Ongoing Research

Kayla jenssen- Masters thesis

Title: The Effects of First-Person Point-of-View Video Modeling on the Acquisition of Job Related Social Skills for Young Adults with Developmental Disabilities


Despite a growing emphasis on autism-related services, many young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continue to struggle with social skills deficits. As a result, these individuals are severely underemployed and unprepared to function in vocational settings. One instructional method that has been used to teach social skills is video modeling, though research has focused primarily on applications with young children. First-person point-of-view (FPPOV) video models are videos that show a skill or task being performed from the same perspective as the learner would see it occur when completing it. Past research on FPPOV video modeling is limited, and most of the research has demonstrated changes in behavior only when FPPOV video models are implemented with additional instruction or intervention.  Thus, more research is needed to determine whether FPPOV video models alone can teach job-related social skills to young adults with developmental disabilities. The current study seeks to extend the video modeling literature by determining whether FPPOV video modeling is effective as a stand-alone instructional tool for job-related social skills and the generalization of these skills to employment settings for individuals 16 and older with developmental disabilities and autism.


Title: The Effects of Function-Based Training on Special Education Teacher’s Selection of Function Matched Interventions


Universal strategies are an essential component of effective classroom management (Johnson, & Street, 2005). Teachers who have foundational knowledge about behavior management and functions of behavior is one critical feature of universal strategies in the classroom. The current study looks to train school personnel to identify function of problematic behavior and use that knowledge to identify function matched interventions. A training will be conducted to teach school personal basic behavior analytic procedures and provide teacher with practice opportunities and feedback. Results from this study will determine if teachers can identify function of behavior and implement function matched interventions following training in the natural environment.


Title: Examining the Effects of a Fitbit® Treatment Package on the Physical Activity Level and Quality of Life Indices for Adults with Disabilities


Heart disease and other related cardiac issues are the leading cause of death in the United States (Centers for Disease Control, 2017). Globally, only 25% of adults and 19% of adolescents engage in enough regular physical activity for overall wellness (World Health Organization, 2018). Despite the substantial health benefits of physical activity, populations with intellectual disabilities and other mental health deficits are substantially inactive, even more so than their typically-developing peers. Approximately 90% of adults and 87% of adolescents with disabilities are not active enough (Oviedo, Travier, & Guerra-Balic, 2017; Ptomey et al., 2017). In consideration of these findings, the goal of the current study is to utilize a Fitbit® treatment package with goal-setting and contingent incentives to increase the daily physical activity of mentally-disabled adults living in community-based settings. Additionally, the proposed study will measure quality of life indices. Due to the extreme sedentary nature of adults with mental health deficits, substantial physical health benefits (e.g., weight loss, decreased blood pressure, improved sleep, decreases in diabetic symptoms) from increased physical activity may take an extended period of time to become evident and measurable. As such, any potential increases in quality of life that may occur in the meantime will also be examined by assessing indices of happiness, mood, and affect throughout the study to determine any quality of life benefits from increases in physical activity.