Rachel E. Robertson

Rachel Robertson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of special education in the Department of Instruction and Learning. She received her Ph.D. in Special Education from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. Her interests include identifying and reducing obstacles to the implementation of positive behavior supports for children with difficult behavior, particularly students with disabilities. She has 6 years of experience working as a PI or coordinator on research projects focused on behavior interventions for students with or at risk for special needs. Recent research projects include a statewide survey of teacher obstacles to implementation of behavior intervention plans for students with disabilities and an intervention study testing the effectiveness and acceptability of behavior interventions for children with autism in African American families. She currently teaches graduate courses in applied behavior analysis, autism, and research design. Prior to entering academia, Rachel was a school- and home-based behavior consultant and worked with a variety of students, including students in preschool through high school with autism, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, and emotional disorders, as well as non-disabled students with difficult behavior.

School Affiliations

Recent Grants

Robertson, R. Do Teachers' Implicit Theories of Personality Affect the Quality of Behavior Support They Provide to Students? University of Pittsburgh Central Research Development Fund ($14,670). Principal Investigator.

Pennsylvania Alternate System of Assessment (PASA) – Science

2014 - 2017
Sobeck, E., & Robertson, R. Effectiveness and Sustainability of a Strengths-Based Training Program for Paraeducators of Students with ASD in Inclusive Settings. University of Pittsburgh School of Education Student & Faculty Research Fund ($2,381). Co-Principal Investigator.
Krans, E., Rustgi, V., Schwarz, E., Yabes, J., Zickmund, S. , & Robertson, R. Facilitating HCV Treatment Through Tailored Prenatal Care for HCV Infected, Substance Using Pregnant Women. National Institutes of Health ($379,280). Co-Investigator.

The Effects of Video Modeling on Daily Living Skills of Students with Autism

2014 - 2015

Recent Publications

Robertson, R. E., & Coy, J. N. (2019). Your Student Is Hungry, Tired, Angry-Now What? Addressing Distal Setting Events in the Classroom. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 0040059919837748.
*Schles, R., & Robertson, R. (2019). The role of coaching and evidence based practices for preservice special education teachers and student outcomes: A review of the literature. Teacher Education and Special Education, 42, 36-48.
Severini, K., Ledford, J., & Robertson, R. (2018). Systematic review of problem behavior interventions: Outcomes, demographics, and settings. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48, 3261-3272 .
*Ampuero, M., & Robertson, R. (Accepted). Paraprofessionals' understandings of problem behavior and positive behavior support for students with autism. Special Education Research, Policy, and Practice.
*Valentini, S., & Robertson, R. (Accepted). Using social stories to increase social initiations by a student with autism to typical peers. Special Education Research, Policy, and Practice.
*Sobeck, E., & Robertson, R. (2019). Perspectives on current practices and barriers to training for paraeducators of students with autism in inclusive settings. Journal of the American Academy of Special Education Professionals, 15.
Rachel E. Robertson


University of Pittsburgh
5146 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260