Melinda J. Ault, Ph.D.
Melinda Jones Ault is a professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education and Counselor Education. Before coming to the university, Dr. Ault taught students with moderate and severe disabilities in rural Kentucky for 4 years. Dr. Ault served for many years as a research associate at the University of Kentucky, working on federally-funded research projects related to systematic instruction of students with moderate to severe disabilities, single subject research design, and early childhood special education. Most recently she served as the Project Director for the National Assistive Technology Research Institute, a federally funded project designed to examine factors related to the planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of assistive technology services in schools.
Dr. Ault has co-authored a book related to systematic instruction for students with moderate to severe disabilities, an environmental assessment instrument for early childhood K-3 classrooms, a computer program for single subject research design, an instructional material for the implementation of assistive technology in schools, and over 35 journal articles related to her work. She regularly presents at national and international professional conferences.
Dr. Ault received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education and Special Education and a Masters degree in Special Education from the University of Kentucky. She received her Doctorate in Special Education from the University of Kentucky in 2010.
Her current research interests are in systematic instruction, communication, and technology applications for students with significant disabilities, and inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities in their faith communities.
Justin D. Lane, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Dr. Justin D. Lane is an Associate Professor of Special Education in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Counselor Education. He received his doctorate in special education from the University of Georgia and a Master of Education in Early Childhood Special Education from Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt University, he completed the Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) training program.
Dr. Lane has experience teaching children in preschool classrooms, as well as providing educational and behavioral supports to families, practitioners, and young students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related disabilities in classrooms, homes, and the community.
Dr. Lane’s research focuses on designing and evaluating individualized interventions for young children with low-incidence disabilities using single subject research methodology. His specific area of research is instruction for young children with ASD and related disabilities with a focus on increasing communication skills, social interactions with peers, and related functional behaviors in typical settings. In addition, Dr. Lane studies effective and efficient methods for measuring and evaluating observational data.
Sally B. Shepley, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Dr. Sally B. Shepley is an Associate Professor of Special Education in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Counselor Education and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst- Doctoral (BCBA-D). She received her Bachelor of Science, Master of Education, and Doctorate Degrees in Special Education at the University of Georgia.
Dr. Shepley taught adolescents with severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in public school prior to earning her doctorate. Dr. Shepley also has experience training teachers and parents to implement behavior analytic strategies and assessing/treating severe problem behaviors in clinical settings.
Dr. Shepley’s line of research focuses on teaching procedures for adolescents and adults with disabilities as they prepare for the transition to post-secondary environments. Currently, her research focuses on teaching self-instructional skills using video technology presented on mobile devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets) to adolescents with ASD and intellectual disability (ID).
Amy D. Spriggs, Ph.D.
Dr. Amy Spriggs is an associate professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education and Counselor Education. She received her Bachelor of Science, Master of Education, and Doctorate Degrees in Special Education at the University of Georgia. While pursuing her degrees, Dr. Spriggs taught in the public schools, giving her over ten years of experience working with students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and students with moderate/severe disabilities. During this time, she secured grant monies to be used in her classroom. Her research focused on student needs including practical systematic instruction implementation in the classroom, strategies to increase independence, access to recreation and leisure activities, and video modeling. Dr. Spriggs has authored book chapters and publications pertaining to these topics, and has presented her research at state and national conferences.
Dr. Spriggs is currently the Program Faculty Coordinator for the Moderate and Sever Disabilities (MSD) program. She advises all undergraduates and teaches MSD courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Research interests include practical systematic instructional strategies for individuals with ASD and moderate/severe disabilities, increased independence, evidence-based practices, and technology.
Collin Shepley, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Collin Shepley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education, and Counselor Education and serves as a faculty member in the Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education program. Prior to entering higher education, Dr. Shepley worked in public schools for seven years as a paraprofessional, home-based service provider, and classroom teacher. The majority of his time in public schools was a preschool special education teacher serving children with social-communication delays and challenging behavior. In addition, Dr. Shepley worked in the University of Georgia’s Severe Behavior and Skill Acquisition Clinic as a clinical supervisor, overseeing service-provision. In this setting, Dr. Shepley oversaw program development and implementation for individuals with severe behavior and young children with autism.
Dr. Shepley presently teaches courses related to child development, preschool lesson planning, and assessment of young children. Dr. Shepley has previously taught courses related to managing severe and aggressive behavior in schools, ethics in applied behavior analysis, and single-case methodology in special education.
Central to all Dr. Shepley’s research projects is a focus on identifying and providing research-supported interventions to children with disabilities in schools and homes. In addition, Dr. Shepley adheres to research practices in accordance with the Open Science movement, whereby data and materials are freely available to consumers. Current research interests include feasible practices for training teachers and caregivers, tiered support systems in early childhood settings, and advancing research methods in early childhood and special education.