Rachel E. Robertson
Faculty

Presentations

Robertson, R., & Kokina, A. Implementing Individualized Positive Behavior Support: Exploring Why Some Teachers Struggle and Others Succeed. Paper presented at the Association for Positive Behavior Support Annual Conference, Washington, DC, March, 2019.
Robertson, R., Kokina, A., & *Schwartz, R. School staff beliefs that impact implementation of individualized positive behavior support. Poster presented at the Association for Positive Behavior Support Annual Conference, Washington, DC, March, 2019.
Robertson, R., *Schwartz, R., & *Ampuero, M. Do Teachers' Mindsets Impact their Use of Positive Classroom Behavior Management Strategies? Poster presented at Council for Exceptional Children Annual Convention and Expo, Indianapolis, IN, February, 2019
Sobeck, E. & Robertson, R. Implementing Behavior Intervention Plans: How Can Special Education Teachers Better Support Paraeducators? Paper presented at Council for Exceptional Children Annual Convention and Expo, Indianapolis, IN, February, 2019.
*Ampuero, M., Sobeck, E., & Robertson, R. Improving paraprofessional training in teacher preparation. Paper presented at Council for Exceptional Children Annual Convention and Expo, Indianapolis, IN, February, 2019.
*Schwartz, R., Robertson, R., & *Westerfield, S. Increasing Diverse Choice Opportunities in a Postsecondary Setting. Paper presented at Council for Exceptional Children Annual Convention and Expo, Indianapolis, IN, February, 2019.
Assessing functions of problem behavior in children with Developmental Disabilities. Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders (LEND), University of Pittsburgh, November, 2018.
Barriers to implementation of behavior interventions for children with ASD. 2018 Autism Research and Clinical Forum, University of Pittsburgh, April, 2018 .
Robertson, R. Barriers to implementation of behavior interventions for children with ASD. 2018 Autism Research and Clinical Forum, University of Pittsburgh, April, 2018.
Robertson, R., & Lovelace, T. Families of color and autism: Lessons for improving service delivery. Paper presented at University of Pittsburgh Cross-Disciplinary Conference on Family and Healthy U, Pittsburgh, PA, March, 2018.
Ampuero, M., & Robertson, R. Using performance feedback to improve paraprofessionals' implementation of mand training for children with ASD. Poster presented at Association for Positive Behavior Support Annual Conference, San Diego, CA, March, 2018.
*Sobeck, E., Robertson, R., & *Schwartz, R. Didactic instruction and performance feedback: How should we be training our paraeducators? Paper presented at Council for Exceptional Children Annual Convention and Expo, Boston, MA, April, 2017.
Robertson, R., Kokina, A., *Schwartz, R., *Ampuero, M., & *Lapinski, S. It's out of my control: Teacher mindset and PBS Implementation. Poster presented at Association for Positive Behavior Support Annual Conference, Denver, CO, March, 2017.
Kokina, A., *Lapinski, S., *Schwartz, R., *Ampuero, M., & Robertson, R. Review of Evidence-Based Practices for Females with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Poster presented at Association for Positive Behavior Support Annual Conference, Denver, CO, March, 2017.
*Schwartz, R., & Robertson, R. Training staff in residential settings to offer choice. Poster presented at Association for Positive Behavior Support Annual Conference, Denver, CO, March, 2017.
Robertson, R. Participant diversity in special education research. Paper presented at Association of Researchers in Special Education Annual Conference, Franklin, TN, September, 2016.
Lovelace, T., & Robertson, R. Experiences of African American mothers of sons with ASD. Poster presented at Applied Behavior Analysis International Annual Conference, Chicago, IL, May, 2016.
*Sobeck, E., & Robertson, R. Effects of didactic instruction versus performance feedback on the use of positive behavior support strategies by paraeducators in inclusive settings. Poster presented at the Council for Exceptional Children Annual Convention, St. Louis, MO, April, 2016.
*Wynkoop, K., Robertson, R., *Sobeck, E., & *Schwartz, R. Effects of video modeling versus continuous video modeling on the daily living skills of students with autism and intellectual disabilities. Poster presented at Council for Exceptional Children Annual Convention, St. Louis, MO, April, 2016.
Robertson, R., Kokina, A., & *Schwartz, R. Obstacles to implementing behavior intervention plans with students with autism: Practitioner perspectives. Paper presented at Advisory Board On Autism and Related Disorders (ABOARD) Annual Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, April, 2016.
Robertson, R., Kokina, A., *Wynkoop, K., *Sobeck, E., & *Schwartz, R. Obstacles to implementing behavior intervention plans: Practitioner perspectives. Paper presented at Council for Exceptional Children Annual Convention, St. Louis, MO, April, 2016.
Robertson, R., & Kokina, A. Obstacles to implementing behavior intervention plans: Practitioner perspectives. Paper presented at Association for Positive Behavior Support, San Francisco, CA, March, 2016
Robertson, R. What stops teachers from using intensive behavior interventions? Initial findings and future directions. Paper presented at Association for Researchers in Special Education Annual Conference, Franklin, TN, October, 2015
Robertson, R. Single-case design: Applications in research and practice. Duquesne University, June, 2015.
Robertson, R., *Sobeck, E., & *Wynkoop, K. Participant diversity in special education research. Poster presented at Applied Behavior Analysis International's Annual Convention, San Antonio, TX, May, 2015.
Lyon, S., Hansen, M., Smith, J., Matsik, M., & Robertson, R. Test performance and challenges of the lowest performing students on an alternate assessment. Poster presented at the Council for Exceptional Children's Annual Convention, San Diego, CA, April, 2015.
Robertson, R., Lyon, S., Sobeck, E., Wynkoop, K., Hansen, M., & Kokina, A. Barriers to Implementing Behavior Intervention Plans: Results of a Statewide Teacher Survey. Poster presented at the Council for Exceptional Children's Annual Convention, San Diego, CA, April, 2015.
Sobeck, E., & Robertson, R. Perspectives on current practices and barriers to training for paraeducators working with students with autism in inclusive settings. Poster presented at the Council for Exceptional Children's Division for Autism and Developmental Disabilities 14th International Conference, Clearwater Beach, FL, January, 2015.
Wynkoop, K., Robertson, R., & Sobeck, E. Effects of video modeling and video modeling plus prompting and reinforcement on the daily living skills of a student with autism. Poster presented at the Council for Exceptional Children's Annual Convention, San Diego, CA, April, 2015.
Robertson, R., Kearns, D., Zumeta, R., Moore, T., Lemons, C., & Wehby, J. Intensive Intervention: Evidence for Bold New Directions in Special Education. Presented at Applied Behavior Analysis International Annual Convention, Chicago, IL.

