Promoting Healthy Child Development

This is ORI’s largest research area. Researchers in this area examine the role that families, schools, friends, neighborhoods, and communities play in promoting the positive development of children, teens, and young adults. The research teams study what leads to social and academic success as well as what leads to problem behaviors, such as substance use and school failure. ORI scientists work with schools and parents to refine and adapt evidence-based programs such as literacy strengthening, social skills programs, and parent training programs.

Current Research

Fostering Social and Academic Success in School and Community Settings

Many factors influence how well a child does in school. ORI scientists address many of these by designing effective reading and math curricula, teaching children appropriate social behavior, and working with school staff to ensure that the school climate promotes academic and social excellence.

Current ProjectsMore

Parenting and Family Strengthening for Healthy Child Development

Research shows that children’s behavior improves when parents are actively involved in their children’s lives. ORI researchers have identified several successful parenting programs and are leaders in working towards wide-spread adoption of these practices. Much of ORI’s work has now been tested for use on the Internet.

Promoting Positive Youth Development through Healthy Communities

ORI researchers help community leaders provide youth with the best possible environment for growing up healthy and happy. ORI’s work in this area began over twenty years ago with the promotion of anti-tobacco, pro-social activities in Oregon towns and cities. The research has expanded to include working with community leaders to address topics such as crime, poverty, and health disparities.

Meeting Special Needs

Researchers at ORI’s Applied Computer Simulations Lab develop and test virtual reality education and rehabilitation programs for disabled individuals. The programs are used to help blind and deaf-blind children learn to safely cross streets and to train children to drive motorized wheelchairs. This pioneering use of virtual reality technology has large implications for other adaptations in the area of rehabilitation.