Current Research Projects


Reading Skills in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Learning Disabilities (LD)


Analyzing Life Satisfaction in Children with Disabilities

The purpose of this project is to gain insight on how life satisfaction differs among students with and without disabilities and how students' and parents' reports of life satisfaction differ.

This study was approved by the Utah State University IRB. Protocol #9316

Perceptions and Knowledge of Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Among Navajo Parents and Educational Professionals

The purpose of this study is to understand the perceptions and knowledge of neurodevelopmental disabilities (with a focus on ASD, ADHD, SLD, and ID) among Navajo parents and educational professionals working with the Navajo student population. This is a qualitative study that will utilize focus groups and survey responses to address perceptions, knowledge, stigma, community resources, and family involvement with educational professionals and Navajo parents.

Technology and EaRly Achievement in ASD

This study will use a single-case design methodology to examine the effectiveness of an app-based intervention for improving early numeracy and literacy with young children with ASD. 


For this study we are conducing a systematic review of SCD literature in school psychology specific journals to examine how often SCD methodologies are being published in the field.

Autism Knowledge among School-Based Professionals

Are you a practicing school psychologist, audiologist, or speech-language pathologist? Are you currently working in the school setting? Researchers in school psychology programs at Utah State University are looking for these school-based professionals to participate in a study on autism spectrum disorder knowledge. Participation consists of the completion an online survey (approximately 15 minutes). Participants will be entered in a separate drawing for the chance to win one of two $50 gift cards.

If you are interested in participating in the current study, please select the following link

Please feel free to forward the survey to other school psychologists and school-based audiologists or speech-language pathologists. We appreciate your help!

If you have any general questions about the survey, please contact the principal investigator, Maryellen McClain Verdoes, PhD at 435-797-6373 or This study has been approved by the Institutional Review Board (Protocol #9659) at Utah State University.

KNOWLEDGE OF autism spectrum disorder

SPRL is collaborating with Dr. Bryn Harris (school psychology faculty at University of Colorado Denver) and Dr. Gretchen Peacock (school psychology faculty at Utah State University) on developing a valid and reliable measure of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) knowledge for the general population. We are also examining parents' knowledge of ASD. Data for this study will be collected through Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

CURRENT STATE of ASD Knowledge in the General Population

The current study evaluates current ASD knowledge levels among a general education population sample.

ASD rating scales - comparison across parent populations

The & Lab is collaborating with Dr. Bryn Harris (school psychology faculty at UC Denver) on a project comparing the factor structures and measurement invariance of an ASD rating scale across parent populations. Data for this study will be collected on Amazon's Mechanical Turk.

Mindfulness, Academic Stress, and Reading

The & Lab is working on a project examining the effects of an app-based mindfulness intervention on academic stress and reading performance for elementary age students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) in reading.


Do you have a child between the ages of 6 and 12 with or without Autism? Researchers in the Psychology and Communication Disorders departments at Utah State University are looking for research participants for a study involving how children process speech and complete academic tasks in challenging listening environments. The study will consist of 2 sessions, lasting approximately 1½ hours each. Participants will be compensated with a $10 gift card after the completion of session 1 and a $20 gift card after the completion of session 2. Participants will also receive an age-appropriate book or toy after the completion of both sessions.

If you would like more information, please contact the Principal Investigator, Dr. Maryellen McClain Verdoes at 435-797-6373 or

This study was approved by the Utah State University IRB. Protocol #7806.