CARE Lab Works in Progress

Works in Progress


Measuring Teacher Talk and Student Behavior
During Mathematics Activities within a Sample of Preschool through Third Grade Children on the Autism Spectrum

We described and investigated varying models of teacher talk directed toward autistic students within 96 special education mathematics activities. We also examined child behavior within mathematics contexts measured through observation and via teacher report. This detailed evaluation of teacher talk provides a promising means for gauging the quality of instructional talk as well as insight into the learning opportunities presented to and the experiences of elementary-aged autistic students within special education mathematics contexts. Tailoring professional development for educators that centers on talk as a targeted intervention is an area for further study.

Authors: Sparapani, N., Vega Garcia, J., Birkeneder, S., Towers, L., Bullen, J., Tseng, N., & Nunnally, A.D.

Teachers’ Perceptions of Executive Functioning and Challenging Behaviors in a Sample of Autistic Students and Their Peers

This study examines group differences in teacher-reported executive functioning and challenging behaviors between their autistics and non-autistic students (with and without other disability classification). Teachers reported EF challenges in their autistic students and students with other disability classifications. These EF challenges were associated with challenging behaviors for all students but strongest for students with other disability classifications.

Authors: Nunnally, A.D., Birkeneder, S., Bullen, J., Vega Garcia, J. Parks, C., Tseng N., Mundy, P., & Sparapani, N.

Examining Executive Functioning Skills and Reading Achievement Among a Sample of Neurodiverse Elementary Students within General Education Classrooms

Executive functioning (EF) skills are a set of cognitive processes that regulate our ability to start, manage, and carry out goals. This study examined differences in EF profiles and reading outcomes among a sample of neurodiverse children within TK-5th grade general education classrooms. Our findings highlight the nature of and variability in EF skill development and suggest that EF might play a significant role in explaining differences in reading between neurodivergent learners and their neurotypical peers. 

Authors: Parks, C., & Sparapani, N.

Factors Related to Teachers’ Perceptions of Transition Planning in Students with Autism

This study examines teacher’s self-reported perceptions of transition planning during school transitions autistic children. Findings revealed that teachers’ support network size was associated with teachers’ perceptions of their students’ transition preparation.

Amanda D. Nunnally and colleagues, in preparation for publication

Preliminary Validation of an Observational Measure of Emotion Regulation for 15- to 22-year-old Males with Fragile X Syndrome

Individuals with fragile X syndrome (FXS) report higher rates of anxiety, which have been attributed to challenges in Emotion Regulation (ER). This study examined the construct validity of an observational measure of ER as outlined in the Classroom Measure of Active Engagement (CMAE) by examining associations with salivary alpha-amylase (SAA) readings, a physiological measure of anxiety. Participants included 28 males (Mage = 19.02) with FXS who were recruited as part of a longitudinal study. 

Authors: Alexander, C., Towers, L., Sparapani, N., Nunnally, A.D., Thurman, A., Abbeduto, L.

Differences in Instructor Responsiveness and Student Participation between Special Education Teachers and Classroom Paraprofessionals Serving Preschool-3rd Grade Students on the Autism Spectrum

mathThis study utilized an archival dataset of classroom video observations of paraprofessionals and teachers working with preschool-3rd grade students on the autism spectrum. Videos had been coded for student and teacher behaviors as part of The Classroom Measure of Active Participation (Class-MAP; Sparapani et al., unpublished manual). A subset of 30 observations were examined to investigate the responsive language that teachers and paraprofessionals used during classroom activities. We found that teachers used significantly more responsive language than paraprofessionals.

Authors: Towers & Sparapani, in preparation for publication

Child Factors Related to Expressive Language Abilities of Children with Down Syndrome

This study analyzed factors related to expressive language development in young children with Down syndrome. Results indicated that children’s verbal short-term memory and nonverbal reasoning was associated their vocabulary size, while children’s autism symptomatology, vocabulary size and nonverbal reasoning abilities were associated with their highest expressive language milestone. Lastly, children’s vocabulary size was found to mediate the association between verbal short-term memory and children’s highest expressive language milestone.

Amanda D. Nunnally and colleagues, in preparation for publication

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