B.A. Kalamazoo College
My current research interests primarily focus on the implementation and evaluation of psychoeducational interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). At GVSU, I am involved in three studies in this area. One of these studies involves evaluating the progress of students with ASD who are participating in a public preschool program. This area of research is becoming increasingly significant as legal standards in education now require schools to provide evidence of positive outcomes. Therefore, the results of this study may have significant impact, both locally on determining the appropriateness of services provided by this program, and from a broader framework, by adding to the few recently emerging studies evaluating outcomes for public preschool programs educating children with ASD. The final two ongoing research studies focus on methods to develop social and play skills in young children with ASD. Reciprocal imitation is a child-directed approach that involves imitating the play behaviors exhibited by the child with autism. This procedure has been shown to increase appropriate play, eye contact and social responsiveness in children with autism; however, a majority of the research in this area has focused on teaching parents, particularly mothers, to engage in reciprocal imitation. For this study, we are evaluating whether there are benefits to teaching age-typical peers to model the social-play behaviors of children with ASD. The final of these studies focuses on evaluating procedures used to teach higher level social and play skills in children with ASD. This study will be conducted with children who already demonstrate the ability to imitate, and will involve a comparison of two methods for teaching social-play skills, discrete trial training and video modeling.
Page last modified May 21, 2014