Intensive intervention has emerged as an important new term in special education, mainly because many researchers in special education have observed limited gains in student achievement in recent studies. The search for better approaches has stretched researchers’ thinking and highlighted the role of single-subject research in developing more effective, individualized interventions. As chair, Devin Kearns, Ph.D. (Boston University), will describe the reason “intensive intervention” has become an important new term for special educators as it applies to academics and behavior. Rebecca Zumeta, Ph.D. (American Institutes of Research; AIR) will then describe the work she has done as the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Coordinator of the National Center on Intensive Intervention to build intensive interventions. Christopher J. Lemons, Ph.D. (Vanderbilt University) will describe his work to build early reading interventions for children with Down syndrome. Tara Moore (University of Tennessee - Knoxville) will report the results of a study investigating teachers' knowledge and use of research-based classroom and behavior management strategies. Rachel E. Robertson, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh) will discuss her work developing sustainable behavior interventions for racially and socioeconomically diverse parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Joseph H. Wehby, Ph.D. (Vanderbilt University) will serve as discussant. The tension between rigor and relevance in applied research, as well as the importance of integrating academic and behavior interventions, will be discussed.

Robertson, R., Lovelace, T., Wynkoop, K., & Sobeck, E. Experiences of African American caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder. Presented at Council for Exceptional Children Annual Convention, Philadelphia, PA.

Apr 11, 2014


Research into the experiences of families of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been conducted with relatively little participation from African American families, leaving the generalizability of findings to this group largely unknown. The purpose of this presentation is to present a qualitative analysis of interviews with African American caregivers of children with ASD regarding their experiences raising and educating their children. Increased knowledge of the experiences of African American caregivers of children with ASD may inform practice and research to better meet the needs of diverse families. Specifically, the information presented in this session will improve practice by providing practitioners with an increased understanding of the perspectives and experiences of African American caregivers of children with ASD, as well as implications for culturally responsive service delivery and strategies to improve parent-teacher/service provider collaboration. After this presentation, participants will (a) understand how cultural context may affect the experiences of African American families of children with ASD, and (b) use this understanding to direct practice and research efforts to better fit the needs of African American families.

