Research and Grants

The Department of Special Education & Communicative Disorders current Research and Grants developed and overseen by our faculty and project coordinators.

  • Spencer Research Grant
    Dr. Betty Yu and Dr. Summer Hsia received funding for a Spencer Research Grant. The grant will be a 2 year longitudinal study of how young children with autism spectrum disorders communicate within Chinese-English bilingual environments, the beliefs and management goals that parents have around bilingualism, and how those beliefs and goals are shaped by interactions with professionals.
  • Statewide Training and Technical Assistance Project: California Deaf Blind Services

    Dr. Pam Hunt, Project Director, and Maurice Belote, Project Coordinator, received $2.87 million from the U.S. Department of Education from 10/1/13 – 9/30/18 to fund a statewide project to provide training and technical assistance to students who are deaf-blind, their families, and their educational team members. Educational teams serving students who are deaf-blind are encouraged to contact Maurice Belote ( for more information about project services and to review the resources available on the CDBS website.

    Moderate Severe Disabilities Grant Coordinators

    Dr. Hunt and instructors in the Moderate-Severe Disabilities Program collaborated to create and lead two semesters of interactive  seminars and additionally provided a variety of fieldwork and internships experiences to seven selected student teachers in the program. The hard work of these students was acknowledged and celebrated at a closing ceremony on August 18, 2015.

    Photo: First row seated L-R: Hillary Trainor, Mary Gomez, Sara McGee, Jessica Coop
    Second row L-R: Maurice Belote, CDBS Program Coordinator, Julie Maier, CDBS Educational Specialist, Edith Arias, Dr. Pam Hunt, Kayla Kenton, Dana Zimplemann, David Brown, CDBS Educational Specialist

  • Research Project Grant

    Dr. Pam Hunt, Principal Investigator, received $2.75 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Education from 9/1/15-8/31/18. Dr. Hunt's research is on implementing an emergent literacy program for students with severe intellectual disabilities and autism. Designed to replicate and extend the investigation begun in previous studies of the Early Literacy Skills Builder (ELSB) program in special class settings, this project proposes to study the effects of using ELSB in general classroom settings. Co-Principal Investigator, Elizabeth Kozleski, EdD, Department of Special Education, University of Kansas. Contact Dr. Hunt for more information by email,

  • Personnel Preparation Grant: Communicative Disorders

    Dr. Gloria Soto, Project Director, received $1.25 million in funding for this personnel preparation grant for a total of five years. The personnel preparation grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education. The title of the project is "Project Building Bridges: Preparing Highly Qualified Speech-Language Pathologists to Serve Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Children with AAC Needs.” Co-Project Director, Patti Solomon-Rice, Ph.D. CCC-SLP, Program Evaluator, Dr. Nancy Robinson, Ph.D. CCC-SLP. For more information contact Dr. Soto by email,

  • Personnel Preparation Grant: Innovations in Orientation & Mobility (O&M)

    Dr. Sandy Rosen, Project Director, received $727,642 in funding for this personnel preparation grant from the USDE (RSA) from 2014-2019. The personnel preparation grant prepares O&M specialists with specialized skills to serve people who have multiple disabilities including traumatic brain injury. For further information contact Dr. Rosen by email,

  • Collaborative Partnership to Prepare Teachers to Serve Students Who are Deaf-Blind

    Dr. Pam Hunt, Project Director, received $1 million in funding for this personnel preparation project from the US Department of Education/Office of Special Education Programs from 2014-2018.  The project will establish an innovative partnership with staff at California Deaf-Blind Services to prepare highly qualified teachers to serve students with deaf-blindness in integrated educational settings and to work effectively with their families.  Students currently enrolled in the Moderate-Severe Program at SFSU are eligible to apply to participate and to receive stipend funding.  Contact Dr. Hunt for more information at

  • Project PETT: Preparing Effective Transition Teachers of Students with Visual Impairments
    Directed by Dr. Summer Hsia and funded by the US Department of Education (2013-2017), Project PETT is designed to alleviate the shortage of special education, related services, and early intervention personnel available to serve infants, toddlers, and children with visual impairments, including those with multiple disabilities. Students currently enrolled in the VI Credential Program at SFSU are eligible to apply to participate and to receive stipend funding.  Contact Dr. Hsia for more information at
  • Conversation-based Intervention in AAC
    Dr. Gloria Soto was awarded a three year grant (2012-2015) by the National Institutes of Health to investigate intervention methods for vocabulary and grammatical development in children with severe motor-speech disorders who use AAC. The objective of the research is to better understand the contexts and mechanisms that support vocabulary and grammatical acquisition for children who use AAC due to severe communication impairments. Students who are interested in participating in Dr. Soto's research may contact her at
  • CIRCLE Grant
    The ECSE program at San Francisco State University has been awarded a 5-year grant (2014-2018) from the Department of Education called CIRCLE (Careers and Inclusive Resources related to Children's Learning in the Early Years). The co-directors of the project are Drs. Amber Friesen and Marci Hanson.This grant will fund a stipend program for scholars accepted into the ECSE credential or master/credential program. For more information click here. Contact Dr. Friesen through email at
  • Project Common Ground (PCG)
    PCG is a personnel preparation project supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (2012-2016). The co-directors of the project are Drs. Betty Yu and Pamela Wolfberg. The purpose of Project Common Ground is to prepare speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to work effectively with diverse children on the autism spectrum from birth to 21 years across home, school and community settings. For more information, refer to Project Common Ground. Contact Dr. Betty Yu for more information at