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Current Projects

Below you'll find a list of our current research.

Doreen Arcus

  • Autism prevalence and toxic emissions
  • Beliefs about autism in a nationally representative sample
  • Autism spectrum, executive function, theory of mind, and risk taking behavior in college-aged males
  • Students with disabilities in high school and college.
  • Students with disabilities, implicit bias, and the school-to-prison pipeline

Monica Galizzi

  • Interdisciplinary examination of the health care experience of those with autism spectrum disorder with Ashleigh Hillier and Kianna Ferrante.
  • Financial literacy among adults on the autism spectrum with Ashleigh Hillier and Joseph Ryan.

Ashleigh Hillier

  • Program evaluation of the Asperger/Autism Network’s (AANE) LifeMap program. This project is a collaboration with a community partner AANE to evaluate their life skills coaching program for adults with autism spectrum disorders.
  • Mentoring program for UMass Lowell students registered with Disability Services. This project evaluates the efficacy of a student-to-student mentoring program for UMass Lowell students registered with Student Disability Services (SDS).
  • College students with autism spectrum disorders: Parent perspectives. This study seeks the perspectives of parents’ of adolescents and young adults (age sixteen and older) on the autism spectrum to explore their concerns and expectations of their son / daughter going to university.
  • “Connections” support group for UMass Lowell students with ASD. This project is a collaboration with UMass Lowell's Student Disability Services office to run and evaluate a support group for students with ASD.
  • Academic outcomes among students registered with Student Disability Services. This study compares academic outcomes for students registered with Disability Services who are taking their coursework online vs. in person.
  • Attitudes towards exercise among those with the autism spectrum disorder. This study aims to investigate attitudes towards physical exercise, as well as participation in exercise, among young adults on the autism spectrum, and how this compares to typically developing peers.
  • Experiences of individuals who identify as ASD and LGBTQI. This study aims to gather information about the experiences of those who identify as having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and also identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, or Intersexed (LGBTQI).

Brenna Quinn

  • Teachers as Pain Collaborators is a project aiming to explore how teachers and specialists of children with mild to profound IDDs decide to present or refer students to the school health office.
  • Parent Pain Perspectives: A study involving interviews with parents of children with complex needs to: (1) ascertain parents’ perceived characteristics of child pain experiences (i.e., pain antecedents, behaviors, frequency, relief measures), (2) determine the extent to which parents feel that school caregivers adequately address pain, and (3) identify ways in which pain collaboration between parents and school caregivers may be improved.
  • GRASP Development and Validation: A study aiming to develop and test the Guideline for Ruling Out and Assessing Source of Pain- a tool to help healthcare providers take a more thorough, but efficient, approach to identifying the source of pain in children with complex needs.

Joel Reynolds

  • Assessing the role and impact of ableism in leading to knowledge-based medical errors.
  • Applying disability theory to ELSI research in genomics.
  • Developing a care ethics approach to debates over the obligation to know health information.
  • Analyzing the role of phenomenology and narrative medicine to improve health outcomes through basic and continuing medical education.
  • Studies on the meaning of ability and disability for research in contemporary European philosophy.

Rocio Rosales

  • Observational Learning Procedures to Shift Preferences in Children with ASD. This study is designed to assess correlations between observational learning skills (e.g., attending, imitation, etc.) and outcomes of a procedure to shift preferences in learners with extremely restricted or limited interests.
  • Equivalence-Based Instruction to Establish a Textual Activity Schedule in an Adult with a Severe Developmental Disorder. This study is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of stimulus equivalence based instruction to teach a young adult to conditionally relate pictures to written words; and then to follow an activity schedule using only the written words to complete and transition between several vocational tasks.
  • Evaluating Outcomes of a Parent Support Group for Families of Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This qualitative study will describe the experience of parents who have attended the Autism Support Group of Lowell (see Support Services for Families that have a Child with ASD). The goal of this research is to identify and document the success of the program, as well as the ongoing needs of families that have a young child with autism. 
  • Support Services for Families that have a Child with ASD (0-8 years old). In collaboration with NFI Family Resource Center of Lowell, this service project provides a playgroup for children with ASD and a parent support group for their caregivers.
  • Teaching Interviewing Skills to Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This study evaluated the effects of a behavior skills training package on the interviewing skills of young adults with ASD. Participants were evaluated on their performance with answering and asking questions, as well as nonverbal behaviors during several mock interviews.

Richard Serna

  • Development of an onscreen “virtual child” for training practitioners in early intensive behavioral intervention in ASD.
  • The use of robots as therapeutic agents for children with ASD.
  • Potential barriers to treatment services for Spanish-speaking families with a child with ASD.
  • Assessment of auditory discrimination abilities for children with ASD.
  • Assessment of pain in children with developmental disabilities.
  • Gaze patterns of faces in individuals with ASD.
  • Eye-tracking studies of difficult-to-distinguish teaching stimuli.

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