Education


Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) from University of Virginia      

Kinesiology, focus in Adapted Physical Education; May 2017            

Dissertation: A mixed methods analysis of the effects of a fundamental motor skill intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder

Honors: Linda K. Bunker Scholarship (2016; UVA), APE/A Graduate Student of Year (2017; SHAPE America),  Mary Catherine Ellwein Award (2017, UVA)

Master’s of Arts (MA) from Western Michigan University                     

Adapted (Special) Physical Education; August, 2011

Thesis: Comparison of physical fitness performance between elementary-age students with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Honor: Nominated for Golden Key International Honor Society (2010)

Bachelor's of Science (BA) from University of Michigan - Ann Arbor                         

Physical Education, minor: Health & History; May 2009  

 

Current Positions


Assistant Professor, August 2017 - Present

Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion, & Recreation, University of North Texas

  • Taught undergraduate course on the study of movement for individuals with disabilities

Faculty Liaison, June 2017 - Present

Kristen Farmer Autism Center, University of North Texas

  • Assisted with the development and maintenance of center's motor program

University Supervisor; January 2014 - May 2017                     

Department of Kinesiology PETE, University of Virginia  

  • Observed undergraduate-level general physical education student teachers in field placements
  • Assessed teaching through systematic observation; providing data driven feedback to students
  • Observed graduate-level adapted physical education students teachers teaching small groups and one-on-one.          

Graduate Researcher; August 2013 - May 2017                        

Adapted Physical Education Dept., University of Virginia   

  • Input data and analyzed self-efficacy survey from pre-service physical education students
  • Developed on-going understanding of key concepts within physical education pedagogy
  • Built an understanding of quantitative, SPSS and R Studio, and qualitative, TAMS Analyzer and NVivo, software packages for analyzing and understand different types of data   
 

Research 


Research Interests

I am focused on understanding the motor abilities and development characteristics of children with developmental disabilities, specifically autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and how the development of motor skills affects social skills, adaptive behaviors, and lifetime physical activity. Through this research, I strive to build intervention and teaching strategies to better improve the development process of motor skills within this population across the lifespan. Additionally, I am interested in the improvement of current and future physical educators’ ability to include and build skills with children with disabilities.

Current Research

  • Utilizing a dynamic systems approach to build functional motor skills in children with ASD.
  • Developing protocols for modifying standardized motor assessments for children with ASD.
  • Understanding the effect of motor skills on adaptive behavior and social skills of children with ASD utilizing national datasets.
  • Exploring parent’s perceived barriers to physical activity with their child with ASD.

Publications - Peer Reviewed

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., & Blagrave, A. J., Healy, S., & Lytle, R. (Preparation of Draft). Physical activity perspectives of autistic adults. Plan to submit to Autism Research.

Colombo-Dougovito, A.M., & Lee, J. (Preparation of Draft). Social and exercise intervention for youth with autism spectrum disorder. Plan to submit to Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., & Block, M. E. (Preparation of Draft). Dynamic systems approach to building motor skills in children with ASD. Plan to submit to Autism.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., & Block, M. E. (Preparation of Draft). Family perspectives of child behaviors during a fundamental motor skills intervention. Plan to submit to Research in Autism.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., & Block, M. E. (Preparation of Draft). Mixed methods analysis of a fundamental motor skill intervention for children with ASD. Plan to submit to the Journal of Mixed Methods Research.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., & Block, M. E. (Preparation of Draft). What previous research tells us about modifying standardized motor assessments for children with autism spectrum disorder. Plan to submit to Autism

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (Preparation of Draft). Make motor learning more accessible for children with ASD through task modifications. Plan to submit to Journal of Teaching Physical Education.  

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., Kelly, L. E., & Block, M. E. (Preparation of Draft). The effect of task modifications on the fundamental motor skills of children with ASD. Plan to submit to Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (Preparation of Draft). Understanding parents: Designing quality interviews to elicit in-depth responses from parents of children with special needs. Plan to submit to Qualitative Research for Sport, Exercise, and Health.

Blagrave, A. J., & Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (Preparation of Draft). Community barriers to physical activity for families with a child with autism spectrum disorder. Plan to submit to the Journal of Child and Family Studies.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., Block, M. E., & MacDonald, M. (Under Review). Informed consent/assent in research: Working with children with autism spectrum disorder. Plan to submit to Kinesiology Review.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., & Block, M. E. (Under Review). Fundamental motor skill interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder: A literature review.  Submitted to Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., & Kelly, L. E. (Under Review). A pilot investigation of potential modifications to gross motor assessment for children with autism spectrum disorder. Submitted to Perceptual and Motor Skills.

Healy, S., Colombo-Dougovito, A., Judge, J., Kwon, E., Strehli, I., & Block, M. (2018). A practical guide to the development of an online course in adapted physical education. PALAESTRA, 31(2), 48-54.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., & Reeve, R. E. (2017). Exploring the interaction of motor and social skills with autism severity using the SFARI dataset. Perceptual and Motor Skill, 124(2), 413-424.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (2017). Exploring the effect of gender and disability on gross motor performance in kindergarten children. The Physical Educator, 74(2), 183-197

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (2017). The roll of dynamic systems theory in motor development research: How does theory inform practice and what are the implications for autism spectrum disorder? International Journal on Disability and Human Development, 16(2), 141-156. https://doi.org/10.1515/ijdhd-2016-0015

Chen, W., Zhu, W., Mason, S., Hammond-Bennett, A., & Colombo-Dougovito, A. (2016). Effectiveness of quality physical education in improving students’ manipulative skill competency. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 5(2), 231-238.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., & Block, M. (2016). Make task constraints work for you: Teaching object control skills to students with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 87(1), 32-37. 

