r. Trina Spencer has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst for the last 21 years and is currently a Fulbright Scholar at the Center for Augmentative and Alternative Communication in South Africa. Today, she shares about her career journey, and all of the incredible and inspiring work she is doing for the field. Dr. Spencer’s goal is to encourage research-practitioner partnerships, interprofessional collaboration, and anti-ableist practices.
On the day of our recording, Dr. Spencer was celebrating the launch of ECHO Autism – South Africa. ECHO Autism is a virtual learning network of providers offering real-time access to autism and behavioral experts. This advisory board of Echo Autism is the first on the continent of Africa.
Among her research and fascinating work, she has designed instructional tools. Story Champs is a multi-tiered system of language instruction used in a variety of educational settings across several countries. This structured program provides robust teaching procedures that allow for use in one on one settings as well as small or large groups. Story Champs includes 65 lessons that scale from preschool to 3rd grade. Goals in this system include story retelling, personal stories, fictional stories, writing personal stories, and answering WH questions but the scope and skills included with this instruction are vast! Social academic language is promoted throughout the instruction as well as in use in the reading opportunities taken straight from the learner’s social studies and science curriculum.
The CUBED Assessment is a free downloadable comprehensive assessment that works great with story champs but can also be used and accessed independently of that program as well.
“The CUBED is a family of screening and progress monitoring tools that accurately, reliably, and efficiently measure decoding, language comprehension, and their product, reading. There are two main subtests of the CUBED – The Dynamic Decoding Measures and the Narrative Language Measures, which together measure 18 targets.” – Language Dynamics Group
I am so excited to follow along with all the AMAZING work Dr. Spencer is doing and will continue to do in the field. Be sure to check out all the amazing linked resources she shared today to purchase Story Champs, download CUBED, and so many more freebies!
Dr. Trina Spencer has degrees in School Psychology and Disability Disciplines. She has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst for more than 21 years and has worked extensively with children with and without disabilities, their teachers, clinicians, and families. Dr. Spencer is an associate professor at the Rightpath Research & Innovation Center at the University of South Florida, but is currently a Fulbright Scholar at the Center for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), University of Pretoria, South Africa. Merging her expertise in storytelling with AAC and multilingualism, she aims to build research-based, culturally-derived interventions tailored to the needs of diverse South African students. Drawing from the science of learning and behavior, Dr. Spencer considers herself an instructional designer and intervention scientist, which demands knowledge of a wide range of research designs, research literature from several disciplines, and an appreciation of implementation science. With a speech-language pathology colleague, she has developed several assessment instruments and Story Champs, a popular multi-tiered narrative intervention curriculum. As an advocate of researcher-practitioner partnerships and clinical practice research, Dr. Spencer is the current chair for ASHA’s committee on Clinical Practice Research, Implementation Science, and Evidence-based Practice (CRISP). She routinely promotes anti-ableist practices, cultural humility, and interprofessional collaboration.
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