Jennifer Frey

Jennifer Frey
Associate Professor, Special Education & Disability Studies
(202) 994-9061

Jennifer R. Frey, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Associate Professor and Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral Level, directs the early childhood special education and autism graduate programs, advises graduate students, and teaches courses related to assessment of young children with disabilities, language development and intervention, behavior management, research and trends in special education, and quantitative research methods. She also serves as Center Associate in the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools at the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health and is a member of the national Bridging the Word Gap Research Network Parent-Implemented Interventions Working Group.

Dr. Frey received her doctorate in education and human development with a major in special education and specializations in educational psychology and applied behavior analysis from Vanderbilt University. While a doctoral student, Dr. Frey was a Dunn Family Scholar of Educational and Psychological Assessment, and she received the Melvyn I. Semmel Dissertation Research Award. Dr. Frey also earned a Master of Education in early childhood special education and a Bachelor of Science, summa cum laude, in cognitive studies and child development from Peabody College of Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Frey’s research addresses fundamental questions regarding the mechanisms of language and social-emotional development with an overarching goal to improve long-term communication and behavioral outcomes for children with intellectual or developmental disabilities. She seeks to improve early identification and screening methods, understand factors that influence development, identify predictors of response to intervention, and support parents and teachers in the assessment and intervention process. Her most recent research is focused on elucidating neuropsychological patterns of language and behavior following acquired brain injury to identify meaningful phenotypic and neurological variability. This information will be used to better identify and design academic and behavioral supports to improve child outcomes. Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Education, and her work has been published in leading journals and handbooks in the fields of pediatrics, psychology, special education, and speech-language pathology.

Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
M.Ed., Vanderbilt University
B.S., Vanderbilt University


Curtis, P. R, Frey, J. R., Watson, C. D., Hampton, L. H., & Roberts, M. Y. (in press). Language disorders and problem behaviors: A meta-analysis. Pediatrics.

Frey, J. R., Kaiser, A. P., & Scherer, N. J. (2018). The influences of child speech intelligibility and rate on caregiver responses to toddlers with and without cleft palate. The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, 55, 276-286. doi: 10.1177/1055665617727000

Frey, J. R., & Gillispie, C. M. (2018). The accessibility needs of students with disabilities: Special considerations for instruction and assessment. In S. N. Elliott, R. J. Kettler, P. A. Beddow, & A. Kurz (Eds.), Handbook of Accessible Instruction and Testing Practices: Issues, Innovations, and Applications, pp. 93-105. New York: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-71126-3_6

Elliott, S. N., Davies, M., Frey, J. R., Gresham, F., & Cooper, G. (2017). Development and initial validation of a social emotional learning assessment for universal screening. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology. Advanced online publication.

Berry, K. A., Anderson, A., & Frey, J. R. (2017). The use of tableau to increase the ontask behavior of students with language-based learning disabilities in inclusive language arts settings. In J. Burnette (Ed.), VSA intersections: Arts and Special Education – Exemplary programs and approaches professional paper series, (Vol. 3, pp. 134-153). Washington, DC: John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Kaiser, A. P., Scherer, N. J., Frey, J. R., & Roberts, M. Y. (2017). The effects of EMT+PE on the speech and language skills of young children with cleft palate: A pilot study. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. doi: 10.1044/16-0008

Scherer, N. J., Baker, S. L., Kaiser, A. P., & Frey, J. R. (2016). Longitudinal comparison of the speech and language performance of US-born and internationally adopted toddlers with cleft lip and palate. The Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal. Advanced online publication. doi: 10.1597/15-237.

Elliott, S. N., Frey, J. R., & Davies, M. (2015). Systems for assessing and improving students’ social-emotional skills and academic competence. In J. Dulak, C. E. Domoitrovich, R. P. Weissberg, & T. P. Gullotta (Eds.), Handbook of social and emotional learning: Research and practice, (pp. 301- 319). New York: Guilford Press.

Parlakian, R., & Frey, J. R. (2014). Creating supportive caregiving environments for dual language learning infants and toddlers. In M. Dombrink-Green, H. Bohart, & K. Nemeth (Eds.), Spotlight on young children: Supporting dual language learners, (pp. 5-12). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Frey, J. R., Elliott, S. N., & Kaiser, A. P. (2014). Social skills intervention planning for preschoolers: Using the SSiS-Rating Scales to identify target behaviors valued by parents and teachers. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 39, 182-193. doi: 10.1177/1534508413488415

Frey, J. R., Elliott, S. N., & Miller, C. F. (2014). Best practices in social skills training. In A. Thomas & P. Harrison (Eds.), Best practices in school psychology - Student level services (6th ed., pp. 213- 224). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Elliott, S. N., Frey, J. R., & DiPerna, J. C. (2012). Improving social skills: Enabling academic and interpersonal successes. In S. Brock & S. R. Jimerson (Eds.), Best practices in school crisis prevention and intervention (2nd ed., pp. 55–77). Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Beddow, P. A., Kurz, A., & Frey, J. R. (2011). Accessibility theory: Guiding the science and practice of test item design with the test-taker in mind. In S. N. Elliott, R. J. Kettler, P. A. Beddow, & A. Kurz (Eds), Handbook of accessible achievement tests for all students. New York: Springer.

Frey, J. R., Elliott, S. N., & Gresham, F. M. (2011). Preschoolers’ social skills: Advances in assessment for intervention using social behavior ratings. School Mental Health, 3, 179-190. doi: 10.1007/s12310-011-9060-y

Frey, J. R., & Kaiser, A. P. (2011). The use of play expansions to increase the diversity and complexity of object play in young children with disabilities. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 31, 99-111. doi: 10.1177/0271121410378758

Trent-Stainbrook, A., Kaiser, A. P., & Frey, J. R. (2007). Older siblings’ use of responsive interaction strategies and the effects on their younger siblings with Down Syndrome. Journal of Early Intervention, 29, 273-286. doi: 10.1177/105381510702900401

In the News

Dr. Jennifer Frey presented a talk entitled "From Precision Medicine to Precision Education: Considerations for Assessment and Social-Communication Intervention" as part of the ANDI Lecture Series on Wednesday, March 20 in GW's District House.

Dr. Jennifer Frey and doctoral candidate Cristina Watson (Special Education and Disability Studies) collaborated with faculty and students at Northwestern University to better understand the relationship between language and behavior. Their findings, "Language Disorders and Problem Behaviors: A Meta-Analysis," were recently published in Pediatrics. In addition, Dr. Frey's paper, "The Effects of Parent-implemented Language Interventions on Child Linguistic Outcomes," with the Parent-Implemented Interventions Work Group of the Bridging the Word Gap Research Network, was accepted for publication in Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

Dr. Jennifer Frey and colleague, Dr. Jason Chow (Virginia Commonwealth University), presented their poster, "Teacher Ratings and Direct Assessment of Elementary Students' Communication Skills: A Latent Variable Approach," at the annual American Speech-Language-Hearing Association Convention in Boston.

Dr. Jennifer Frey was an invited speaker for Child Neurology Grand Rounds at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. There she spoke to residents, physicians, nurses, psychologists, and other professionals about identifying and translating bio-behavioral markers of social communication to support outcomes of children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

Dr. Jennifer Frey, together with colleagues at Arizona State University, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Vanderbilt University, co-authored the presentation, "Meta-analysis of Early Speech and Language in Children with Cleft Palate with or without Cleft Lip," at the 75th annual meeting of the American Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Association in Pittsburgh.