• STAR lab

Laura Fontil Successfully Defends her Dissertation

On June 26th, we are pleased to announce that Laura Fontil successfully defended her doctoral dissertation: Transition to School for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Policy Implications, Family Perceptions, and Intervention Efficacy (Transition to School Project). 

Starting school is one of the most significant early transitions in a child’s life. Although important, merely 50% of students achieve successful school transition, with the remaining children achieving moderate to poor levels of success. Children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who are in transition often experience difficulties that greatly surpass those experienced by typically developing children.  Given the recent increase in prevalence in ASD and the global attention transition to school (TTS) has recently been given, this research program will explore issues related to TTS for children with ASDs and their families.  

More specifically, this study aims to implement and evaluate the effectiveness of a TTS intervention for children with ASDs and their families.  To meet this objective this program of research is separated into 3 phases.  Phase 1 will investigate and describe TTS practices for children with ASDs and their families in Canada via a TTS survey completed by preschool service providers.  Phase 2 will investigate what child and family characteristics are correlated to caregiver perceptions of the TTS for children with ASD.  Phases 1 and 2 will set the stage for the eventual implementation and evaluation of a TTS intervention for children with ASDs preparing to make the transition to kindergarten in Phase 3.


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