Performance, Projects & Research


Iowa's Annual Performance Report (APR) is submitted annually to the US Department of Education's Office of Special Education (OSEP).  OSEP is responsible for the supervision of early intervention programs across the US.  The APR evaluates Iowa's efforts to implement the purpose and requirements of early intervention.  To view data on eight of the indicators submitted as part of Iowa's FFY18 APR submitted February 2020 by region, click here.  

Iowa's FFY17 APR can be viewed by clicking here

The State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) is the 11th indicator in the APR.  Below are the state of Iowa's Early ACCESS SSIPs submitted by the Iowa Department of Education.

State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) Phase III, Year 3 FFY 2017

State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) Phase III, Year 2 FFY 2016

State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) Phase III, Year 1 FFY 2015

State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) Phase II, FFY 2014.

State Systemic Improvement Plan (SSIP) Phase I, FFY 2013.

Research and Projects

Research on child development grows rapidly each year. With each new study, parents and professionals understand children better and learn how to teach them more appropriately. The studies listed below highlight areas of current research from Iowa's own research laboratories. Contact the research laboratories directly for specific information about findings from the studies.


Family Experiences During Pregnancy

Researchers from Hunter College, City University of New York and the University of North Carolina, Charlotte are looking to understand families’ experiences during pregnancy when they have a diagnosis that made them eligible for early intervention for infants and toddlers with or at risk for developmental delays or disabilities. We want to understand how early intervention programs might help families during pregnancy.

What Will We Do?

You will be asked a series of questions during a 45-60 minute interview. We will ask you about:

  • What helped you during your pregnancy
  • What else you might have wanted
  • How you think early intervention could help

Who Can Participate?

Families who:

  1. Are 18 years of age or older
  2. Have a child 8 years old or younger
  3. Were eligible for the Early Intervention program based on that child’s diagnosis and
  4. Knew that diagnosis during pregnancy

How Can I Participate?

Contact one of the following researchers leading the project:

Dr. Bonnie Keilty, Hunter College Email: Phone: 212-772-4709

Dr. JaneDiane Smith, University of North Carolina, Charlotte Email: Phone: 704-687-8850

Click here to view Research Opportunity Flyer

Spence Laboratories

Department of Psychology: University of Iowa

This study examines the relationship between brain development and how children think using behavioral and brain measures. The study hopes to develop understanding of the brain changes that underlie aspects of development from infancy into early childhood, including key changes in perceptual development, language development, and decision-making abilities.

  • Age: Children who are 3.5 years old (+/-3 weeks) or 4.5 years old (+/-3 weeks)
  • Activity: Decision making task comparing differences in simple pictures. The researchers will track the child's brain response through looking and pointing movements.

The InCoDe Lab

Department of Psychology: University of Iowa

This study examines how babies communicate and learn language. The study will work with monolingual English-speaking children with normal speech and hearing development.

  • Age: 14-24 month old babies
  • Activity: Babies will be shown a variety of toys to see how the infant communicates. After the interaction, the child may be shown the toys that she or he just saw, and may be asked some questions about those toys.

University of Iowa

Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders

Researchers study children throughout the state of Iowa ages 4-9 that have difficulty with past tense 'ed' verbs. The study tests the efficacy of two different generally accepted ways of providing treatment for this disorder.

  • Age: Children with language impairment who are between 4 years old and 9 years old
  • Activity: 12 week intervention and therapy which tests ways to teach children grammar

Iowa ACEs 360

The ACE Study

Between 1995-1997, a survey was taken by adult members of a group health insurance plan, the Kaiser Health Plan in San Diego, CA. Investigators Dr. Vincent Felitti (founder and chief of Kaiser Permanente's Preventive Medicine Department) and Dr. Robert Anda (CDC's Epidemic Intelligence Service) confirmed their suspected link between what's now known as Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and later behaviors and health outcomes.

It was the largest study ever done looking at short- and long-term impacts of childhood trauma. The study links childhood trauma with the adoption of serious health, social, and economic risks. It is now known as the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study.

Find Your ACE Score

Iowa is one of 19 states now measuring ACE data.

Results from the initial ACEs Study influenced many Iowa organizations, including Mid Iowa Health Foundation, the United Way of Central Iowa, the Iowa Department of Public Health, as well as many others, to form a taskforce (Iowa ACEs 360) and eventually implement an ACEs Study in Iowa. The study was initiated in 2012 as part of the annual Iowa Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

Check out the results of the survey at Iowa ACEs 360.

Programs across Iowa respond to ACEs research

Communities and organizations have been developing creative responses to address The ACE Study findings. Together these responses are creating a system that is working to prevent ACEs and to reduce and treat their effects among individuals, families and communities.

Join the conversation

If you know of additional studies highlighting child development or developmental disabilities in children, please contact Meghan Miller at

Last Updated: Feb 17, 2020