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Featured Profile: Janine Stichter

Janine Stitcher

University of Missouri researcher Dr. Janine Stichter gives educators tools to help students with autism succeed.

Stichter’s studies have helped define categories for children with autism based on their preferred learning environments. For instance, some youth require absolute quiet to concentrate on a task, while others need a level of background noise. Defining these subtypes is a useful step in identifying treatments as well as strategies for better learning.

Stichter has also developed recommendations for intervention strategies in schools, based on identifying the root cause of social problems. For example, acquisition problems occurs when students miss a step in performing a social skill sequence, while performance problems occur when students have skills but use them incorrectly. Educators can use their knowledge of the cause to choose an effective response.

Additionally, Stichter developed a curricula suite (Social Competence Intervention- SCI) to enhance social competence in youth and adolescents with autism, which has been used by educators across the country. She was also part of a team that designed a three dimensional virtual learning environment based on the curricula, called iSocial. Like a video game, iSocial presents goal- oriented situations for the user. The tasks build social competency by sharpening skills such as idea sharing, turn taking and facial expression recognition.

Dr. Janine Stichter is a professor of special education in the College of Education and a researcher at MU’s Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

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Related Initiative(s):
One Health/One Medicine