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 and doctoral student Carrie Gillispie (Special Education and Disability Studies) published a book chapter entitled "The Accessibility Needs of Students with Disabilities: Special Considerations for Assessment and Instruction" in the newly released second edition of the Handbook of Accessible Instruction and Testing Practices.

Dr. Jennifer Frey attended the 11th Biennial Conference on Research Innovations in Early Intervention (CRIEI) in San Diego, where she co-authored the paper, "Improving early communication outcomes for toddlers with Down syndrome," presented in the symposium Defining Intervention Features to Advance Outcomes of High Risk and Delayed Infants and Toddlers. Also, as part of her ongoing work with the Bridging the Word Gap Research Network, she and colleagues presented their findings from their paper, "The Effects of Parent-implemented Language Interventions on Child Linguistic Outcomes: A Meta-analysis."

Dr. Jennifer Frey co-authored the presentation, "Selecting Intervention Targets to Improve Speech Accuracy for Stops & Fricatives in Children with CP +/- L," at the Annual Convention of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in Los Angeles, CA.

Dr. Jennifer Frey participated in a symposium panel on Universal Interventions for Improving Children's Social Emotional Learning at the 125th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association in Washington, DC. In this symposium, Dr. Frey discussed the "Effectiveness of Universal Social Skills Programs in Early Childhood." She also co-authored a poster presentation, "Development and Validation of a Social-Emotional Screening Assessment for Children and Youth," with colleagues at Arizona State University and Griffith University (Australia).

Dr. Jennifer Frey was selected to participate in the 2017 Sequential Multiple-Assignment Randomized Trials (SMART) Research Training Institute to be held in Washington, DC in June. This training is funded by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences and supports the advanced training of intervention researchers.