Current Projects

(Updated 2/21/2022)

ParaImpact: Professional Development with Teacher-as-Coach for Paraeducators of Elementary Students with Moderate-to-Severe Developmental Disabilities: A Randomized Control Trial – In data collection

The purpose of this project is to develop ParaImpact, a professional development package to train supervising teachers to utilize practice-based coaching to train their paraeducators to implement systematic instruction for elementary students with moderate-to-severe developmental disabilities (MSDD). The development of ParaImpact will address this research-to-practice gap, providing a mechanism for teachers to supervise, train, and evaluate paraeducators’ delivery of effective instructional practices for students with MSDD. Funded by the Institute of Educational Science.

Individualized Professional Development for Special Educators Supporting Students with Challenging Behavior: A Preliminary Evaluation of the Performance Diagnostic Checklist – Schools – In data collection

The purpose of this study is to conduct a preliminary evaluation of the use of an adapted version of the Performance Diagnostic Checklist – Human Services (PDC-HS; Carr et al., 2013) called Performance Diagnostic Checklist – Schools, or PDC-S, to be used for identifying specific barriers preventing special education teachers from implementing evidence-based practices with students who engage in challenging behavior in the classroom. Results of the checklist will be used to develop an individualized professional development (PD) package for teacher participants. We will measure the impact of the individualized PD package on teachers’ fidelity of an evidence-based behavior intervention and, subsequently, the effects on student challenging and prosocial behavior. Funded by the Association for Positive Behavior Support.

Exploration of Attentional Strengths and Weaknesses of College Students with Autism in STEM Majors: Impact on Access and Participation in Active Learning – In data collection

The purpose of this project is to acquire a clear understanding of factors that support or impede students with Autism in STEM programs to success. This exploratory investigation aims to identify interactions between the characteristics and behaviors of individuals with Autism and environmental factors and how these interactions support or hinder access to college instruction. This will be accomplished through translational research involving neuropsychological assessment, experimental and psychophysiological measures of attentional strengths and weaknesses, and direct observation in natural settings. Funded by Launch the Future incentive grant from College of Education.

Asynchronous Training of Service Providers in Trial-Based Functional Analysis – In data collection

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects and generalization of asynchronous training methods to teach board-certified behavior analysts to conduct trial-based functional analyses.

Fathers of Children with Autism: Perceptions of Provider Supports – In data collection

This qualitative study is evaluating the perceptions of fathers of children with autism around the potential strengths, barriers, and support needs in their interactions with early childhood service providers.

Exploring Special Education Teachers’ Perspectives on Preference Assessments – In data collection

This qualitative study will explore the opinions and perspectives of special education teachers on their prior training, use, and importance of preference assessments.

An Asynchronous Video-Based Training with Video Self-Monitoring to Train Preference Assessments – In data collection

The purpose of this study is to evaluate an asynchronous training method for preference assessment procedures. Behavior technicians will learn how to conduct three different preference assessments by watching a training video and self-recordings of their preference assessment implementation.

Telehealth Parent Training for Fathers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder – Manuscript in preparation

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the effects of a telehealth-delivered early communication intervention for fathers of young children with autism who are minimally verbal. The study will coach fathers to use Enhanced Milieu Teaching (EMT) strategies, which promote early communication by children during natural play routines that occur in the home.

ASD On-the-Go – Manuscript in preparation

ASD On The Go is a multi-component intervention for adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), created by the University of Kansas, in partnership with Purdue University. The intervention is individualized and focuses on enhancing social communication, organization/planning, and problem-solving skills. Individuals with ASD will receive support through three components: (1) online instructional modules, (2) coaching, and (3) self-monitoring. ASD On The Go is most appropriate for increasing engagement in community, employment, and school settings. Current projects include exploring the effects of instructional modules plus telecoaching to improve conversational skills with peers in natural settings.

ParaImpact: Special Education Teacher-as-Coach for Paraeducator Implementation of Systematic Instruction, Pilot Studies- Manuscript in preparation

Special educators are responsible for supervising and training paraeducators, however, they are often unprepared to do so. The purpose of these single-case research design pilot studies was to evaluate the effects and feasibility of online modules plus special educator-delivered practice-based coaching on paraeducators’ implementation of four systematic instructional skills: environmental arrangement, prompting, error correction, and reinforcement. Funded by the Institute of Educational Science.

Pyramidal Training to Implement Class-wide Function Related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT): A Participatory Action Research Follow-up – Manuscript in preparation

This project is a continuing participatory action research (PAR) project with an elementary school. Working closely and collaboratively with a public elementary school, Purdue researchers trained two in-house school-based coaches to use practice-based coaching to teach general education teachers to implement Class-wide Function Related Intervention Teams (CW-FIT), a group contingency classroom management procedure to improve student on-task behavior. The purpose of this study was to build the capacity of general education teachers to manage student behavior to improve inclusive opportunities for students with or at-risk for disabilities.

Effects of Practice-Based Coaching via Telehealth on Parent Implementation of Functional Communication Training – Manuscript in preparation

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of telehealth-delivered training and coaching for parents of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities who engage in challenging behavior. In collaboration with Psychological Sciences at Purdue University and Indiana University School of Medicine.

“Delivered Right to Your Own Home” Stakeholders’ Perspectives on an At-Home Autism Likelihood Assessment – Manuscript in preparation

This qualitative study is examining the perceptions of autistic parents and parents of children with autism, genetic disorders, and/or families who live in environmental risk areas. The study aims to assess the willingness, concerns, and supports needed for families to complete an at-home autism likelihood assessment kit. This is a Purdue Autism Research Center (PARC) project in collaboration with the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

Supporting Teachers in Evidence-Based Practices using Practice-Based Coaching (STEP2) – Manuscript in preparation

STEP2 is a professional development program that incorporates behavioral skills training and practice-based coaching to support special education teachers in addressing challenging behavior. Current studies evaluate STEP2 on teacher use of functional behavior assessments, teacher implementation of function-based interventions, and teacher coaching of paraprofessionals. Funded by the Clifford B. Kinley Trust and the Purdue Research Foundation.

A University and Elementary School Research Collaboration to Improve Special Education – Manuscript under review

The purpose of this study is to better understand stakeholder perceptions and practices of special education at a Midwestern public elementary school while they consider changes to building configurations and operations. This PAR project was initiated by the school principal and a joint decision-making approach has been implemented across all aspects of the project including the development of the purpose, research questions, information gathering, measures, and recruitment. Information gathered through this study will be used by the school administration to make decisions regarding future improvements in special education programming.