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Bowling Green Psychologist Published in Academic Journal

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Dr. Robert Mueller, a psychologist at Bowling Green Elementary School in the East Meadow School District, recently had his research paper, “Positive Family Intervention for Children with ASD: Impact on Parents’ Cognitions and Stress,” published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies. The paper was co-authored by Dr. Lauren Moskowitz of St. John's University.

Dr. Mueller's research examined how challenging behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder are addressed in the family. While more traditional intervention approaches such as behavioral parent training and family-based positive behavior support have focused solely on behavioral interventions, Dr. Mueller's research also incorporates cognitive-based approaches.

Dr. Mueller suggests that in addition to the environment impacting a child's behavior, the thoughts and beliefs of the child's parents can impact how they intervene or respond to the child, as well.

“The idea of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) revolves around how your thoughts impact your feelings, which in turn impact your behavior or actions,” Dr. Mueller said. “The research on behavioral parent training and family-based positive behavior support for parents of children with ASD has often focused on just behavioral interventions and widely ignores how parents are thinking and feeling about their child's behavior. What our study did was combine CBT with behavioral interventions.”

Dr. Mueller worked with each family he connected with through his research to develop and implement behavioral strategies to address their child's behaviors, as well as helped parents learn to reframe and think about their child's behavior a little differently. He concluded that integrating cognitive behavioral therapy with positive behavior support may help parents to implement behavioral interventions and cope with difficult situations. He and Dr. Moskowitz also found that parents' self-reported thoughts regarding their child's challenging behaviors changed, as well.

Dr. Mueller works in the REACH Program at Bowling Green, which consists of five small ratio classes that primarily support children with autism and severe language delay. His position in the school offers him a unique perspective into the ways families work with their children and how the right support can result in behavioral and educational success.

“Working in East Meadow for the past eight years has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to develop relationships with students and their families,” Dr. Mueller said. “I have also had the privilege of seeing how comprehensive family support not only leads to improvements in the individual child, but also extends to collateral improvements in the family and their overall quality of life.”

The district is proud of Dr. Mueller’s research and his accomplishment of being published and looks forward to continuing to support him and his work.
To access the research paper in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, visit https://rdcu.be/b7tRi.