autologous Cell Therapies for Cerebral Palsy

This clinical trial investigates autologous cell therapies in patients with cerebral palsy (CP). This study will compare the effects of two specific autologous cell therapies - bone marrow derived mononuclear cells (BMMNCs) versus human umbilical cord blood cells (HUCBs).

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.

Convergence Insufficiency Treatment Trial - Attention and Reading Trial (CITT-ART)

The purpose of the CITT-ART study is to evaluate the effects of office-based therapy with home reinforcement on reading and attention outcomes for children with symptomatic Convergence Insufficiency (CI), a vision disorder. Children with symptomatic CI report significantly more symptoms when reading and doing close work (e.g., blurred vision, headaches, double vision, loss of concentration, frequent loss of place, trouble remembering what was read), have more behaviors that lead to academic difficulties (e.g., difficulty finishing assignments), and score worse on parent ratings of attention compared to children with normal binocular vision. There is evidence that the symptoms and adverse academic behaviors associated with CI can be reduced through treatment. The CITT-ART study tests the hypothesis that reducing or eliminating these symptoms and behaviors will lead to improved reading performance and attention.

Definitions Project

This project examines how word definitions, contextual support, and cognate status affect fourth grade Spanish-speaking English learners’ (EL) understanding of unfamiliar words in text. The use of dictionary definitions is a ubiquitous practice in EL instruction, yet, the field lacks experimental work that isolates and tests the effect of dictionary definitions on EL vocabulary learning.

Development and Validation of the Systematic Assessment of Book Reading

The purpose of this project is to expand and validate the first standardized, observational assessment of the quality of shared book reading in early childhood classrooms, called the Systematic Assessment of Book Reading (SABR) 2.0.

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.

Idea Detectives: Individualized Intervention in Reading Comprehension and Word Reading Based on Best Evidence From Cognitive Science

The purpose of this research is to develop an intensive reading intervention (Idea Detectives) for students in grades 2-3 at risk for or identified as having serious reading difficulties or disabilities (students with RD). Within a Response-to-Intervention (RTI) or Multitier Systems of Support (MTSS) framework, this will be a Tier 3 intervention, intended for students who demonstrate inadequate response to previously-provided intervention. It will be designed to be implemented in small groups in daily 45-min lessons by a special educator or reading interventionist. The project also includes the development of an online library of video clips that can be viewed by teachers to help them understand how to implement the intervention.

Interventions for Children with Attention and Reading Disorders (ICARD)

The purpose of ICARD research is to learn about the best treatment approaches for children who have both Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and serious reading difficulties (RD).

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.

Management of Myelomeningocele (MOMS2)

The major goals of this project are to acquire and quantitatively analyze MRI datasets collected as part of the MOMS2 follow-up study of children with spina bifida, who either had prenatal repair or postnatal repair of the myelomeningocele lesion.

Neural Correlates of Reading Comprehension in Typical and Struggling Readers: A Multimodal Neuroimaging Study

The major goals of this neuroimaging project are to evaluate school-aged children and their response to reading intervention as part of a multidisciplinary center on learning disabilities involving a consortium of three Texas universities (University of Houston, University of Texas at Austin, and UT Health).

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.

Phase 2 Pediatric Autologous Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cells for Severe Traumatic Brain Injury

This purpose of this project is to determine the effect of intravenous infusion of autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells on brain structure and functional outcomes after severe traumatic brain injury in children. This study is designed as a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled, blinded Phase 2 safety/biological activity study.

Pre-K Tutor-Based Mathematics and Attention Interventions

This research project will test the effectiveness of combining a preschool program, Pre-K Mathematics Tutorial, with attention training in an effort to improve the mathematical knowledge of preschool children who are especially low performing in mathematics and at highest risk for mathematical difficulties in school. The approach of combining mathematics and attention training is based on findings from developmental psychology, math learning disability research, and cognitive neuroscience that point to a strong link between mathematical learning and attention.

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.

Preventing Reading Difficulties: Developing a Seamless Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) from Pre-Kindergarten through Second Grade

The Multi-Tiered System of Supports Program (MTSS) is a systematic approach to the prevention of reading difficulties in young children who are at risk for reading failure. This program will identify at-risk children early in their school experience (pre-K through second grade) so that additional instructional supports can be matched to children’s assessed needs.

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.

Testing the Efficacy of Reading RULES: A Tier 1 and Tier 2 Intervention for First-Grade Children with Decoding and Comprehension Difficulties

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effects of a program called Reading RULES. Reading RULES was developed at the Children’s Learning Institute for first-grade students who are at risk for reading difficulties or disabilities in both word reading and comprehension. Students who do not learn to read adequately in the early grades typically have persistent reading difficulties. Potential persistent reading problems may be prevented or their severity reduced if they are addressed aggressively and early. Reading RULES provides carefully-sequenced instruction in word reading, fluency, vocabulary, listening comprehension, and reading comprehension, combining whole-class mini-lessons in comprehension and vocabulary with supplemental small-group Tier 2 intervention for the students in the classroom who are most at-risk for reading difficulties.

Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment (TX-KEA)

The Texas Kindergarten Entry Assessment (TX-KEA) is a collaborative effort between the US Department of Education, the Texas Education Agency, and the Children’s Learning Institute at UTHealth. The purpose of this research is to develop a comprehensive, easy-to-administer kindergarten screening assessment that is a valid predictor of later academic success. The test will be administered in both English and Spanish. Upon completion of this research project, the TX-KEA assessment will be available free for use in Texas’ public school districts that serve up to 400,000 new kindergarten students yearly.

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.

Traumatic Stress After Pediatric Injury: Neurobiological Influences

This study will examine the impact of traumatic injury on the biomarkers of three stress-responsive neurobiological systems and their relation to cognitive and psychological health outcomes during the first year after traumatic brain injury or extracranial injury.

Treatment of Adult Severe TBI Using Autologous Bone Marrow Mononuclear Cells

This project will assess safety and functional outcomes following treatment of severe traumatic brain injury in adults using autologous bone marrow mononuclear cells.