Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience social skills deficits including difficulties interacting appropriately with others; initiating and maintaining conversations; and understanding social cues and nuances. These social difficulties often lead to trouble developing and maintaining friendships, obtaining and maintaining employment, and living independently. Consequently, individuals with IDD often experience social isolation, poor psychosocial functioning, and sometimes victimization.
As a scholar in the fields of special education, applied behavior analysis, and intellectual and developmental disability studies, my research focuses on the victimization and social vulnerability of individuals with IDD, including autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Williams syndrome (WS). First, I study risk factors and experiences related to social victimization among children and adults with IDD; and second, I design interventions to decrease social vulnerability and victimization by increasing appropriate social skills and enhancing social acceptance and inclusion of individuals with IDD.
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