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Lehigh to lead $9.6M national research center for serious behavior disorders
Date:7/9/2008

BETHLEHEM, PA (July 9, 2008)Dr. Lee Kern, program coordinator and professor of special education at Lehigh University's College of Education in Bethlehem, Pa., will lead researchers at seven universities in establishing the National Research and Development Center on Serious Behavior Disorders at the Secondary Level.

The researchers have received a highly competitive $9.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to create the centera collaboration among special education and mental health experts. Over the course of five years, they will study a range of interventions designed specifically for high-school students suffering from intensive behavioral disorders. The study will be the largest of its kind to focus exclusively on the high school population.

Lehigh's Kern is the lead author of the grant application and is its principal investigator (PI). The grant is the largest ever awarded to a faculty member at Lehigh's College of Education and falls under the auspices of the college's Center for Promoting Research to Practice, a research center whose goal is to disseminate information and best practices to the special education community and into the nation's schools.

"Over 50 percent of high school students with severe behavioral issues never make it to graduation. It's a societal issue that, unfortunately, has never been identified as a national priority," says Kern. "These serious behavior problems are typically misunderstood. The center will be successful if our collaborative efforts can help find ways that students diagnosed with these challenges can become productive and contributing members of society."

Conservative estimates indicate that two to three percent of all school-aged children demonstrate severe behavioral disorders, and far more experience mental health problems, but it is believed that only a small number of those receive proper services to address their issues. The disorders may include aggres
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Contact: Tom Yencho
yenchot@lehigh.edu
610-758-3172
Lehigh University
Source:Eurekalert

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