University of Wisconsin–Madison

Jennifer Asmus

Professor

asmus@wisc.edu

(608) 262-3027

316B Educational Sciences
1025 West Johnson St
Madison, WI 53706-1706

Personal Biography

Dr. Asmus joined the faculty in 2005 as an Associate Professor. She has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education to evaluate and remediate severe problematic behaviors and socially withdrawn behavior of children with Autism. Dr. Asmus is currently a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Her teaching interests include applied behavior analysis, assessment and intervention for children with developmental disabilities, single-subject design, and evidenced-based practice.

RESEARCH INTERESTS

My research program is focused in the area of applied behavior analysis ( ABA) using single-subject research methodology. The focus of my work is to utilize functional analysis methodology in natural settings such as the classroom or home to develop interventions to assist children with behavioral difficulties. Most recently, I have conducted assessments to decrease problem behavior such as aggression or disruption and increase appropriate behaviors such as positive social interactions for children with Autism. The goal of my research is to replace problematic behaviors with more socially acceptable communication options so that ultimately increased opportunities for inclusion in general education settings will occur.

GRANTS AND SPONSORSHIPS

  • 5/31/2014 – “Peer Support And Peer Network Interventions,” Awarded By: IES, Daniel M. Bolt, Supporting; Erik W. Carter; Jennifer M. Asmus.

PUBLICATIONS

  • Asmus, J.M. (2008). Descriptive Analysis of Classroom Setting Events on the Social Behaviors of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, 43, 186-197.
    Abstract: Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are characterized by extreme deficits in social relatedness with same-age peers. The purpose of this descriptive study was to identify naturally occurring antecedent variables (i.e., setting events) in the classroom environments of children with ASD that promoted their engagement in peer-related social behaviors. Over a 12-week period, seven preschool-aged children were individually observed an average of 3.4 – 5.9 hours across the following classroom setting events: (a) contexts with varying peer group sizes, (b) contexts in which the adult or child directed the activities, and (c) contexts with varying levels of teacher engagement. Results based on a continuous, sequential behavioral coding system showed that for the majority of participants; small group sizes, child directed activities, and limited teacher engagement most influenced the occurrence of target children’s social behaviors. Implications of this study to practice are addressed.
  • Conroy, M.C., Boyd, B.A., Asmus, J.M., & Madera, D. (2007). A Functional Approach for Ameliorating Social Skills Deficits in Young Children with AUtism Spectrum Disorders. Infants and Young Children, 20, 242-254.
  • Conroy, M.A., Asmus, J.M., Boyd, B.A., Ladwig, C.N., & Sellers, J.A. Antecedent Classroom Factors and Disruptive Behaviors of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Unpublished Manuscript, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 30(1), 19 – 35.
    Online Publication/Abstract
    Abstract: This study examined relationships between antecedent classroom factors and the disruptive behaviors of five elementary-aged students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A descriptive analysis was conducted to determine the influence of four types of molar antecedent classroom factors (i.e., instructional setting, instructional activity, availability of materials, and adult proximity) occurring within the general education classroom on target children’s disruptive behavior. Sequential analyses were conducted to identify possible influences of these factors on the relationship between adult directives and subsequent target child disruptive behavior. Results showed different antecedent classroom factors influenced the occurrence of and the strength and direction of the sequential relationships between teacher directives and child disruptive behavior across participants. Although idiosyncratic findings occurred, for the majority of participants, specific antecedent factors decreased the rate of disruptive behavior including: a group setting, academic adult-directed activities, no materials present, and no adult proximity. Implications for practitioners and future research are discussed. (Contains 7 tables.)
  • Conroy, M.A., Asmus, J.M., Sellers, J.A., & Ladwig, C.N. The Use of an Antecedent-Based Intervention to Decrease Stereotypic Behavior in a General Education Classroom: A Case Study. Unpublished Manuscript, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 20(4), 223 – 230.
    Online Publication/Abstract
    Abstract: The incidence of children identified as having autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is increasing (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, 2003). Many of these children are enrolled in general education settings, posing an ever-growing challenge for the teachers in those settings. There is a critical need to develop interventions for students with ASD that can be used in general education classrooms. The current case study addressed this issue by implementing and evaluating the effectiveness of an antecedent-based intervention on the stereotypic behavior of a student with ASD who was fully included in a kindergarten classroom. Following a functional analysis indicating that the stereotypic behavior was maintained by automatic reinforcement, an antecedent intervention was designed that included the use of visual cues to indicate activity times when it was acceptable and when it was not acceptable for the student to engage in stereotypic behavior. Effectiveness of the intervention was examined using an alternating treatment design (Barlow & Hayes, 1979). Following implementation of the intervention, the student’s stereotypic behavior decreased during the times indicated by the visual cue that it was unacceptable to engage in stereotype. A replication was conducted transferring the implementation of the intervention to the teacher’s assistant in the classroom.
  • Asmus, J.M. Use of a short-term inpatient model to evaluate aberrant behavior: Outcome data summaries from 1996 to 2001. Unpublished Manuscript, University of Wisconsin, Madison. 37(3), 283 – 304.
    Online Publication/Abstract
    Abstract: Previous outcome studies have provided descriptions of functional analyses conducted in outpatient clinics (Derby et al., 1992), long-term inpatient programs (Iwata, Pace, et al., 1994), and home environments (Wacker et al., 1998). This study provides a description of 138 children and adults with and without developmental disabilities who were evaluated and treated for aberrant behaviors on a short-term inpatient unit. The results indicated that the functional analyses conducted during a short-term inpatient evaluation were successful for 96% of the participants in identifying maintaining reinforcers of aberrant behavior and leading to an 80% or greater reduction in aberrant behavior for 76% of the participants in an average of 10 days. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

PRESENTATIONS

  • Asmus, J.M., Discussant (2010, May 31). A tutorial on objective methods for determining the values of those we serve for the things we recommend as behavior analysts, Association for Behavior Analysis International, Association for Behavior Analysis International, San Antonio, Tx.
  • Asmus, J.M., Presenter & Author (2010, May 30). Parents’ Ability to Identify Social Communication Behaviors in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Association for Behavior Analysis International, Association for Behavior Analysis International, San Antonio, Tx.
  • Asmus, J.M., Author Only (2010, May 30). Using Applied Behavior Analysis Methods to Assess Prosocial Behaviors in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Association for Behavior Analysis International, Association for Behavior Analysis International, San Antonio, Tx.
  • Asmus, J.M., Presenter & Author (2009). Application of applied behavior analysis strategies to social skill assessment for children with autism spectrum disorders, Wisconsin Association for Behavior Analysis, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, CFDA#93.768, Wisconsin Department of Health Services/Pathways to Independence, Madison, WI.
  • Asmus, J.M., Presenter & Author (2009). Use of Descriptive Assessment and Structural Analysis to Evaluate Social Behavior in Children with Autism, Association for Behavior Analysis, Association for Behavior Analysis, Phoenix, AZ.
  • Asmus, J.M., Presenter & Author Increasing prosocial behaviors for students with autism in inclusive classrooms using peer-mediated intervention, Association for Behavior Analysis, Association for Behavior Analysis, Chicago, IL.

EDUCATION

PhD, Educational Psychology/School Psychology
University of Iowa
Iowa City, IA