CARE Lab Recent Publications

Recent Publications


Publications in 2023

Factors Associated with Classroom Participation in Preschool through Third Grade Learners on the Autism Spectrum

Authors. Sparapani, N., Tseng, N., Towers, L., Birkeneder, S., Kamiri, S, Vega Garcia, J., Alexander, C., Wood, T., & Nullally, A.D.

Sparapani, Tseng and colleagues recently published a manuscript in the journal, Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders (RASD). They evaluated classroom video observations to better understand the mathematics learning opportunities provided to autistic learners in preschool through 3rd grade. Their study highlights the link between the classroom environment and the experiences autistic students have within mathematics contexts by examining how teachers (with a range of knowledge, skills, and practices) teach mathematics lessons, and how individual students engage in the opportunities created for them. The knowledge gained from this study contributes to the development of optimized instructional practices for learners on the autism spectrum. Read the full article here!

The Construct Validity of the Childhood Joint Attention Rating Scale (C-JARS) with School-Aged Autistic Children

Authors. Birkeneder, S., Bullen, J., McIntyre, N., Zajic, M., Lerroe, C., Solomon, M., Sparapani, N. & Mundy, P

Sandy Birkeneder and colleagues recently published a manuscript in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (JADD) examining the psychometric properties of the C-JARS measure. You can read the full ariticle here!

Publications in 2022

Bringing Assessment-to-Instruction (A2i) Technology to Scale: Exploring the Process from Development to Implementation

In collaboration with Carol McDonald Connor, Nicole Sparapani and colleagues examined the promise of Assessment-to-Instruction (A2i) technology redesigned to be used at scale to support teachers’ implementation of the individualized student instruction (ISI) intervention from kindergarten through third grade. This study represents both an exploration of what it takes to bring an educational intervention to scale and a quasi-experiment on the literacy outcomes of learners whose teachers used the technology. You can read the full article here! 

Authors. Connor, May, Sparapani, Kyoung Hwang, Adams, Wood, Siegal, Wolfe, & Day. (April 2022). Bringing Assessment-to-Instruction (A2i) Technology to Scale: Exploring the Process from Development to Implementation. Journal of Educational Psychology

Tribute to Dr. Carol McDonald Connor: Dr. Carol Connor passed away May 14, 2020 while revising this manuscript. True to her diligent nature, she worked until the day before she passed away after battling cancer. Implementing Assessment-to-Instruction (A2i) in schools across the nation was Dr. Connor’s dream, as her life’s work was centered on ensuring that all students read proficiently by the 3rd grade. She developed the Individualized Student Instruction (ISI) framework and patented the algorithms that drive A2i, publishing her first of many randomized controlled trials in 2005 to support this work. Dr. Connor has made extraordinary impact both nationally and internationally. She truly touched the lives of everyone who had the honor to cross her path. Her legacy will live on through the mentees and colleagues that have had the privilege of knowing and working with her and through A2i, as educators across the nation use the technology to individualize instruction for their students. Most importantly, her legacy will live on through the many children that have and will continue to benefit from ISI and A2i. Dr. Carol Connor did not work hard for accolades. This became increasingly apparent as her time was running out. What she worked for, was the future of others. She will be deeply missed everyday but never forgotten.  

The Development of a Social-Sexual Education Program for Adults with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities: Starting the Discussion 

Pedgrift & Sparapani recently published a manuscript in the journal, Sexuality and Disability. The study provides support for the social-sexual education (SSE) tool to teach people with neurodevelopmental disabilities how to create safe and meaningful relationships while also giving them information about sexual abuse and coercion. Click here to read the article spotlight. You can read the full article here!

Measurements of Spontaneous Communication Initiations in Children with Autism in Preschool through Third Grade Classrooms 

Birkeneder & Sparapani published an article in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders (JADD) proposing a model for conceptualizing and measuring communication initiations in children with autism within classrooms. Check out the paper here!

Publications in 2021

Evaluating Teacher Language Within General and Special Education Classrooms Serving Elementary Students with Autism

Nicole Sparapani & colleagues recently published a manuscript in the Journal of Autism and Related Disorders (JADD) examining how teachers and paraprofessionals in 126 kindergarten-second grade classrooms talked with their 194 students with autism, and further, how individual student characteristics in language, autism symptoms, and social abilities influenced this talk. You can read the full article here!

Authors: Sparapani, Reinhardt, Hooker, Morgan, Schatschneider, & Wetherby, 2021, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities

What Are the Odds?: Predicting the Likelihood of a Negative Episode in a Sample of Toddlers with ASD

Congratulations to Amanda Dimachkie Nunnally, postdoctoral scholar, recently published her 1st first-author manuscript in the international journal, Autism!! In this study, Amanda and colleagues evaluated emotion dysregulation in 71 toddlers with ASD while working on a task with their caregivers. See the full article here.

Emotion Regulation Skills Predict Friendship Quality in Children with Autism

Nicole Sparapani & Amanda Dimachkie Nunnally co-authored a manuscript recently published in the International Journal of Developmental Disorders. This manuscript is a joint collaboration between UC Davis, the University of Pennsylvania, UCLA, and the University of Rochester.

Authors: Heather J. Nuske, Wendy Shih, Nicole J. Sparapani, Lauren Baczewski, Amanda Dimachkie Nunnally, Samantha Hochheimer, Consuelo Garcia, Fernanda Castellon, Lynne Levato, Erin Fischer, Zabryna Atkinson-Diaz, Jennica Li, David S. Mandell, and Connie Kasari 

Project Description: Within this project, we evaluated the association among self-regulation, mental health, and friendship quality in a sample of 106 children with autism between 5–12 years of age. We found a positive predicative association between self-regulatory skills and social companionship. In addition, difficulties with self-regulation were associated with increased conflict. These data highlight the importance of self-regulation and mental health as intervention targets for school-aged children with autism. 

Publications in 2020

Secondary Analysis of Interactions Between Students with Autism and Their Interventionists within a Scripted Reading Curriculum

Sparapani and co-authors, Solari, Towers, McIntyre, Henry, and Zajic, published a paper in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research evaluating the language used within a pilot reading intervention for children with autism. Read the article. 

Students’ Problem Behaviors and Teachers’ Warmth, Responsiveness, and Classroom Control as Predictors of Students’ Classroom Instructional Experiences in First Grade

Sparapani co-authored a paper examining students’ instructional experiences in 1st grade. The manuscript was published in Contemporary Education Psychology. (McLean, L., Sparapani, N., Day, S., Connor, C.M., 2020). Read the article.​​

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