Child Development and Language Lab
In the Child Development and Language Lab, Dr.
Spencer and her team conducts research with young children with disabilities
and children who are at risk of language and reading problems. Families,
teachers and other professionals are often involved in their studies. Researchers
employ high quality experimental designs to determine the effects of innovative
classroom and behavioral interventions and clinical treatments. They develop
and validate practitioner-friendly measurement tools. Dr. Spencer recruits
undergraduate and graduate students from education, psychology, and
communication science to be research assistants and work collaboratively on
projects. Student researchers receive mentorship from Dr. Spencer in both
research and practice and get hands-on experience with children.
Trina D. Spencer, PhD, BCBA-D
Dr. Spencer currently serves as the Research Director
at the Institute for Human Development (IHD) and has an associate research
faculty appointment in the Department of Educational Psychology at Northern
Arizona University. She earned a specialist degree in School Psychology and a
PhD in Disability Disciplines from Utah State University with emphases in
language development and early childhood special education. She has been a
board certified behavior analyst since 2001. Dr. Spencer has worked with
culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse children as well as
children with disabilities, their teachers, and their families for 15 years.
She has published 31 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 5 book chapters, and
22 non-peer reviewed articles, briefs, or encyclopedia entries. Her
publications and editorial service span a number of disciplines including
speech-language pathology, early childhood education, special education,
applied linguistics, and school psychology. Benefiting from strong
collaborations with practitioners and other researchers, Dr. Spencer maintains
a spirited research agenda to improve reading comprehension and academic
outcomes of the nation’s most vulnerable students. Specifically, she has
developed screening, curriculum-based measurement, and intervention tools so
that schools can implement a multi-tiered system of language support to
complement schools’ decoding efforts. Finally, Dr. Spencer writes extensively
on evidence-based practice and promotes interdisciplinary, collaborative
relationships among clinicians, educators, and researchers.
Current Studies /
- Development of a Dual Language Narrative Curriculum for Head
- Positive Behavior Intervention Supports - Early Childhood
- Undergrads and Underdogs: Shared Book Reading Experiences to
Enhance Vocabulary Skills of Preschoolers
- Spanish and English Multi-tiered Academic Language
- Academic Language Intervention with Native American Students
- Revolutionizing Literacy Assessment in Elementary Schools:
- American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Practice Guides
Spencer, T. D., Kajian, M., Petersen, D. B., & Bilyk, N.
(2013). Effects of an individualized narrative intervention on children’s
storytelling and comprehension skills. Accepted for publication in Journal of
Spencer, T. D., Petersen, D. B., Slocum, T. A., & Allen,
M. M. (in press). Large group narrative intervention in Head Start classrooms:
Implications for response to intervention. Journal of Early Childhood Research.
Noe, S., Spencer, T. D., Kruse, L., & Goldstein, H.
(2013). Effects of a tier 3 phonological intervention on preschoolers’ emergent
literacy. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education. Online First.
Detrich, R. D., Slocum, T. A., & Spencer, T. D. (2013).
Evidence-based education and best available evidence: Decision-making under
conditions of uncertainty. In B. G., Cook, M. Tankersley, & T. J. Landrum,
(Eds.). Evidence-based practices: Advances in learning and behavioral
disabilities, volume 26 (pp. 21-44). Bingley, UK: Emerald Group Publishing
Spencer, T. D., & Higbee, T. S. (2012). Using script training
and transfer of stimulus control procedures to promote generalization and
spontaneity of language. FOCUS on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 27(4),
Petersen, D. B., & Spencer, T. D. (2012). The Narrative
Language Measures: Tools for language screening, progress monitoring, and
intervention planning. Perspectives on Language Learning and Education, 19(4),
Spencer, T. D., Detrich, R., & Slocum, T. A. (2012).
Evidence-based practice: A framework for effective decisions. (Special Issue) Education
and Treatment of Children, 35(2), 127-151.
Gardner, A. W., Spencer, T. D., Boelter, E. W., DuBard, M.,
& Jennett, H. K. (2012). A systematic review of brief functional analysis
methodology with typically developing children. (Special Issue) Education and
Treatment of Children, 35(2), 313-332.
Slocum, T. A., Detrich, R., & Spencer, T. D. (2012).
Evaluating the validity of evidence based practice review systems. (Special
Issue) Education and Treatment of Children, 35(2), 201-233.
Slocum, T. A., Spencer, T. D., & Detrich, R. (2012).
Best available evidence: Three complementary approaches. (Special Issue) Education
and Treatment of Children, 35(2), 153-181.
Spencer, E., Spencer, T., Goldstein, H., & Schneider, N.
(2012). Identifying early literacy learning needs: Implications for child
outcome standards and assessment systems. In T. Shanahan & C. J. Lonigan
(Eds.), Early Childhood Literacy: The National Early Literacy Panel and Beyond (pp.45-70).
Baltimore, MD: Brookes Publishing.
Spencer, T. D., & Slocum, T. A. (2011). Maximizing
conversational independence using script training: Generalizing outside the
research base. EBP Briefs, 6(1), 1-8.
Spencer, T. D., & Slocum, T. A. (2010). The effect of a
narrative intervention on story retelling and personal story generation skills
of preschoolers with risk factors and narrative language delays. Journal of
Early Intervention, 32(3), 178-199.
Watkins, C. L., Slocum, T. A., & Spencer, T. D. (2010). Direct
Instruction: Relevance and applications to behavioral autism treatment. In E.
A. Mayville & J. A. Mulick (Eds.), Behavioral Foundations (pp. 297-319).
Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY: Sloan Publishing.