Elizabeth Isralowitz MA BCBA
Faculty Mentor: Sharon Cermak EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Research Lab: Sensory Adapted Dental Environments (SADE)
Year of Entry: 2019
As a PhD student, clinician, and educator I aspire to contribute to the growing body of research aimed at improving the lives of individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. I am currently working in the SADE lab on a federally funded U01 grant. The study’s main aim is to reduce the stress experienced by children with developmental disabilities during dental visits through environmental adaptations. My role in the lab includes setting up the adapted dental environment, conducting focus groups and interviews, and collecting and processing data, including coding electrodermal activity.
My primary research interests relate to intervention for young children with or at risk for developing ASD. I hope to explore sensory features of young children with ASD and how these features impact parent-child interactions and later developing social-communication and self-regulation skills. I am particularly fascinated by the transactional relationship between parent and child and how the adaptation of each contributes or inhibits the development of ASD symptoms and family quality of life. I hope to contribute to research on the impact of early sensory differences on parent-child interactions, biobehavioral synchrony, and social-communication development.
Master of Arts (MA)
in Research, Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics
2019 | University of California, Riverside
Master of Arts (MA)
in Early Childhood/Special Education (Dual Certification)
2005 | Teachers College, Columbia University
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
2003 | Skidmore College
Isralowitz, E. B., Sideris, J., Stein Duker, L. I., Baranek, G. T., & Cermak, S. A. (2023). Comparing sensory processing in children with Down syndrome to a mental age matched sample of children with autism, other developmental disabilities, and typically developing children. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 134, 104421. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ridd.2022.104421 Show abstract
Background. Atypical sensory processing impacts children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Research has focused on SP in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD); comparatively, little has been written regarding individuals with Down syndrome (DS) and IDDs.
Aims. We compared patterns of sensory processing in children with DS to children with ASD, other IDDs, and typically developing (TD) peers examining the relationship among different sensory processing measures.
Methods and procedures. We analyzed cross-sectional data using two caregiver questionnaires (SP, SEQ) and one observational measure (SPA). Groups were compared on three sensory processing patterns: hyporesponsiveness; hyperresponsiveness; and sensory interests, repetitions, and seeking (SIRS) via ANOVA. We assessed concordance through correlations.
Outcomes and results. Children with DS, IDD, and ASD demonstrated more atypical sensory processing behaviors than TD peers. Children with ASD exhibited the most atypical responses across all measures, significantly more than DS children on all but one subscale. The IDD and DS groups differed on several measures. Measurement concordance was higher between caregiver-report versus observational assessment.
Conclusions and implications. Differences between three clinical groups indicate that sensory processing features may differ across clinical populations regardless of cognitive functioning. Lower concordance between caregiver-report and observation measures highlights the need to understand sensory processing expression across different tasks and environments.