STAR Research In Practice Studies


  • Water Safety in Children with ASD


    Contact: Rehan Mairajuddin rm5he@virginia.edu
    This project is a collaboration between the STAR team and the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA), Brooks Family YMCA, STAR, and Charlottesville pool facilities to teach water safety skills to children with autism. Through this model, we are using a train-the-trainer model to enable lifeguards to teach young learners with autism safety skills in the water.

  • Autism Screener Projects


    Contact: Rose Nevill rn4ee@virginia.edu
    We are developing and refining tools designed to identify children at risk of later being diagnosed with autism. The emphasis of these tools is to facilitate scoring and clinical decision making for physicians, pediatricians, and other healthcare professionals initially evaluating children for concerns of autism. These tools are being tested and refined at the Curry Sheila Johnson Clinic and through the UVA Medical Center.

  • Efficacy and Acceptability of Abbreviated Direct Assessment Procedures in Schools


    Contact: Rose Nevill rn4ee@virginia.edu
    This study is looking at various modified and abbreviated approaches to identifying the motivating factors behind problem behavior in students with autism. We are directly comparing how well abbreviated versions work in school settings, as well as how acceptable these procedures are to teachers and other school professionals when considering implementing them in a school setting.

  • Social Skills in Girls with Autism


    Contact: Erica Rouch ejf3u@virginia.edu
    This study is exploring the effectiveness of a modified social skills program (the UCLA PEERS program) in supporting social skills development in teenage girls with autism.  This project will additionally involve a parent support and training component. From this, we plan to expand this model to younger and older age ranges of girls and women with autism. 

  • Function-Based Video Self-Modeling to Treat Disruptive Behavior of Individuals with Autism


    Contact: Bill Therrien wjd2c@irginia.edu
    This project is a collaboration between the STAR team and the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA). For students who have had minimal success on current behavior plans, the study explores the effects of using applied behavior analysis procedures to inform a video self-modeling treatment. Participants star in their own movie, portraying appropriate behavior amidst conditions that typically evoke disruptive behavior. Preliminary results show a decrease in disruptive behavior and an increase in classroom/group participation.

  • Feasibility of Using the Interview Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA) to Inform Treatment Decisions for Adults with Autism


    Contact: Bill Therrien wjd2c@irginia.edu
    This project is a collaboration between the STAR team and the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA). Disruptive behavior in adults with autism is difficult to manage. This project aims to decrease disruptive behavior and increase social engagement for adults with autism using an applied behavior analysis procedure. Preliminary results show a decrease in disruptive behavior and an increase in social opportunities. 

  • Improving Compliance with Tolerance of Dental Examinations for Individuals with Autism


    Contact: Bill Therrien wjd2c@irginia.edu
    This project is a collaboration between the STAR team and the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA), and Children’s Dentistry of Charlottesville. Dental examinations are an essential part of preventative health services. Lack of appropriate dental care can lead to discomfort and poor overall health. In this project, participants will gradually practice the steps of a dental examination until they are comfortable and successful. Sessions begin in a familiar setting with simulated equipment, and move toward practice in an actual dental clinic.

  • Snack Talks


    Contact: Bill Therrien wjd2c@irginia.edu
    Mealtimes are an important part of the daily routine in homes, schools, and the community. This study explores the use of a social communication support to increase child-to-child communication during mealtimes in classroom settings. Implementation of this intervention aims to increase engagement and communication with peers, as well as decrease engagement in challenging behavior.

  • Social Skills


    Contact: Bill Therrien wjd2c@irginia.edu
    This study explores the effects of implementation of a social skills treatment package for young students with autism. This intervention includes weekly small group instruction, individualized teaching and support, as well as weekly parent handouts. Implementation of this intervention aims to increase engagement in target social skills, as well as increase quality of friendships and overall community membership in classroom settings.