Raulston Lab

Research Projects

Mindfulness is a state of non-judgmental moment-to-moment awareness. Mindfulness has been shown to be protective factor that can buffer against life and parenting stressors. Dr. Raulston and her collaborators are currently developing a mindfulness-enhanced behavioral support program for families of children with developmental delay. The main aims of this work are to seek ways to empower families to adopt and sustain their use of applied behavior analytic strategies within their natural routines, increase children’s behavioral flexibility, and decrease parental stress. See the work for which this current project is predicated here and click the title to learn more:

Raulston, T., Kosty, D. & McIntyre, L.L. (in press). Mindful parenting, caregiver distress, and conduct problems in children with autism. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Link: Coming soon.

Hieneman, M., Raulston, T., Pennefather, J., & Caraway, N. (2020). A comparative analysis of two online behavioral training programs for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. International Journal of Positive Behavioural Support, 10, 16 – 31.


Raulston, T., Hansen, S., Machalicek, W., McIntyre, L.L., & Carnett, A. (2019). Interventions for repetitive behavior in young children with autism: A survey of behavioral practices. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 49, 3047 – 3059.


Raulston, T., Hieneman, M., Caraway, N., Pennefather, J., & *Bhana, N. (2019). Enablers of behavioral parent training for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 28, 693 – 703.


Raulston, T., Zemantic, P., Machalicek, W., Hieneman, M., Kurtz-Nelson, E., & Barton,H., Hansen, S., Frantz, R. (2019). Effects of a brief mindfulness-infused behavioral parent training program for mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, 13, 42 – 51.


Pennefather, J., Hieneman, M., Raulston, T., & Caraway, N. (2018). Evaluation of a telehealth training program to improve family routines, parental well-being, and the behavior of children with autism. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 54, 21 – 26.


Raulston, T. & Machalicek, W. (2018). Early intervention for repetitive behavior in autism spectrum disorder: A conceptual model. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 30, 89 – 109. 


Raulston, T. & Hansen, S. (2017). Mindful parenting in everyday routines: How practitioners can help parents reduce stress and be more present. Division for Early Childhood Recommended Practices Monograph Series No. 3 Family – Knowing Families, Tailoring Practices, Building Capacity


Machalicek, W., Lang, R., & Raulston, T. (2015). Training parents of children with intellectual disabilities: Trends, issues, and future directions. Current Developmental Disorders Reports, 2, 110 – 118.


Naima Bhana

Dr. Bhana is a recent graduate of the Penn State Special Education doctoral program, where Dr. Raulston served as her co-advisor. Dr. Bhana is now an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Niagara University. Her scholarship is focused on developing methods to increase social communication opportunities for young children with developmental disabilities by training natural communication partners. Her research also seeks to improve the quality of life outcomes of non-English-speaking, ethnically, and racially diverse teachers and families and expanding services for children with disabilities in Spanish speaking countries. For more information about her work, visit www.nbphd.com

Ciara Ousley

Ciara is a former special education teacher and is in her final year of doctoral studies at Penn State. Ciara’s research focuses interventions for social communication development for young children with autism and other developmental disabilities with minimal vocal speech. Specifically, Ciara’s research interests include functional communication training and naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions (NDBIs). She has recently completed an applied online study evaluating embedded video feedback coaching within a parent-empowerment framework to coach parents to embed NDBIs within playtime routines with their child. Ciara was awarded a graduate student grant from the Organization of Autism Research to extend this work for her dissertation.

Christina Gilhuber

Christina is a former special education teacher from Germany. Christina focused her undergraduate studies on Special Education and Speech Language Pathology, and holds a masters in Child Studies. Currently, she is in her second year of doctoral studies at Penn State, pursuing a dual-title degree in Special Education and Comparative and International Education. Christina’s research focuses on the language and communication skills of children with autism who grow up in multilingual environments.