Purdue researchers awarded $1.1M from U.S. DOE to develop responsive practices for K-6 students with high intensity needs

October 20, 2021

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana – An interdisciplinary team of Purdue University researchers has been awarded more than $1.16 million from the U.S. Department of Education to develop an interprofessional training program for Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) and Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs). Graduates of Interprofessional Education Supporting the High Intensity Needs of Exceptional Students (IPE-SHINES) will have expertise in interdisciplinary collaboration, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences and be equipped to work with elementary-aged children (K-6) with high intensity needs (HIN), including autism.

Dr. Rose Mason, Associate Professor of Special Education in the Department of Educational Studies and Coordinator Applied Behavior Analysis Programs, is Principal Investigator of the study.

Co-PIs are Dr. Mandy Rispoli, Professor of Special Education, and Dr. Chenell Loudermill, Clinical Professor and Director of Clinical Education in Speech-Language Pathology in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences. Jasmine Begeske, M.S., Clinical Instructor in Special Education, will serve in a key personnel role.

Children in the Summer Purdue (SuPur) Friends program excitedly participate in the program’s grand finale science experiment. SuPur Friends is a research and clinical collaboration organized by SLHS faculty focused on developing social skills in children. This program provides valuable opportunities for children to work together to practice important social skills before returning to school.

IPE-SHINES addresses a national need for highly skilled SLPs and BCBAs, equipped with the expertise and knowledge necessary to provide high-quality, evidence-based practices (EBP) for elementary children with high intensity needs across a wide variety of settings. Slated to run through 2026, IPE-SHINES, will support the training of 22 scholars with competencies to engage in interprofessional collaboration and implement high leverage, culturally responsive practices for elementary students (K-6) with high intensity needs (HIN), as well as to work with the children and their families in educational, community, and home settings.

“Students with high intensity needs, including those with autism and multiple disabilities, often require specialized services provided by an array of highly-skills professionals,” said Mason. “Without access to these services, educational progress and long-term outcomes may be negatively impacted. Unfortunately, there is a shortage of speech language pathologists and behavior analysts specifically trained to provide services in schools. IPE-SHINES will address this shortage.”

Eleven scholars will graduate with a Master’s in Speech Language Pathology and 11 with a Master’s in Educational Studies with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. All scholars will complete field-specific coursework as well as interprofessional coursework, professional practice seminars, interprofessional practicum experiences, and scholarly activity.

Mason said that in addition to training more BCBAs and SLPs specifically prepared for working in schools, IPE-SHINES will also focus on enhancing skills for interprofessional collaboration and implementing culturally responsive practices. “Given the expertise in interprofessional collaboration, IPE-SHINES scholars will positively impact our children but also have the potential to improve interdisciplinary service delivery for teachers and other related service providers.”

 “Scholars will learn with and from each other taking small steps to propel these two professions into family-centered, collaborative practice,” explained Loudermill. “Children with high intensity needs benefit most when professionals are first, keenly aware of the individual differences that make each child/family unique and second, when they collaborate to provide cohesive services rooted in evidence specifically designed to meet the needs of the families they serve.”

Sources: Dr. Rose Mason, rmason3@purdue.edu, (765) 494-7238

Dr. Chenell Loudermill, clouder@purdue.edu, (765) 496-0151