College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

Applied Behavior Analysis Lab


We conduct functional behavior assessment and treatment of challenging behavior of individuals with intellectual and neurodevelopmental disorders as well as assessment and instructional support related to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) for individuals who are non-vocal, including those with Rett syndrome. We study environmental variables related to response allocation, behavioral persistence, and resurgence of challenging behavior. Videoconferencing technology allows us to connect remotely with connecting with families and educators to overcome geographic barriers.


Developing an Intervention Model for Complex Communication Needs in Rett Syndrome

National Institutes of Health (NIH), Principal Investigator

This research project is designed to examine an assessment and intervention process for teaching individuals with Rett syndrome to use augmentative and alternative communication systems. We connect with families all over the country via videoconferencing to conduct 2-3 sessions per week.

Teams Engaged in Advancing Meaningful Outcomes for Students with Severe Behavior Disorders

Funded by U. S. Department of Education (USDE) and the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), Principal Investigator

This training project is designed to provide interdisciplinary training and guided experience to graduate students in special education and school psychology in effective instruction, assessment, and intervention for students with severe behavior disorders.

Leadership Training to Promote Students’ Academic and Behavioral Success in Grades 3-8

Funded by the USDE/OSEP, Principal Investigator

This training project is designed to prepare doctoral students in special education to provide leadership in effective implementation of multi-tiered systems of support and related evidence-based practices for students in grades 3-8.

Recent publications

Martens, B. K., Baxter, E. L., McComas, J. J., Sallade, S. J., Kester, J. S., Caamano, M..,Dimian, A., Simacek, J., & Pennington, B. (2019). Agreement between structured descriptive assessments and functional analyses conducted over a telehealth system. Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, 19,

Burns, M. K., Maki, K. E., Helman, L., McComas, J. J., & Young, H. (2018). Contributions of the components of phonemic awareness to letter-sound knowledge with kindergarten students in high-poverty urban elementary schools. Reading & Writing Quarterly: Overcoming Learning Difficulties, 34,

Pennington, B., Simacek, J., McComas, J., McMaster, K., & Elmquist, M. (2018). Maintenance and generalization in functional behavior assessment/behavior intervention plan literature. Journal of Behavioral Education,

Van Norman, E. R., Maki, K. E., Burns, M. K., McComas, J. J., & Helman, L. (2018). Comparison of progress monitoring data from general outcome measures of specific subskill mastery measures for reading. Journal of School Psychology, 67, 179-18.

Benson, S., Dimian, A., Elmquist, M., Simacek, J., McComas, J. J., & Symons, F. J. (2018). Coaching parents to assess and treat self-injurious behaviour via telehealth. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 62,1114-1123

Simacek, J., Dimian, A.F., & McComas, J.J. (2017). Communication intervention for young children with severe neurodevelopmental disabilities via telehealth. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 47, 744-767

McComas, J. J., Downwind, I., Klingbeil, D. A., Petersen-Brown, S., Davidson, K. M., & Parker, D. C. (2017). Relations between instructional practices and on-task behavior in classrooms serving American Indian students. Journal of Applied School Psychology, 33, 89-108.

Pennington, B., & McComas, J. J. (2017). Effects of the good behavior game across classroom contexts. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 50, 176-180.

Simacek, J., Reichle, J., & McComas, J. (2016). Communication intervention to teach requesting through aided AAC for two learners with Rett syndrome. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 28, 59-81.

Chen, M., McComas, J., & Reichle, J. (2015). Brief component analysis to identify the active variable in the maintenance of tolerance for delay of reinforcement intervention for an adolescent with autism. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 27, 393-404.

McComas, J. J. and Shipchandler, A. (2018). Current state of the evidence for communication intervention for individuals with Rett syndrome. Open Access Government.

McComas, J. J. (2018). Tackling communication difficulties in Rett syndrome. Research Features

McComas, J. J. (2011). Culture matters: Joining state standards with tradition. Connect. Publication of the College of Education and Human Development.