Curry School professor, Ron Reeve has been named a charter member of the Virginia Psychological Foundation Hall of Fame. Reeve was honored for his contributions to the field of psychology, to the work of the Virginia Psychological Association, for his lifetime achievements as a psychologist, for his service to his community and for being an inspiration to others.
Reeve began his career in 1975 at the Curry School of Education.
“I worked as a School Psychologist for three years in Michigan while completing my doctorate degree,” recalls Reeve. “My graduate school office mate Dan Hallahan had joined the Special Education faculty at the University of Virginia several years earlier. He called me one day to suggest I apply for a position at UVa. When I interviewed, I fell in love with the Charlottesville and UVa community, and thus here I am 36 years later.”
Reeve’s career includes work in three areas. The first, from his arrival to UVa in 1975 through the mid- ‘80’s, he was focused on Learning Disabilities (LD), including some work with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). From the late ‘80’s through about 2005 he focused more on ADHD. For the past few years his interests and activities have centered on children on the autism spectrum.
Learning Disabilities (LD)
In his second year at UVa the U.S. Department of Education announced their intent to fund five research centers to study learning disabilities. Reeve and colleagues put together a proposal to study the relationship between attention and LD, especially the use of self-monitoring to improve attention and memory. They were funded for over $2 million across a 6 year period. They had terrific collaborative relationships with both the Charlottesville City and Albemarle County school divisions, with each hosting “model” classrooms for the students in our study. Over 80 publications resulted from the work of their group, the Learning Disabilities Research Institute. During the period following the passage of Public Law 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Children’s Act of 1975, Reeve worked on two Commonwealth of Virginia DOE task forces to clarify definitional and operational issues around identification of LD students.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
In 1989 Reeve was asked to Chair a task force on ADHD and the schools for the Virginia Department of Education. At that point, ADHD students were being denied special education services since ADHD was not included in federal special education legislation. The Virginia task force consisted of a multidisciplinary group of professionals in and out of schools, and included parents, school administrators, and an education attorney. After a number of public meetings they came to believe that there were students whose ADHD was sufficiently severe that they needed special education assistance, even though they did not have another qualifying condition (e.g., LD, Emotional Disturbance). They were the first to propose that these children could be served as “Other Health Impaired” (OHI), on the grounds of “limited alertness,” consistent with federal special education law. The task-force report was subsequently approved by the Virginia Board of Education. This approach then was adopted by the US DOE in 1991 in order to get services to needy children without having to go through the legislative process. Reeve subsequently served for a number of years on the Professional Advisory Board of the national organization CHADD, Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder.
Reeve is currently in the early stage of engaging with the field of autism. His current doctoral students and he are studying assessment/identification of and intervention for autistic students, including a study using a high tech driving simulator to try to teach high functioning ASD adolescents/young adults to drive independently. Reeve and his team have developed a multidisciplinary (psychology, speech/language pathology, special education, and reading) clinic, Curry Autism Spectrum Services, or CASS, as part of the Sheila C. Johnson Center for Human Services to provide diagnostic and consultative services to children, adolescents, adults, and families who need help. These services otherwise are unavailable in this part of the state. Interest in the clinic is quite high and the team plans to include research components to CASS in the next year or so.
Throughout his career, Reeve has stayed professionally active and engaged in the field. He has done a great deal of program accreditation work for both the American Psychological Association and the National Association of School Psychologists. In the past four years he have done APA site visits or provided consultation to three of the historically best school psychology programs in the nation (UT-Austin, U South Carolina, and Penn State). He has also been a delegate and committee chair for NASP, as well as been on the editorial boards of each of the major journals in school.
“Perhaps my proudest achievement is that I have had a direct role in training over 200 doctoral psychologists,” Reeve shared. “These have included a NASP president and career achievement honoree, more than 30 university faculty, and a host of practicing child psychologists, including many working in leadership positions in schools and mental health/medical centers. To the extent that they remember something important that I taught them, I will feel that I have a worthwhile legacy out there.”
Also included in the 2011 class of the Virginia Psychological Foundation is 1975 Curry graduate John David Ball. Ball is Professor and Vice Chair at the Eastern Virginia Medical School.