College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

Special ed student awarded 2023 Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award

Emma Worthley, MA

Emma Worthley, a PhD student in the special education program in the Department of Educational Psychology, has been awarded the 2023 Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award in the social sciences category by the Graduate School at the University of Minnesota. Worthley’s winning thesis, “Sensory Responsivity as a Predictor of Adaptive Behavior Development in Toddlers At-Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorders,” was published in 2020. The Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award includes a $500 honorarium and nomination to the 2023 MAGS/ProQuest Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award competition.

In her study, Worthley investigated the explanatory role of sensory responsivity in the development of adaptive behavior for toddlers diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She determined sensory seeking seemed to be an influential predictor of adaptive behavior domain outcomes for toddlers with ASD.