Dr. Emily Bouck’s research focuses on (a) in-school supports for students with disabilities in terms of achievement and outcomes, both academics and life skills, and (b) the relationship between in-school supports and services and post-school outcomes for students with disabilities. Emily’s research regarding in-school supports emphases technology – both technology as an accommodation (e.g., a calculator and text-to-speech) as well as technology as a means of instructional delivery (e.g., an iPad to deliver life skills instruction on grocery shopping and digital textbooks). Emily’s research involving the relationship between in-school supports and services and post-school outcomes primarily comprises her secondary analyses of the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2).
Dr. Bouck’s current project include:
• Secondary data analysis of the NLTS2 relative to exploring (a) post-school services received by secondary students with mild intellectual disability and the relationship between receipt of those services and post-school outcomes, (b) post-school outcomes of students with autism spectrum disorder, and (c) the receipt of in-school services and supports by students with intellectual disability across elementary and secondary education
• Secondary data analysis exploring the relationship between accommodation provision and student achievement on standardized assessments
• Comparing app-based virtual and concrete manipulatives in supporting elementary-aged students with autism spectrum disorder
• Exploring calculators as an accommodation to support secondary students with disabilities in mathematics classes
Carol Sue Englert
Summer Ferreri’s primary research focus is educational outcomes of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). She is currently working on a project that is investigating the status of education for students with ASD across the state of Michigan by surveying special educators, general educators, paraprofessionals and parents; in addition to conducting observations in classrooms throughout the state. She is also part of a project that is studying the effects of a program designed to teach teachers, to teach parents, to increase social-communication behaviors of their children with ASD. Additionally, she is working to evaluate public and private treatment programs for children with ASD by assessing skill acquisition using a standardized assessment tool.
Dr. Ferreri utilizes the concepts and principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and single-subject research methodology to investigate efficacious interventions for individuals with ASD. She has previously implemented and evaluated interventions designed to decrease behaviors such as disruptive, aggressive, self-stimulatory, self-injurious, and pica behavior. In addition to conduction and analyzing interventions to increase behaviors such as academic readiness behaviors, play skills, social skills and language development and communication through the use of Verbal Behavior, Picture Exchange Communication and functional analyses.
In Their Own Words: Understanding Peer Experiences for People with Disabilities
Individuals with disabilities are 1 to 1.5 times more likely to experience peer victimization compared to the national average (Blake et al., 2012). Individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) experience higher rates of victimization (57%) compared to those with autism spectrum disorder (46%), speech/language impairment (47%), and learning disabilities (49%; Sterzing et al., 2012). While these data make it relatively clear that individuals with ID are more likely to experience peer victimization, less information is available concerning the specific experiences of victimization they face or the ways they respond. Previous studies examining peer victimization have often relied on parent/teacher report or self-report questionnaires. While these questionnaires assist with determining the prevalence of victimization, they do not provide details about the specific experiences of victimization. This study addresses the need to understand the experiences of peer victimization faced by individuals with ID, through conducting individualized interviews. These interviews will ask participants with ID to discuss their friendships, specific instances of bullying or victimization that they have experienced, ways in which they responded, and ways they acted to protect themselves from future situations. The goal of this project is to better understand the specific bullying experiences faced by youth with disabilities and to understand how they respond to these situations. I will then work with these youth to develop ways to decrease bullying.
Principal Investigators: Marisa Fisher and Megan Griffin (University of New Mexico)
Exploring the LINKS Experience in High School
Many public high schools across Michigan participate in a program called Peer to Peer, in which students without disabilities are paired with students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and other disabilities to help support these students in general education classrooms. In this study, I conduct focus groups with students who serve as LINKS to students with ASD to better understand the experiences of serving as a peer support for students with ASD. Students without disabilities participate in group interviews about why they chose to be in the program and what they have experienced since starting the Peer to Peer Program. Questions focus on attitudes toward individuals with ASD and other disabilities, experiences they’ve had with students with ASD and other disabilities in the classroom, negative interactions they may have witnessed between other students without disabilities toward the students with ASD and other disabilities, and the benefits they have experienced through being in the Peer to Peer Program. This research will help us to understand how the Peer to Peer Program helps to change attitudes toward students with disabilities and will help us to better understand experiences of victimization toward students with disabilities, as witnessed by their typically developing peers.
