Lab Projects

Current 

Online Training for Paraeducators to Improve Communication Supports for Young Children with Complex Communication Needs 

Project Funding: Institute for Education Science

This project will include the creation, evaluation, and revision of an online training program for paraeducators and their supervising special education teachers to support the communication of young children with complex communication needs (CCN).

Online AAC Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic

This project explores online AAC service delivery by SLPs across the US during the COVID-19 pandemic using an online survey. Service delivery models, challenges, benefits, training support, and recommendations are explored. 

Caregiver experiences with their children with medical complexities 

This mixed-methods study investigates the experiences of caregivers of children with medical complexities. The survey and interview data will provide us with information regarding schooling for children with medical complexities, caregiver experiences in medical settings, and the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of this sample of caregivers. We hope to utilize this data to provide evidence-based recommendations to improve the quality of educational and medical care for these families.

Stay-Play-Talk Intervention via Telepractice for Typically Developing Siblings of Children with Disabilities

Siblings play an important role in the lives of children with disabilities. In this project, we will be implementing a sibling-mediated intervention via telepractice. Using a single-case research, we hope to investigate the relationship between the social behaviors by TD sibling and the child with DD, explore the strategies that support positive social behavior between TD sibling and their sibling with DD, also to describe the advantage and challenges in implementing intervention via telepractice for TD siblings of children with DD.

Indonesian Caregivers’ Perspective of Their Child’s AAC Use

This qualitative study aims to explore how Indonesian caregivers view the use of AAC by their child with autism.

Understanding the Experiences of Siblings of Individuals with ASD 

This project utilizes a qualitative meta-synthesis approach to summarize the literature and understand the experiences of siblings of individuals with ASD. Characteristics of the individual with ASD, family, and sibling are explored within the context of relationships and roles. Siblings express how they are shaped by this experience and discuss barriers, resources, and problem solving and coping techniques that can be used. 

Friendship Experiences of Children with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and their Peers

This project utilizes a qualitative meta-synthesis approach to summarize the literature and understand the friendship experiences of children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their peers. Definitions of friendship, experiences, barriers, facilitators, and benefits are discussed.

The Medical Experiences of Caregivers of Children with ASD

This project utilizes a qualitative meta-synthesis approach to summarize the literature and understand the medical experiences of caregivers and their children with ASD. The challenges faced obtaining medical care, positive experiences, and suggestions related to medical care for individuals with ASD are discussed. 

Review of AAC Research in Educational Settings 

This project utilizes a scoping review approach to summarize the AAC research literature and understand the settings in which this research takes place. The specific focus of interventions,  target populations, and setting locations are discussed. Recommendations for practice and future research are provided

Past 

A Telepractice Approach to Support Family Members in Implementing Aided Language Modeling  Spartan Logo

 

Project Funding: Faculty Initiative Funding (MSU Internal)

Single case research design was used to test the impact of a telepractice training for family members to support aided language modeling (ALM). The project included two families with parents, siblings, and extended family members. Findings showed an increase in high fidelity AAC modeling, and rate of AAC modeling for family members as well as an increase in independent communication turns for the child who uses AAC. 

Caregiver Experiences Transitioning from Early Intervention to Early Childhood Special Education

This project utilized a qualitative meta-synthesis approach to summarize the literature and understand the experiences of caregivers and the transition from early intervention to early childhood special education. Caregiver experiences reflected on the barriers and facilitators related to communication and relationships, interagency infrastructure, parent involvement, alignment and continuity, and transition practices.

Social Media Birth Stories from Mothers of Children with Down Syndrome

A qualitative analysis of publicly available birth stories of mothers of children with down syndrome available on popular social media platforms was conducted. Two major themes emerged: receiving the diagnosis and processing the diagnosis. Mothers express their experiences, challenges, and facilitators within these themes. 

The Training Experiences of AAC Practitioners in Michigan

This project included a focus group of AAC practitioners across Michigan to learn about their training experiences both to prepare them to support individuals who use AAC, and to support the communication partners of individuals who use AAC. 