Robertson, R., Sobeck, E., & Wynkoop, K. Participant diversity in the evidence base for behavior management training with parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Presented at CEC-Division for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Annual Conference, Clearwater, FL.

Jan 23, 2014


Researchers in the area of behavior management training for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) develop evidence-based practices that are useful and effective for parents in reducing difficult behavior in their children; however, the extent of racial, cultural, and socioeconomic diversity of families participating in these studies is unknown, leaving generalizability of these practices unclear. The concern for the field is that if the characteristics of participants are unknown or homogenous, the external validity of practices that have been developed may be limited to narrow subsections of the population of parents of children with ASD. This prospect is especially concerning considering that ASD is reported to occur at equivalent rates across racial, cultural, and socioeconomic groups. This session presents a comprehensive review of the last 5 years of research in the area of behavior management training for parents of children with ASD and reports statistics on the percentage of studies reporting racial, cultural, and socioeconomic characteristics of their parent and child participants and, of those studies that do report these demographics, the percentage of participants representing different categories of diversity. The information presented in this session translates into improved practice by assessing the groups of parents of children with ASD that are over- and under-represented in the research base on behavior management training, thereby indicating for which groups current evidence-based practices have less support. This information may translate into more purposeful inclusion of diverse groups of parents in future studies of parent behavior management training, which may lead to the development of evidence-based behavior management practices that are more effective for a wider variety of families of children with ASD.

Kearns, D., Zumeta, R., Lemons, C., & Robertson, R. Intensive intervention: Evidence for bold new directions in special education. Presented at Association of Researchers in Special Education Annual Conference, Franklin, TN.

Oct 12, 2013


Intensive intervention has emerged as an important new term in special education, mainly because many researchers in special education have observed limited gains in student achievement in recent studies. The search for better approaches has stretched researchers’ thinking and highlighted the role of single-subject research in developing more effective, individualized interventions. As chair, Devin Kearns, Ph.D. (Boston University), will describe the reason “intensive intervention” has become an important new term for special educators as it applies to academics and behavior. Rebecca Zumeta, Ph.D. (American Institutes of Research; AIR) will then describe the work she has done as the Technical Assistance and Dissemination Coordinator of the National Center on Intensive Intervention to build intensive interventions. Christopher J. Lemons, Ph.D. (Vanderbilt University) will describe his work to build early reading interventions for children with Down syndrome. Rachel E. Robertson, Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh) will discuss her work developing sustainable behavior interventions for racially and socioeconomically diverse parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Joseph H. Wehby, Ph.D. (Vanderbilt University) will serve as discussant. The tension between rigor and relevance in applied research, as well as the importance of integrating academic and behavior interventions, will be discussed.

Robertson, R. Intensive, effective, sustainable behavior interventions: Can we prove Skinner wrong? Presented at Association of Researchers in Special Education Annual Conference, Franklin, TN.

Oct 12, 2013


For a variety of reasons, gains made during behavior interventions can be extremely difficult to maintain – which ultimately left B.F. Skinner pessimistic about our ability to improve life conditions through behavior analysis (Chance, 2007). In this talk it is argued that one of the most critical ways for researchers to improve the effectiveness of behavior interventions is to make them implementable and sustainable for the family members, teachers, and direct care workers of people with problem behavior. Examples of successes and failures from a recent single-subject study with racially and socioeconomically diverse mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) will be provided, including a detailed analysis of parent treatment integrity and maintenance of results over time. Parent statements and permanent products relevant to the acceptability, effectiveness, and sustainability of behavior interventions will also be presented, along with issues relating to the external validity of the current research base on parent-implemented behavior interventions for children with ASD. Results indicate that differential reinforcement plus a visual support was acceptable, effective, and sustainable in 2 of 3 diverse families of children with ASD, even though parent treatment integrity decreased over time. Implications for building effective and sustainable interventions will be discussed.

Rachel E. Robertson

Contact

University of Pittsburgh
5146 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
412-648-3137
rachelr@pitt.edu