My career in early childhood special education (ECSE) started with baby chicks during my first required undergraduate research experience at the University of California, San Diego. It turned out that I was too squeamish for the procedures involved in studying nicotinic receptors in baby chicks’ brains. So, I was referred to an early childhood intervention lab. To my relief, I loved this research experience where I learned about effective and developmentally appropriate interventions for young children with autism. After graduating with a degree in Psychology, I moved to the East Coast to work full time as a special education teacher and complete my master’s degree. I found my passion for early intervention when working with infants and toddlers with autism during one of my three years of teaching. I loved working closely with children’s families and, often, seeing rapid positive changes in the children’s language and social behaviors. I became a clinical supervisor for an early intensive behavioral program for young children with autism and did this for several years before taking my PhD in early intervention at the University of Oregon.
Since then, I have completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Purdue University and was an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator for the ECSE program at Georgia State University. I have been the Principal Investigator on a number of research grants related to young children’s challenging behavior. I am the first author of a published assessment tool used to measure critical features of program-wide positive behavioral interventions and supports in early childhood settings, the Preschool-wide Evaluation Tool (Steed, Pomerleau, & Horner, 2012).
Classes I teach at the University of Colorado Denver School of Education & Human Development:
- Screening and Assessment of Young Children ─ ECED 5200
- Early Intervention Strategies ─ ECED 6200
- Social and Cognitive Development and Disabilities ─ ECED 5070
My research interests:
- Young children with challenging behavior
- Evidence-based social emotional interventions
- Positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) in early childhood settings
- Cross-cultural implementation of PBIS
In my free time I like to go hiking and camping with my family, spend time with extended family and friends, and to knit, play tennis and read.
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