Jennifer Asmus, PhD

Slide of the Week: Jennifer Asmus, PhD

Title: Presence, Proximity, and Peer Interactions of Adolescents with Severe Disabilities in General Education Classrooms

Legend: Percentage of students with severe disabilities who are present in the general education classroom and in proximity to peers without severe disabilities by percentage of elapsed time in the class period.

Citation: Feldman, R.L., Carter, E.W., Brock, M.E., & Asmus, J.M. (2016). Presence, Proximity, and Peer Interactions of Adolescents with Severe Disabilities in General Education Classrooms. Exceptional Children, 82, 192-208. doi: 10.1177/0014402915585481

Abstract: The authors conducted 324 full-class-length observations of 108 high school students with severe disabilities in general education classes, focusing analyses on how often students were present during class and in proximity to peers without disabilities. Students were not present for a substantial proportion of the classes in which they were enrolled, and they were infrequently in proximity to classmates without disabilities when they were present. Observations of a comparison group of peers without disabilities enrolled in these same classrooms suggest missed social opportunities for students with severe disabilities. We also found that primary disability category (i.e., autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability) and type of class (i.e., academic, other) were associated with different patterns of presence and proximity.

About the investigator: Jennifer Asmus’ research is directed at experimental social skill and behavior assessment to develop interventions that enable children and adolescents with significant disabilities (e.g., intellectual disabilities, autism, and multiple disabilities) to maximize opportunities for inclusion and social interactions. Asmus focuses on the area of applied behavior analysis (ABA) most often using single-subject research methodology, however our current work at the Waisman Center has included a randomized control trial in coordination with Vanderbilt University (with Erik Carter). Current projects address utilizing peer mediated interventions to assist high school students with significant disabilities in academic and social engagement with general education peers as well as working with school-based teams to determine ways to improve assessment and evidenced-based intervention selection for elementary students with behavior difficulties.

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