UMass Dartmouth professor's work with the blind in Qatar earns 1st prize at international conference

UMass Dartmouth Professor Sheila Macrine wins 1st Prize Award for "Best Research in Social Science, Arts and Humanities" at Qatar Foundation International Annual Research Conference of 2014

UMass Dartmouth Professor Sheila Macrine received the 1st Prize Award for "Best Research in Social Science, Arts and Humanities" at the 2014 Qatar Foundation International Annual Research Conference (ARC'14). Dr. Macrine earned the research excellence award for her recent work on adapting a developmental assessment tool for Arabic speaking children who are blind or visually impaired.

The tool consists of 835 behavioral statements that are developmentally sequenced into eight areas: cognitive, language, social, vision, compensatory, self-help, fine motor, and gross motor.

According to the World Health Organization, developmental screening has become an established component of child health programs in many developed countries. Not only is early identification of developmental disorders critical to the well-being of children, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that the implementation of developmental screening can also be very useful in the identification of otherwise undiagnosed developmental delays or to rule-out Autism. Yet there is a lack of developmental assessments for children who are blind or visually impaired, and the situation is even more limited when evaluating of young children with visual impairments who speak languages other than English. Professor Macrine's research is addressing this need.

"My research is committed to the development of accessible assessments for all children and this research project has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life," said Dr. Macrine. "Developmental assessment is essential for normal seeing kids to determine if they are meeting developmental milestones within normal limits."

Professor Macrine recently traveled to Doha, Qatar to the Al Noor Institute for Visually Impaired to continue work on her three year $600,000 research grant to help adapt a new developmental assessment tool to serve Arabic-speaking preschool children. As a cognitive psychologist in UMass Dartmouth's STEM Education and Teacher Development departments, Dr. Macrine was grateful for the opportunity to train their psychologists on this new tool.

Dr. Macrine's research focuses on teaching and assessing culturally and linguistically diverse students. She has published numerous articles on diverse learners and recently published four books on critical pedagogy.

UMass Dartmouth distinguishes itself as a vibrant, public research university dedicated to engaged learning and innovative research resulting in personal and lifelong student success. The University serves as an intellectual catalyst for economic, social, and cultural transformation on a global, national, and regional scale.

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