College of Education News

Rosa Milagros Santos part of new IES grant to study men's parenting behaviors in families of children with disabilities

3/6/2012  8:00 am

Photo of Rosa Milagros SantosRosa Milagros Santos, associate professor in Special Education, is one of four investigators for a new Institute of Education Sciences (IES) grant that will examine men’s parenting behaviors in families of children with disabilities. The four investigators learned that their grant received $375,513 funding in late January. The principal investigator (PI) of the grant is Brent McBride, professor in Human and Community Development in ACES and director of the Child Development Lab.

Although a rapidly growing body of research has documented the impact of father involvement with typically developing children, little is known about how men approach parenting children with disabilities, and how their involvement impacts child, mother, and family well-being. The grant is funded for two years, from 2012-2014.

“Having support through this IES grant will allow my colleagues and me to continue this very important and timely line of research that will provide critical new insight on the impact of father involvement on maternal, child and family outcomes in families of children with disabilities,” McBride said. “Results will hold significant implications for both policy and practice in the early intervention field,” he added.

Santos said she was also thrilled to learn of the funding, which will allow for “a cross-disciplinary approach to understanding and building the knowledge base of men’s parenting behaviors and in particular, fathers of young children who have been diagnosed with a disability,” she said.

Investigators are also enthusiastic about how the grant will translate into the classroom:  “This grant gives us an opportunity to also model for our doctoral students on how to effectively work across disciplines,” Santos explained. “We talk a lot about the value of cross-disciplinary research but students have very few models to see it in action–this project serves as one model from which others can learn.”
Each faculty member involved in the project will support students from four different departments in two universities who have common interests in the content area and in the methodology used to conduct analysis.

The grant is a collaborative effort by three colleagues across the U of I campus, and one from Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah. Along with McBride (PI) and Santos (co-PI), other co-principal investigators include Sungjin Hong, assistant professor in the Department of Psychology (LAS), and W. Justin Dyer, assistant professor in the School of Family Life at BYU.