There are seven million exceptional children with special needs in our American school system, such as children with autism spectrum development. Truly meeting the needs of these children requires a commitment to integrating advances in educational science, neuroscience, and social policy.
The UC Davis School of Education is home to Professor Peter Mundy, 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. Find more on his research and other resources on autism and education here.
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.
Nicole Sparapani is an assistant professor in the School of Education, and she also holds a faculty appointment at the UC Davis MIND Institute. Her research interests center around the development and evaluation of effective educational practices for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Sparapani practiced as a certified speech-language pathologist on an interdisciplinary team serving preschool children with ASD for several years before pursuing her Ph.D. in Communication Science and Disorders at Florida State University and postdoctoral training at Arizona State University.
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.