Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
Marisa Fisher is an associate professor of special education and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst - Doctoral (BCBA-D). She is the co-director of the MSU Center for Services, Training and Research for Independence and Desired Employment, or STRIDE. As a scholar, she evaluates the social outcomes of adolescents and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), including those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Williams syndrome (WS) and other genetic conditions that result in intellectual disability (ID).
She has two primary areas of research. First, she studies risk factors and experiences related to friendship outcomes and social victimization among adolescents and adults with IDD; and she designs community-based interventions to increase social competence and acceptance and to decrease social vulnerability and victimization of individuals with IDD. Specifically, her research focuses on understanding and decreasing social vulnerability among individuals with IDD and supporting the social acceptance of individuals with IDD in the community. She is interested in measuring the various types of victimization experienced by individuals with IDD and on designing interventions to decrease vulnerability. She has studied victimization in the form of child abuse, bullying, stranger danger and exploitation across the lifespan. She uses the principles of applied behavior analysis and single subject research methods to design interventions to teach self-protection to individuals with IDD.
Second, she employs a community-based participatory research approach and various methodologies to engage stakeholders to improve school-to-work transition and ensure young adults with IDD have the work-related social and job-readiness skills necessary to secure and maintain competitive, community-based employment. She and her students provide support and evidence-based practices to prepare high school students with IDD to transition from school to work. Her research examines the behavioral supports necessary to promote success in the work and community environment and student outcomes. She currently has a research grant from the Institute of Education Sciences to examine the impact of work-related social skills and job readiness instruction on employment outcomes for students in the school-to-work transition program Project SEARCH.
Dr. Fisher is the co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities and serves on the editorial boards for American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, and Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.