Research & Results

We’re committed to evidence-based research and peer reviews that provide information to help improve educational outcomes for students, teachers, and leaders in the classroom, school, and district levels.


Austin & Lily curriculum materials and instructional strategies are carefully researched and follow best practices.

The development of Austin & Lily materials was inspired by knowledge gained from insight on personal and professional experiences, and research on the impact intellectual disabilities have on learning and cognition, reading instruction, speech and language instruction, and the development of self-determination skills.

The curriculum materials were written and designed by the founders, Janet Giel-Romo, Ed.D. and Stephanie Talomie-Best M.A. Each have a teen-aged child with Down syndrome, both have taught special education, and both hold graduate degrees in special education. Janet’s dissertation, which can be found on Proquest, is a study on the Inclusion of Students with Down Syndrome. The findings include the need for better instructional materials, and more training on the application of Specially Designed Instruction (SDI).

Understanding Learning Needs:

Learning involves Input, processing, filing, and retrieving. Students with intellectual disabilities have trouble with all parts of this process. If information is not filed in long-term memory, it can’t be retrieved. If it can’t be retrieved, it cannot be used. If it’s not useable, no gains have been made. This is why we not only created the materials, but we teach instructional strategies that support learners in filing information in long-term memory.

Tremendous effort has been put forth in the design process to effectively address both academic growth and functional skills.

An annotated bibliography is forthcoming.