Students receive research grants to further study of autism

Jamie Comer Grant created to fund research into mental retardation, developmental disabilities | January 1, 2006

Students Suzanne Bull Bailey and Heather Lynch Johnson have been awarded the 2005 Jamie Comer Grant. The grant was developed by Ed and Carol Comer as a way to provide financial assistance to support graduate research projects at Xavier.

Bailey, a student in the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology Program, was awarded $500 for her dissertation research on "Peer Perceptions of Autism: A Theory-based Intervention." Her project involves the development of an educational intervention designed to improve the perceptions typically developing students have toward children with autism.

“The financial support of the Comer Grant has enabled me to develop my intervention in ways that otherwise would not have been possible,” says Bailey. “I am very grateful to Mr. and Mrs. Comer.”

Johnson, a student in the Doctorate of Clinical Psychology Program, was awarded $500 for her research project on "Evaluation of an In-Home Computer Intervention: Teaching Children with Autism Spectrum to Recognize and Predict Emotions in Others." Her project adapted a computer program usually used in schools for in-home use.

The Jamie Comer Grant, named in honor of the Comers' son, was created to help the Xavier faculty and graduate students further their research in the area of mental retardation and developmental disabilities. The Comers have a heartfelt desire to further the research and services available in the community for individuals with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

“We are very appreciative to have established professional and personal ties with Ed and Carol Comer that enable us to contribute in meaningful ways to the MR/DD literature and available community service,” says Cynthia Dulaney, associate professor of psychology.