Stefano Bagnato

Professor of Psychology & Pediatrics
Department of Health & Human Development (HHD)
Applied Developmental Psychology Program (ADP)

Stefano Bagnato, EdD, NCSP, is a Developmental School Psychologist, & Professor of Psychology & Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, Schools of Education (Department of Health & Human Development-HHD; Applied Developmental Psychology-ADP program) and Medicine (Departments of Pediatrics; & Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation). He is the Faculty Mentor for the Children with Special Healthcare Needs specialization in ADP. Dr. Bagnato is the Founder and Faculty Mentor for the Early Childhood Partnerships (ECP) program at Pitt; moreover, he is a core interdisciplinary psychology faculty in the UCLID-LEND Disabilities Institute at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh-federally-funded since 1994 by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the USDHHS/HRSA for leadership education in neurodevelopmental disabilities for Masters and Doctoral students at Pitt and other universities.

In over 40 years of research, Dr. Bagnato has specialized in authentic assessment, intervention, & program evaluation research for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers at developmental-risk and with neurodevelopmental disabilities in early childhood intervention programs. He has published over 200 research articles, monographs, technical papers, and professional publications, including,10 books in this specialty. His latest companion texts are Authentic Assessment for Early Childhood Intervention: Best Practices, 3rd Edition (Guilford, 2007), and LINKing Authentic Assessment and Early Childhood Intervention: Best Measures for Best Practices, 5th Edition (Brookes, 2010; 2023-in development); The SPECS: Functional Assessment & Classification System for Early Childhood Intervention (2021); and the nationally used screening & assessment system, Temperament and Atypical Behavior Scale (TABS): Early Childhood Indicators of Developmental Dysfunction (Brookes, 1999). [see contributions]

He is a nationally & internationally respected expert and advisory panel member, consultant, and evaluation director for various early childhood intervention initiatives, organizations, projects, and think tanks, including the Heinz Endowments-Early Childhood Initiatives; Heinz Endowments and OCDEL-Pre-K Counts in Pennsylvania for Youngster's Early School Success; the World Health Organization (International Classification of Functioning: ICF-CY); the UNICEF Global Disability Assessment Project for Low Resource Countries; The HELIOS Foundation Early Childhood Assessment Initiative; Zero-to-Three National Early Childhood Center on Development, Teaching, and Learning (DTL); and the Mathematica-Early Childhood Teacher Instructional Assessment Initiative; SEAS (Schools Empowering At-Risk Students) Initiative, Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness, Penn State University; Maine Association of School Psychologists Early Childhood Assessment Training Initiative; the Australia Early Childhood Intervention Developmental Delay Re-definition Task Force--National Disability Insurance System (NDIS), & member of the external evaluation team with Stanford Research Institute (SRI) for the Cathryn Hershey Foundation Early Childhood Initiative, & the SRI research team for the OSERS/OSEP-funded Technology Supports for Authentic Assessment in Early Childhood Intervention (CFDA 84.32 7V; 2022-2027).

Instructional Interests

  • HHD 2530: Applied Developmental Psychology: Professional Identity & Leadership
  • HHD 2510: Assessment of Childrens' Development in Real-World Contexts
  • SHRS 2091: MCHB Leadership Seminar I: Maternal & Child Health: From Biology to Policy
  • SHRS 2431: MCHB Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities II

Scholarly Interests

  • Assessment
  • Child Development
  • Continuous Improvement
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Early Childhood Intervention
  • Evaluation
  • Infants and Toddlers
  • Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
  • Interdisciplinary Education
  • Intervention and Prevention
  • Measurement
  • Mental Health
  • Prevention and Intervention
  • Risk and Resilience
  • Social-Emotional Development

Select Grants

  • Bagnato, SJ (2010-2022). SPECS for Include Me (IM)--Program Evaluation of PA State-Wide Teacher Inclusion Mentoring Initiative, Funded by Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE)-Bureau of Special Education, and The Arc of PA, to School of Education, Department of Psychology-in-Education [$65,000]

  • Bagnato, SJ (2022-2027), Stanford Research Institute (SRI), External Evaluation Team for the Cathryn Hershey Foundation Early Childhood Initiative [$97,000]

  • Bagnato, SJ (1995-2026). The UCLID-LEND Disabilities Center & Institute at the University of Pittsburgh & UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Funding to support 15% time commitment as core interdisciplinary psychology faculty member of the team, funding from USDHHS, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, US Department of Health & Human Services [$27,135]

Featured Publications


  • Bagnato, SJ., Macy, M.(In Progress for 2023). LINKing Authentic Assessment and Early Childhood Intervention: Best Practices for Best Outcomes (5th Edition). Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Publishing

  • Bagnato, SJ. (2021). SPECS: Functional Assessment & Classification System for Early Childhood Intervention (0-6 years): Pittsburgh, PA: Early Childhood Partnerships.

