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MSU receives the Families of Young Children with Special Needs Program grant

Morehead State University’s Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education (IECE) and Elementary Education programs received the Families of Young Children with Special Needs Program grant.  

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) awarded this grant. It allowed MSU to collaborate with families across its 22-county service region in regional school districts, the Special Parent Involvement Network (SPIN) and Head Start cooperatives.   

The University coordinated parent training and experiences for families to assist them in establishing early educational goals. It also provided materials, workshops and activities that equipped the families to work through introducing their children to early academic skills. Faculty and graduate students will offer multiple training courses to families at the district level to provide support.  

MSU faculty like Professor of Education and IECE Coordinator Dr. Mee-Ryoung Shon engaged with graduate student-teachers to increase parent awareness about early childhood interventions in strategies.   

“This funding builds a foundation in the life of young children with special needs. Faculty gets into the current real-world challenges and provide coaching, teachers provide individualized modeling sessions to each family, and families dive deep into educational play, which enhances their children’s learning,” Shon said. “This grant from KDE provides a steppingstone to formalize real partnerships on our team.”     

“I enjoyed getting the opportunity to work more one-on-one with my three students,” said Megan Maddox, a teacher at Mason County Preschool. “I have a lot of complex needs within my classroom, along with behaviors. This experience made it possible to work beyond that on Zoom and for more individualized, less rushed intervention to be provided. Families seemed engaged and we truly built wonderful relationships this way.”  

The program’s seven-month implementation in the 2021-2022 academic year resulted in increased language, interactions and attention span among students.    

“We are proud that this program has been supported by the KDE Office of Special Education and Early Learning for a second year,” said Dr. April Miller, dean of the Ernst and Sara Lane Volgenau College of Education.  

The IECE and Elementary Education programs are in the Department of Early Childhood, Elementary and Special Education in the Ernst Volgenau College of Education. To learn more about its programs, call 606-783-2162 or visit