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Research Lab Activities

Unlocking the complexity and immense interconnectedness of the early childhood system of services is a major goal of the ECRDI.

To this end, we seek to understand many early childhood systems and how these various systems function together. 

Please have a look at some of our initiatives below.



Check out our efforts to extend the work of the National Early Childhood Transition Center (NECTC) and Project STEPS.

We focus on examining factors that promote successful transitions between infant/toddler programs, preschool programs, and public school programs for young children with disabilities and their families.


Kentucky Public Preschool Workforce Study

The Kentucky Public Preschool Workforce study was designed to complement the Kentucky Child Care Workforce study (Sherif, Rous, & Rojas, 2019) and allow for comparison across two early childhood sectors: child care and public preschool. To the extent possible, the survey instruments to collect data across both studies were aligned to allow for cross-sector comparison.

Teacher and Pupil
Family Using a Tablet


Family and Provider Perceptions of Tele-Intervention Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Exploring the perceptions of families and service providers who serve children with disabilities through Part C First Steps Early Intervention Services, regarding the move from in-person to tele-intervention services (e.g., physical or developmental therapy sessions) as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Provider and family perceptions were measured through online surveys, focused on the 1) impact of moving from in-person to tele-intervention services, with an emphasis on the types, frequency, and intensity of services provided; 2) advantages and disadvantages of participation in tele-intervention services; 3) influence of tele-intervention services on child progress; and 4) perceptions of providers who are service coordinators regarding families and providers who opted out of participating in tele-intervention services and why they chose not to participate.


Mapping Environmental Impacts on Infants/Toddlers with Disabilities

This study is using geospatial analysis to explore factors that impact health and disability of infants and toddlers. The sample includes infants and toddlers with disabilities served through the Kentucky First Steps program over a five year period beginning SFY 2012.  Exploratory factors include child care quality and environmental factors using digital geological and topographic maps available through the Kentucky Geological Survey.

Geography Lesson
Team work


Environmental Mapping and Social Network Analysis of Supports for Families of Young Children with Disabilities

This study is using Social Network Analysis to explore relationships and supports used by the primary caregiver of young children with disabilities transitioning from early intervention to preschool and from preschool to Kindergarten. Specifically, we will examine factors that impact the level and intensity of family supports such as SES, geographic setting, and level of disability of the child making the transition. This study will build on emerging evidence of the factors that impact caregivers' social networks and support.


Examining Language and Movement on the Playground

Using an explanatory correlation design, this study will explore how children from underserved backgrounds and those at-risk or with disabilities differ in (a) the frequency and amount of time spent on playground equipment (b) in levels of physical activity on the playground, and (c) the amount of talk and time spent around/on specific pieces of playground equipment.  In this study, movement data are collected using Ubisense (GPS) tracking and accelerometers and language data via LENA.

Children Playing on Bouncy Castle
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