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Jennifer Ledford

Assistant Professor, Department of Special Education


Jennifer Ledford is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education. She has expertise in single case research design, effective instructional practices, and children with autism spectrum disorders. Her current research relates to systematic instruction in early childhood classrooms and increasing physical activity for students with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Ledford is a faculty member in the Early Childhood Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) programs.


Dr. Ledford has worked with doctoral and masters students on recent projects to answer the following research questions:

1.      Do young children prefer embedded instruction or massed-trial instruction, and which is more efficient?

2.      Do young children prefer one-to-one instruction or small group instruction, and which is more efficient?

3.      What are the effects of antecedent exercise on engagement and problem behavior in large group activities?

4.      What are the effects of shaping and peer modeling on food acceptance for young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD)?

5.      What are the effects of visual schedules for young children who do not have ASD?

6.      Does a trial-based functional analysis identify the function of self-injurious behavior for a two-year old with multiple disabilities in an early childcare setting and can this analysis assist in the identification of an effective intervention that can be implemented in the typical setting?

7.      Does a functional analysis conducted during typical playground activities assist in identifying the function of pica behavior for a four-year old with Down syndrome and can this analysis assist in the identification of an effective intervention that can be implemented on the playground?

8.      Do different sources (teacher report, structured preference assessment, free operant preference assessment, reinforcer assessment) provide discrepant information regarding preferences and potential reinforcers for young children with and without disabilities?


Through two federally-funded grants, funding is available for students interested in pursuing a master's degree in early childhood with an emphasis in autism spectrum disorders or behavior analysis


Courses Taught

  • SPEDE 7400: Instruction and Learning in Early Childhood Special Education
  • SPED 8810: Introduction to Single Subject Research Methodology