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Individual Research Projects

A Report on Competitive Employment Outcomes of Persons with Autism

Paul Wehman, Ph.D. and Vicki Brooke, M.Ed.

This paper presents data on 23 individuals with ASD that VCU's Business Connections supported in securing competitive employment from 10/17/2009 to 12/30/2010.

Diagnosis Disclosure in Autism: Perspectives from Professionals, Parents, and Affected Adults

Staci Carr, M.Ed., M.S.

Although there is extensive research examining parental experiences of assessment and diagnosis of autism, there is paucity of research into parent and practitioner disclosure of an autism diagnosis to the child. Autism is being diagnosed consistently between the ages of 2 and 3, and during school age for children with Asperger syndrome, yet many children do not find out about their diagnosis until years later. This study aims are 1) to explore the role of professionals in disclosing a disability to children; 2) investigate the roll of the diagnosis, the patient, and the family in the physician's ethical decision of disclosure; 3) examine parental beliefs about disclosing a diagnosis to children and how they differ across diagnostic category, age or child, and culture of the family; 4) explore the feelings of adults who did not discover their diagnosis until late adolescence or adulthood. The goal of this research is to develop evidence-based guidelines about disclosing an autism spectrum diagnosis to children that will assist professionals and parents throughout the process.

Special Education Teachers' Perspectives on the Implementation of Functional Behavior Assessment in Schools

Joy Engstrom, M.Ed.

This is a survey based study that looks at the perspectives of Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) in public schools with high incidence disabilities. The study examines the conditions that influence special education teachers' use of FBA including training, teacher efficacy and belief systems, student behaviors, and the teacher's overall perception of FBA.

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