  • Bagnato, SJ., & Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2010). LINKing Authentic Assessment and Early Childhood Intervention: Best Measures for Best Practices (4th Edition). Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes Publishing Co.

  • Bagnato, SJ (2007). Authentic Assessment for Early Childhood Intervention: Best Practices (3rd Edition). NY: Guilford Press, Inc.

Referred Research

  • Bagnato, SJ., Macy, M. (in press). LINK International & Interdisciplinary Forum on Authentic Assessment for Early Childhood Intervention. International Journal for Early Childhood Special Education.
  • Bagnato, SJ., Macy, M. (in press). Authentic Assessment for Early Childhood Intervention: Virtual & In-Vivo Contexts. Infants and Young Children.
  • Bagnato, SJ., Salaway, J., Larson, T. (in press). Include Me: Effective Teacher Mentoring & Successful Inclusion in Pennsylvania Classrooms for Parents & Students with Complex Disabilities (2010-2020). (in press). Infants and Young Children.
  • Macy, M., & Bagnato, SJ (2022). Authentic & Meaningful Developmental Screening in Early Childhood. Teaching Young Children, NAEYC Conference Proceedings, 1-10.
  • Macy, M., & Bagnato, SJ (2022). Let's Talk About Authentic Assessment: Professional Focus Group Conversations as a Form of Social Validity Evidence. Infants & Young Children.
  • Bagnato, SJ., Macy, M., Weiszhaupt, K. (2019). Family-friendly Communication Via Authentic Assessment for Early Childhood Intervention Programs. Zero to Three Research Journal. 12(1), 36-42
  • Larson, T., Bagnato, SJ., Miglioretti, M., Barone-Martin, C., & McNeal, R. (2019). HealthyInfants: Fostering Responsive Caregiving via Tiered Mentoring for High-Risk Teen Mothers and Infants. Perspectives on Early Childhood Psychology & Education, 4(1), 76-93.
  • Bagnato, SJ., Seo, J, Salaway, J (2017). Field-Validation of the COMET Mentoring Model to Enhance the Instructional Practices of Head Start Teachers. Perspectives in Preschool Education and Psychology, 3(1), 71-99.
  • Macy, M., Bagnato, SJ., Macy, R., Salaway, J. (2015). Conventional Tests and Testing for Early Intervention Eligibility: Is There an Evidence-base? Infants and Young Children, 28(2), 182-204.
  • Bagnato, SJ. Goins, D. Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2014). Authentic Assessment as "Best Practice" for Early Childhood Intervention: National Consumer Social Validity Research. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 34(2), 116-127
  • Bagnato, SJ., Lee, D., Pretti-Frontczak, K. (2016). Utility & Validity of Authentic Assessments & Conventional Tests for International Early Childhood Intervention Purposes: Evidence from US National Social Validity Research, Journal of Intellectual Disability: Diagnosis & Treatment, 3, 164-176.

Awards and Honors

  • Penn State University Distinguished Alumni Fellows Award, Oct 14, 2014
    Lifetime professional achievement award for excellence in service and research in applied developmental psychology and early childhood intervention with state, national, and international influences

  • 2008 Penn State University Excellence In Education Alumni Award, Oct 14, 2008
    Annual award to honor an alumni whose research and service in national and international venues demonstrates the quality and impact of education and psychology applied research on the field of education

  • University of Pittsburgh Chancellor's Distinguished Public Service Award - Nov 10, 2001
    “for your advocacy for children in the field of Applied Developmental Psychology…for facilitating more integrated and interdisciplinary Community-University partnerships, and for empowering children, families, and their community early childhood programs in Pittsburgh and across Pennsylvania."

  • Braintree Hospital National Brain-Injury Research Award, Oct 10, 1986
    Innovations in interdisciplinary research linking assessment and intervention for young children with acquired and congenital brain-injuries

Engagement, Partnerships, and Professional Service

  • UCLID-LEND Disabilities Institute, UPMC Children’s Hospital of PIttsburgh; Interdisciplinary team member in the the LEND Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities national training/mentoring program for students and community professionals and parents
  • HealthyCHILD Program, Office of Child Development; Evaluation Coordinator, SPECS for HealthyCHILD program evaluation research for the impact and outcomes of the HealthyCHILD tiered prevention-intervention model with children, parents, teachers, and administrators in early childhood intervention programs across PA
  • Include Me Initiative, The Arc of PA & PA Department of Education/Bureau of Special Education; Coordinator, PA state-wide program evaluation initiative of a teacher inclusion mentoring program for public school teachers serving students with severe disabilities in regular classroom settings
  • SEAS (Schools Empowering At-Risk Students), Department of Defense Education Agency, Penn State University Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness; program evaluation research of an MTSS model to train and support educational and interdisciplinary professionals on world-wide US military bases to promote the progress of families and students with social-behavioral and mental health challenges.
Stefano Bagnato


University of Pittsburgh
5118 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

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