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Jennifer W. Yu

Program Director/Senior Principal Scientist, SRI Education

Jennifer Yu, ScD, is director of disabilities research at SRI. She specializes in the development, implementation, and evaluation of education and health-related supports and services for individuals with disabilities, with a focus on interventions that improve learning and quality of life for people with autism, learning disabilities, and mental/behavioral health issues.

Yu has been co-principal investigator on several studies involving children and young adults with autism. A study funded by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences (IES) analyzed data from the Special Education Elementary Longitudinal Study (SEELS) and the National Longitudinal Transition Study-2 (NLTS2) to determine factors that promote positive outcomes for children and adolescents with autism. Studies funded by the National Science Foundation have addressed the interests and motivations of middle school students with autism to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), as well as predictors of STEM participation among college students with autism.

Yu is involved in several research and evaluation studies focused on innovative technologies for students with disabilities. She leads the evaluation of the IES-funded study of a Science Notebook in a Universal Design for Learning Environment (SNUDLE), which uses a randomized controlled trial design to examine the efficacy of SNUDLE on science learning and motivation among fourth grade students, particularly those with learning disabilities. She also is co-principal investigator for the Center on Inclusive Software for Learning, an R&D center led by CAST and funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs to explore and develop open-source software that will provide an accessible, engaging, and high-quality learning experience for K–12 students with disabilities. She has led multidisciplinary development teams that integrate SRI’s capabilities in vision technologies, artificial intelligence, robotics to support the diagnosis and treatment of children with autism, as well as the use of augmented reality to promote early literacy skill development in students with dyslexia.

Yu has written and cowritten numerous papers on autism, learning disabilities, and behavioral disabilities in children and adolescents. Her work has appeared in such peer-reviewed journals as Exceptional ChildrenFrontiers in Education, Journal of Adolescent HealthJournal of Autism and Developmental DisordersJournal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, and Pediatrics.

Yu received her master’s degree in education and a doctorate in public health, specializing in maternal and child health, epidemiology, and biostatistics, from Harvard University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in health policy from the University of California, San Francisco.

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