Dr. Ingersoll's research focuses on the development, evaluation, and dissemination of social communication interventions for individuals with autism. She also conducts research on the impact of ASD on the family and the broader autism phenotype. A major emphasis of her current work is on the development of community-focused, parent-mediated interventions for young children with ASD.
Areas of Expertise (2)
Austism Spectrum Disorders (Asd)
University of California: Ph.D., Psychology 2003
University of California: M.A., Psychology 1999
University of Michigan: B.A., Psychology & French 1996
Journal Articles (5)
Developmental social–pragmatic and naturalistic behavioral interventions share a number of features, but they differ in their use of facilitative strategies and direct elicitation of child language. In this study, the authors investigated whether these approaches produce different language and social outcomes in young children with autism.
Imitation is an early skill thought to play a role in social development, leading some to suggest that teaching imitation to children with autism should lead to improvements in social functioning. This study used a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effect of a focused imitation intervention on initiation of joint attention and social-emotional functioning in 27 young children with autism. Results indicated the treatment group made significantly more gains in joint attention initiations at post-treatment and follow-up and social-emotional functioning at follow-up than the control group. Although gains in social functioning were associated with treatment, a mediation analysis did not support imitation as the mechanism of action. These findings suggest the intervention improves social functioning in children with ASD.
Parents and peers have been successful at implementing interventions targeting social interactions in children with autism; however, few interventions have trained siblings as treatment providers. This study used a multiple-baseline design across six sibling dyads (four children with autism) to evaluate the efficacy of sibling-implemented reciprocal imitation training. All six typically developing siblings were able to learn and use contingent imitation, four of the six siblings were able to learn and use linguistic mapping, and all six siblings increased their use of at least one component of the imitation training procedure. Three of the four children with autism showed increases in overall imitation and all four showed evidence of increases in joint engagement. Parents and siblings reported high satisfaction with the intervention and ratings by naïve observers indicated significant changes from pre- to post-treatment. These results suggest that sibling-implemented reciprocal imitation training may be a promising intervention for young children with autism.
Three self-report measures of the broader autism phenotype (BAP) were evaluated in terms of their internal consistency, distribution of scores, factor structure, and criterion-related validity in a non-clinical sample. All measures showed a continuous distribution. The SRS-A and BAPQ showed expected sex differences and were superior to the AQ in terms of internal consistency. The proposed factor structure of the BAPQ replicated better than the proposed structures of the other measures. All measures showed evidence of criterion validity via correlations with related constructs and each measure incremented the others in predicting related constructs. However, the SRS-A and BAPQ were generally stronger in this domain. Recommendations for the use of these instruments for measuring the BAP in non-clinical populations are discussed.
This study examined the relationship between the broader autism phenotype (BAP) and depressed mood in mothers of children with and without autism spectrum disorders (ASD). One hundred and sixty‐five mothers (71 with an ASD child and 94 with a non‐ASD child) completed a survey of child autism severity (ASD mothers only), parenting stress, BAP, and depression. Mothers of children with ASD reported greater depressed mood, higher parenting stress, and more characteristics associated with the BAP than mothers of children without ASD. For mothers of children with ASD, the BAP uniquely predicted number of depressive symptoms after controlling for child autism severity and parenting stress. In the full sample, the relationship between group status and depressed mood was no longer significant after controlling for parenting stress and maternal BAP. These findings suggest that the higher rate of depression found in mothers of children with ASD may be attributed both to the increased stress of raising a child with ASD, as well as a greater number of autistic features in the mothers that may place them at higher risk for developing depression.