Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York
Sara's research has concentrated on examining behavior analytic interventions to address characteristic weaknesses associated with the Down syndrome behavioral phenotype (a pattern of strengths and weaknesses specific to the disorder). Information about relative weaknesses can guide choice of skills to address in intervention. Furthermore, the relative strengths identified could be built upon to address these weakness. In one study, Sara used prompting and social reinforcement to address weaknesses in verbal imitation and requesting skills in toddlers with Down syndrome. All of the toddlers successfully acquired the target responses and generalized, emitting novel sounds in imitation. Sara hopes that the promising results of her research focusing on communication impairments will validate the implementation of behavior analytic interventions to address other areas of weakness. Children with Down syndrome also show pronounced weaknesses in areas of motor development. One early manifestation of these motor weaknesses is in exploratory motor skills (a subset of motor skills that involve motor movements with objects). No behavior analytic interventions have yet been implemented to address this area.
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