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Dr Shawn P. Gilroy, PhD BCBA NCSP: Incoming Fellow

Project Title: An evidence-based communication training protocol using touchscreen media devices

Host Institution: National University of Ireland, Galway

Host PI: Dr Geraldine Leader

Home Institution: Temple University Philadelphia


Project Summary: High-technology devices (i.e., tablets, phones) are increasingly enlisted to be adjuncts, or even complete replacements, to a range of evidence-based strategies for individuals with autism and developmental disabilities.  The rapid advances in touchscreen technology and application development has yielded more affordable and potentially more efficient options than traditional alternatives.  In the area of communication disorders, mobile applications utilizing personal media players and touchscreen technology offer functionality previously exclusive to costly (~$8,000 USD) alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) devices.  While surely more economical, research on the outcomes of high-technology AAC has not been considered or conducted as thoroughly as for similar yet low-technology approaches (e.g., Picture Exchange Communication System).  Dr. Gilroy’s study aims to incorporate expertise from psychologists, behaviour analysts, and computer scientists in a joint project investigating the effects and relative effects of current high technology options on verbal behaviour. 

Dr Gilroy’s Profile: Dr. Gilroy received his Ph.D. in School Psychology from Temple University.  Certified as both an educational psychology and behaviour analyst, Shawn completed his pre-doctoral training in Behavioural Pediatrics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute and his postdoctoral training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine’s Kennedy Krieger Institute.  His research has focused on the development and evaluation of evidence-based protocols for the use of technology with exceptional populations.  Additional projects have included behavioural decision-making, applied behaviour economics, and computational modelling of human decision-making. 

Selected Works:

  • Lorah, E. R., Crouser, J., Gilroy, S. P., Tincani, M., & Hantula, D. A. (2014).  Within Stimulus Prompting to Teach Symbol Discrimination Using an iPad Speech Generating Device. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 26(3), 335-346.
  • Lorah, E. R., Gilroy, S. P., & Hineline, P. H. (2014).  Acquisition of Peer Manding and Listener Responding in Young Children with Autism.  Journal of Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 8(2), 61-67.
  • Lorah, E. R., Tincani, M., Dodge, J., Gilroy, S. P., Hickey, A., & Hantula, D. A. (2014). Evaluating picture exchange and the iPad as a speech generating device to teach communication to young children with autism. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 25(6), 637-649.