There are seven million exceptional children with special needs in our American school system, such as children with autism spectrum development. They have the right to appropriate and comparable educational opportunities. Truly meeting the needs of these children requires a commitment to integrating advances in educational science, neuroscience, and social policy.
Peter Mundy, professor in the School of Education and the School of Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. He is an expert in the education and development of children with Autism. As a developmental and clinical psychologist, Mundy has been working on defining the the major dimensions of autism for the past 32 years.
Translational Research on Education and Special Education; Academic Development for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); Joint Attention, Social-Cognition, and Learning; Education, Mind and Cognitive Neuroscience; Early Intervention; Infancy and Adolescence; Research Methods.
An article about using virtual reality to examine social motivation and emotional perception in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders appears in Psychology Progress. The article, co-authored by Peter Mundy, a professor in the UC Davis School of Education and School of Medicine, looked at 19 children with higher functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (HFASD) and 23 age, gender, and IQ matched children with typical development (TD), who used a joy stick to position themselves closer or further from virtual avatars while attempting to identify six emotions expressed by the avatars, happiness, fear, anger, disgust, sadness, and surprise that were expressed at different levels of intensity. Read more here.
In an interview with Pauline Bartoloni, Professor Peter Mundy and Educational Psychologist Mary Gwaltney discuss their research using virtual reality to better understand how students with autism process competing information in the classroom.
Mundy says, “We really have to know how those children are developing, what impedes and what facilitates their development in school. There’s a need to provide information that advances the ability of teachers and schools to provide the right education for [autistic] children.”
Educational Interventions for Students with Autism, published as the first in the Autism for Educators series by the UC Davis Mind Institute, has been released. The book is edited by Peter Mundy and Ann Mastergeorge. It provides information on topics related to deepening educators’ understanding of the issues and best practices involved in education for autism, including practical strategies for teachers, parents and school administrators. Purchase the book here.
Peter Mundy, PhD Lisa Capps Professor of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Education, has formulated a neurodevelopmental theory of social attention and the role it plays in learning, symbolic thinking and social-cognition. This theory, in part, guides the current research in Social Attention and Virtual Reality Laboratory or SAV Lab.
Peter Mundy, professor and director of educational research at the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, holds a multi-year grant that has been designated a priority by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This project is designed to develop virtual reality educational methods that can help very bright children with autism improve social and emotional regulation skills that will help them learn and adapt in school and vocational settings. In fall 2009, Mundy launched the development phase of a virtual reality lab, housed at the UC Davis Center for the Mind and Brain.