Children's Learning Institute
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The Children’s Learning Institute at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) is an institute that combines scholarship from the fields of education, psychology, neurodevelopment and medicine to create "proven learning solutions" for children based on Empirical research.
Susan H. Landry, Ph.D., the Albert & Margaret Alkek Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Development and Michael Matthew Knight Memorial Professor in Pediatrics at UTHealth, is the founder and director of the Children’s Learning Institute.
Prior to the creation of the Children’s Learning Institute, the Department of Developmental Pediatrics at UTHealth housed two nationally recognized centers: the Center for Academic and Reading Skills (CARS) and the Center for Improving the Readiness of Children for Learning and Education (CIRCLE).
Established in 1996, CARS was devoted to improving academic skills in children through research and implementation. CARS enhanced the educational experience of students by bringing evidence-based learning approaches to the classroom, developing teachers’ knowledge about the conditions under which students learn, and helping teachers assess students’ strengths and weaknesses, form instructional plans and monitor progress.
In the fall of 1999, Texas First Lady Laura Bush identified CIRCLE to lead then-Governor George W. Bush’s early childhood education initiative. CIRCLE was established as the state's premier center for early childhood education and focused on providing training to early childhood teachers and caregivers by positively impacting teachers’ skills in language and literacy. The goal was to help families and teachers assist young children in preparing for reading and learning before they entered kindergarten.
Texas Governor Rick Perry designated CIRCLE as the State Center for Early Childhood Development in 2003. Pleased with the changes occurring in participating early childhood classrooms, the 78th Legislature passed Senate Bill 76 that same year, appointing the State Center with the task of implementing the statewide school readiness demonstration research project known as the Texas Early Education Model (now known as Texas School Ready!).
To encourage the expansion of CARS, CIRCLE, and other initiatives, and to focus, develop and orchestrate the implementation of best practices statewide, The University of Texas System Board of Regents officially merged the two centers and their various programs in 2003, creating the Children’s Learning Institute.
The Children’s Learning Institute operates the following clinics:
- Dan L. Duncan Children's Neurodevelopmental Clinic – a fee-for-service clinic that provides developmental pediatrics and neuropsychology services to children and young adults with anxiety disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders, depression, genetic conditions, learning disabilities, traumatic brain injuries and other conditions.
- The Autism Center at the Children's Learning Institute – part of the Dan L. Duncan Children's Neurodevelopmental Clinic, its mission is to enhance opportunities for successful living for children with autism spectrum disorders by providing them with individualized, research-based assessment and clinical services.
- Center for Clinical Neurosciences – contributes to the enhancement of children's lives through innovative integration of education, child development and neuroscience models of cognition. This integration forms the backbone of the Children's Learning Institute’s bench-to-classroom models of assessment and intervention service delivery programs.
The Children’s Learning Institute oversees several programs: