The Reading and Academic Development (RAD) Center was established in 2015 to better understand and support the academic and educational needs of school-age children with learning and developmental difficulties pertaining to reading.
The RAD Center team provides assessment and intervention services designed to help children who are experiencing difficulty with word decoding, reading fluency, and/or reading comprehension. These services are provided to the community on a sliding scale fee basis with the goal that they can be affordable for all.
The faculty, staff and students at the RAD Center also conduct and disseminate leading-edge, evidence-based research on an array of reading difficulties.
There are seven million exceptional children with special needs in our American school system, such as children with autism spectrum development. They have the right to appropriate and comparable educational opportunities. Truly meeting the needs of these children requires a commitment to integrating advances in educational science, neuroscience, and social policy.
Nicole Sparapani is an assistant professor in the School of Education, and she also holds a faculty appointment at the UC Davis MIND Institute. Her research interests center around the development and evaluation of effective educational practices for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Sparapani practiced as a certified speech-language pathologist on an interdisciplinary team serving preschool children with ASD for several years before pursuing her Ph.D. in Communication Science and Disorders at Florida State University and postdoctoral training at Arizona State University.
Elise Spang is a literacy coach and project coordinator for the Reading RULES project at the UC Davis Reading and Academic Development Center. She also serves as a regional literacy specialist and presenter for the Superkids Reading Program and Zaner-Bloser. Previously, she served as a reading specialist and an elementary school teacher in New York, Massachusetts and abroad. She has been trained in Reading RULES, Superkids, Wilson Reading, Wilson Fundations, and the Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing Program.
Deanne Castaneda is a project coordinator and intervention coach for the Reading RULES project at the UC Davis Reading and Academic Development Center. She has 28 years of experience in the field of education and has served as a classroom teacher, Language Arts Resource Teacher, English Learner Resource Teacher, and Student Support Teacher for the North Sacramento and Twin Rivers unified school districts. She received her bachelor’s degree in Human Development from the University of California, Davis and her teaching credential from California State University, Sacramento.
Katherine Lacy earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Human Development from UC Davis in 2016. She helps coordinate all of our undergraduate research assistants and reading tutors, administers assessments, and assists with writing for formal reports. Previously, she served as the lead research assistant for the RAD Center supervising other undergraduate research assistants involved with multiple projects.
Akemi Joe earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UC Davis in 2014. She brings with her an extensive knowledge of the campus from her previous work at the School of Education Student Services, Office of the Chancellor and Provost, and Design and Construction Management. She manages the front office and communicates with interested families. She handles all of the initial inquiries and assists with community outreach to advertise the center’s clinical services.