UMass Dartmouth professor Dr. Sheila Macrine has received a three-year, $600,000 grant from the Qatar National Research Fund to research how to adapt a U.S.-based assessment tool to serve blind and visually impaired pre-school children who speak Arabic. She will collaborate with Al Noor Training Centre for Children with Special Needs and serve as the lead principal investigator.
With this grant, Dr. Macrine, a cognitive psychologist who chairs the Department of Teaching and Learning, will develop an assessment scale that will help to identify cognitive developmental delays or deficits in visually impaired children who may benefit from early intervention.
This project will utilize an adaptation of an English language learning tool, the Oregon Project -- which is the most comprehensive assessment and curriculum program available for visually impaired children -- to determine skill and performance levels of children who are blind or visually impaired and who speak Arabic.
Developed countries typically offer this kind of screening as part of children's health programs, but at present there are no developmental assessment for this population of children in the Arabic-speaking world.
Dr. Macrine's project aims to train both psychologists and teachers to evaluate the cognitive development of these children. These evaluations will enable educators and institutions to create individualized education plans for the children and their families -- starting in Qatar, but ideally expanding to other populations throughout the Gulf region.
This isn't the first honor for Macrine's work. Her most recent book, Critical Pedagogy in Uncertain Times: Hope and Possibilities was awarded a Citation of Merit by the McLaren Foundation.