Principal Investigator: Marisa Fisher
Comparing Sociability in Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Compared to those without disabilities, some individuals with disabilities are said to be extremely social, with an overwhelming desire to walk up to and talk to strangers; while others are said to avoid social interactions. The social behaviors of some people might lead them to be more or less socially vulnerable and at risk of exploitation. This study compares the social behaviors and vulnerabilities of individuals with and without disabilities. The purpose of the study is to better understand the social behaviors of people with and without disabilities as perceived and reported by their parents/guardians. This is an online study, in which parents/caregivers are asked to fill out questionnaires about their son/daughter’s background, social behaviors, and how their son/daughter does in different social situations. These questionnaires take about 30 minutes to complete. If you are interested in participating, please click here to access to the Approachability and Sociability Questionnaire.
Principal Investigator: Marisa Fisher
For more information contact Marisa Fisher
Dr. Mariage has recently participated in two research projects with Dr. Carol Sue Englert and Dr. Cynthia Okolo that have examined content area literacy instruction in inclusive middle grade classrooms. The focus of both projects has been to develop curricular interventions that support teachers and their students as they engage with rigorous content. On the ACCEL Project, teachers utilized evidenced-based interventions related to at least four areas of intervention research:
- learning-to-learn strategies for accessing curriculum,
- cognitive strategies for comprehending and composing expository text,
- text structures as thinking devices,
- pedagogical approaches to support socio-cognitive apprenticeships in classrooms.
Special attention is paid to developing intervention fidelity in instructional settings that emphasize the orchestration of multi-component frameworks across an entire inquiry process. The ACCELerate Project then extends the ACCEL project by moving the elements of the curricular approach to a web-based environment. Finally, Dr. Mariage is continuing his work on cultural elements related to schools as learning organizations for all their inhabitants. This study examines the notion of school re-culturing from sociocultural and critical perspectives.
Dr. Okolo’s current projects focus on the use of technology-based environments to improve teaching and learning in content-area classrooms. Her current work includes:
- The Virtual History Museum, in which a research team is evaluating the use of a web-based set of tools to improve history learning for middle school students with mild disabilities;
- A subcontract with the National Center for the Study of Supported Electronic Text, for which a research team is examining the use of text-to-speech tools to improve students’ comprehension of social studies texts; and
- Project PAL, a collaboration with Freedom Scientific, the goal of which is to produce the prototype of a literacy software tool that improves students’ content area literacy, including text comprehension and study skills.
The Early Learning Institute (ELI) is an early intensive behavioral intervention program for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) located within the renowned Child Development Laboratory Preschool. The Early Learning Institute offers intensive 1:1 instruction, dyadic or small group instruction, and inclusive behavior analytic instruction, where children with ASD can learn and generalize skills among their neurotypical peers. The ELI curriculum targets pivotal developmental milestones including imitation, joint attention, observational learning, social initations, functional communication, play, and independence, as well as early academic skills including language, early literacy and numeracy, matching, and group learning. In addition to examining the overall efficacy of the ELI curriculum, the Institute is home to several applied intervention research studies investigating methods to assess and teach observational learning repertoires, optimal approaches to language instruction, strategies for increasing physical activity, and procedures for training parents to administer naturalistic behavioral interventions to children.
Investigators: Josh Plavnick, Kate LaLonde, Marisa Fisher, Kristin Rispoli, & Brooke Ingersoll
Doctoral Research Assistant: Ana Duenas
Undergraduate Research Assistants: Anjana Nair & Erica Lydey
Computer-based Reading Instruction for Children with ASD
Learning to read is a critical skill for children, though reading instruction is often under-emphasized for children with moderate to severe autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In addition, very little is known about how these children interact with text or how reading instruction may need to be modified and adapted to meet their needs. The purpose of this project is to administer daily reading curricula, consisting of computer-based and teacher-led instruction, to children with moderate to severe ASD. Researchers will use state-of-the-art technologies to evaluate the effects of the reading program on participants’ reading engagement, performance, and related outcomes.
Investigators: Josh Plavnick, Julie Thompson, Carol Sue Englert, Troy Mariage, & Lori Skibbe
Doctoral Research Assistant: Savana Bak
Undergraduate Research Assistant: Hannah Goodell
Dr. Gary Troia, with colleagues Froma Roth and Colleen Worthington, has authored a phonological awareness intervention program for young at risk children and children with disabilities called Promoting Awareness of Speech Sounds (PASS), published by Attainment Company. This program is the culmination of a decade of development and research in clinical and school settings. Watch the video below to learn more about PASS!
Dr. Troia is completing a five-year project funded by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences that examines the content of states’ writing standards and assessments, how well that content reflects evidence-based writing instruction and assessment practices, the degree to which state standards and assessments converge with the new Common Core State Standards for writing and language and the next generation assessments for the core standards, and the degree to which alignment between the content of state standards and assessments predicts writing performance of 8th graders on the National Assessment of Educational Progress when controlling for state and student demographic variables and classroom instruction variables. Two recent Green & Write blog posts describe some of this work: