I am an associate professor of special education at Michigan State University and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst- Doctoral (BCBA-D). As a scholar, I evaluate 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 intellectual disability (ID). Within my program of research, I study risk factors and experiences related to friendship outcomes and social victimization among adolescents and adults with IDD; and I design community-based interventions to increase social competence and acceptance and to decrease social vulnerability and victimization of individuals with IDD.
I employ various methodologies to describe and improve the short- and long-term social outcomes of individuals with IDD, their caregivers, service providers, and other community members.
Specifically, my research focuses on understanding and decreasing social vulnerability among individuals with IDD and supporting the social acceptance of individuals with IDD in the community. I am interested in measuring the various types of victimization experienced by individuals with IDD and on designing interventions to decrease vulnerability. I have studied victimization in the form of child abuse, bullying, stranger danger, and exploitation across the lifespan. I use the principles of applied behavior analysis and single subject research methods to design interventions to teach self-protection to individuals with IDD.