Instructional Decision Making for Pre-Linguistic Communicators who use AAC: Expert Perspectives 

This project included a written online interview with AAC experts to learn about the instructional decision making processes they use when supporting the use of AAC for pre-linguistic communicators. 

Paraeducator Training and Supervision in Michigan: Current Practices, Policies, and Future Recommendations Helmet Logo

Project Funding: Michigan Applied Public Policy Research Grant (MSU Internal)

The aim of this project is to examine paraeducator training and supervision through surveys with administrators, teachers, and paraeducators themselves. What is current practice and what are areas of improvement will be inspected. Information will also be sought from individuals in the Michigan Department of Education.

Wearable Sensor Technology: Social Interactions in Preschool     Spartan Logo 

Project Funding: Research in Autism, Intellectual and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Grant (MSU Internal)

Peer communication and relationships are important for all children in preschool, and especially those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This project aims at further understanding what these peer interactions look like in the classroom setting using sensor technology and observational data.

Early On Caregiver Coaching Study    Early On Center Logo

Project Funding: Early On Michigan Faculty Grant

This project is focused on understanding the use of coaching practices through surveys and qualitative interviews with service providers in the state of Michigan. Speech language pathologists, early interventionists, and others who work directly with families who have a young child with a disability were included. The study aims to gain a better picture of the ways in which service providers are prepared for coaching, and the ways in which it is used in practice.

POWR Parent Online Training Program

Parents of children with differing communication needs were trained using a hybrid online/in-person training. The training follows the POWR (Prepare, Offer opportunities, Wait, Respond) strategy and teaches parents how to implement it with their children. Communication levels of both the parent and the child were analyzed before and after, and it was found that this training significantly increased communication levels.

Sibling Communication Partner Training

A sibling version of the POWR parent training strategy was created, called Plan, Talk, Wait, and Respond. Older typically developing (TD) siblings of children with differing communication needs were taught the strategy through in-person trainings, and given the opportunity to practice with feedback. Communication levels of both siblings were analyzed before and after training, and it was determined that the training impacted the levels of communication between siblings.

Plan, Talk, Wait, and Respond Qualitative Case Study

This study used a case study to look at a small adaptation to the Plan, Talk, Wait and Respond sibling training strategy. It offered more in-depth descriptions of the types of communication the TD sibling could be providing to help them see the multiple different ways they could ask a question, give a comment, provide a choice, or respond to their sibling. One sibling dyad was used to determine the impact of this adaptation. It was found that the strategy helped increase communication, and there were changes in the different types of communication the TD sibling provided.

Paraeducator Training Curriculum

Training curriculums for paraeducators were qualitatively analyzed according to content and type of curriculum. Descriptions and information on curriculum comparisons were given.

Current Graduate Student Projects 

Experiences of Caregivers of Children with Medical Complexities
Student: Emily Jensen

This mixed-methods study investigates the experiences of caregivers of children with medical complexities. The survey and interview data will provide us with information regarding schooling for children with medical complexities, caregiver experiences in medical settings, and the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of this sample of caregivers. We hope to utilize this data to provide evidence-based recommendations to improve the quality of educational and medical care for these families.

Past Graduate Student Projects

Barriers to Pre-Service Teachers Perspectives of Inclusion

Student: Sophia D’Agostino

Pre-service teachers working with young children with autism in inclusive settings participate in longitudinal survey research. By conducting this project we hope to understand the perceptions, barriers, and challenges faced by pre-service child development majors when inclusive practices are implemented with children with autism in preschool settings.

Parent Support Group for Parents of Children with ASD: Pilot Study

Student: Rebecca Kammes

This project is a pilot study testing a curriculum for a parent support group for parents of young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ASD-type diagnoses. The curriculum was developed from the Double ABCx model of adjustment and adaptation. It is being tested for parent adjustment and stress reduction outcomes, being run alongside a social skills group for children with ASD.

Sexuality and Relationships in Individuals with Developmental Delays: Parent and Service Provider Training Groups

Student: Rebecca Kammes

Parents and service providers both attend psychoeducation groups aimed at discussing sexuality and relationships for individuals with intellectual and other developmental delays. This project is using a community-based needs assessment format to determine the best way to impact and deliver information to individuals in these groups.