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (2015). “Try to do the best you can”: How pre-service APE specialists experience teaching students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. International Journal of Special Education, 30(3), 160-176.

Wilson, W. J., & Colombo-Dougovito, A. (2015). Inclusive and effective adapted physical education: Meeting the needs of each student. Strategies, 28(4), 50-52. 

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (2015). Successful intervention strategies for autism spectrum disorder and their use for the development of motor skills in physical education. PALAESTRA, 29(2), 34-41.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. (2013). Comparison of physical fitness performance between elementary-age students with and without attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The Physical Educator, 70(3), 262-280.

book chapters

Kelly, L. E., Block, M., & Colombo-Dougovito, A. (Preparation of Draft). Physical education. In Kauffman, J. M., Hallahan, D. P., & Pullen, P. C. (Eds.), Handbook of Special Education (2nd ed.),

Panels - invited

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. Inclusion of autistic voices: Strategies to navigate the grey area of informed consent. At the 9th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics and the Affiliated Conferences. Orlando, FL. July, 2018

Presentations - interNational

Colombo-Dougovito, A. A fundamental motor skill intervention using a dynamic systems approach. At the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) 2018 annual meeting. Rotterdam, Netherlands. May, 2018. Abstract accepted.

Colombo-Dougovito, A., & Block, M. E. Task modifications to improve motor performance in children with ASD: A pilot study using a dynamic systems approach. At the International Symposium for Adapted Physical Activity (ISAPA) biannual conference. Daegu City, South Korea. June, 2017.

Blagrave, A. J., & Colombo-Dougovito, A. Facilitators and barriers to physical activity in the community in families with children who have autism spectrum disorder. At the International Meeting for Autism Research. San Francisco, CA. May, 2017.

Colombo-Dougovito, A., & Block, M. E. Parent perceptions of

Colombo-Dougovito, A., & Block, M. E. Parent perceptions of the physical ability of children with ASD: An excerpt from a mixed methods dissertation of a FMS intervention. At the North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity (NAFAPA) annual conference. Alberta, Canada. September, 2016.

Colombo-Dougovito, A., & Kelly, L. E. When we assess, do they understand? A pilot study to make assessments more accessible for children with ASD. At the North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity (NAFAPA) annual conference. Alberta, Canada. September, 2016.

Colombo-Dougovito, A., & Reeve, R. Analyzing How Autism Severity Affects Motor and Social Skills: An Exploration Using the SFARI Base Dataset At the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), Baltimore, MD. May, 2016.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. Preservice adapted physical education teacher challenges when teaching motor skills to children with autism spectrum disorder. At the North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity (NAFAPA) annual conference. Ann Arbor, MI. October, 2014.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. Effect of gender and disability on gross motor performance in kindergarten children. At the North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity (NAFAPA) annual conference. Ann Arbor, MI. October, 2014.

presentations - national

Colombo-Dougovito, A. Task modifications to improve motor performance in children with ASD. At SHAPE America annual national convention, Boston, MA. March, 2017. Abstract accepted.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., Kelly, L. E., & Block, M. E. The effect of task modifications on fundamental motor skills of children with ASD: Preliminary results of a pilot study. At the National Consortium for Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities (NCPEID) annual meeting. Tyson’s Corner, VA. August, 2016.

Colombo-Dougovito, A., Alexander, M., Douglas, M., Healy, S., & O’Neil, K. Practical Strategies to Successfully Assess Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. At SHAPE America annual national convention, Minneapolis, MN. April, 2016.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. & Kelly, L. Developing Modifications for Assessment in Children with ASD: Preliminary Results. At SHAPE America annual national convention, Minneapolis, MN. April, 2016.

Colombo-Dougovito, A., & Block, M. Making task constraints work for you: Teaching motor skills to children with autism spectrum disorder. At SHAPE America - Southern District annual convention, Williamsburg, VA. February, 2016.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. Utilizing a dynamic systems approach to building functional motor skills in children with ASD. At the National Consortium for Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities (NCPEID) annual meeting. Tyson’s Corner, VA. July, 2015.

Healy, S., & Colombo-Dougovito, A. Evaluating fidelity in online professional development for physical educators. At SHAPE America annual national conference. Seattle, WA. March, 2015.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. Developing a protocol for use of the Test of Gross Motor Development, TGMD-2, with children with autism spectrum disorder. At the National Consortium for Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities (NCPEID) annual conference, Tysons Corner, VA. June, 2014.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. Comparison of Fitness Performance between Children with and without ADHD. At AAHPERD National Convention Poster Session, Charlotte, NC. April, 2013.

Presentations - State & regional

Colombo-Dougovito, A. Improving Motor Performance in Children with ASD using Task Modifications. At Texas Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance’s 94th Annual Conference, Fort Worth, TX. November, 2017.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. Importance of gross motor skill programming for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder and strategies to be effective. At 9th Annual Adventures in Autism Intervention and Research Conference, Denton, TX. July, 2017.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. Designing Purposeful Task Modification to Improve the Success of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in P.E. At VAHPERD annual conference, Midlothian, VA. November, 2016. Abstract accepted.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. The roll of dynamic systems theory in motor development research: How does theory inform practice and what are the implications for autism spectrum disorder? At Curry Research Conference, Charlottesville, VA. February, 2016.

Colombo-Dougovito, A., Healy, S., Wilson, J., & Jackson, T. Building a protocol for utilizing the TGMD-3 with children with autism spectrum disorder: Preliminary results. At Curry Research Conference, Charlottesville, VA. March, 2015.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. & Healy, S. Utilizing evidence-based practices to teach motor skills to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). At VAHPERD annual conference, Virginia Beach, VA. November, 2014.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. Evidence-Based Autism Intervention Strategies and Their Potential To Develop Motor Skills. At Curry Research Conference Poster Session, Charlottesville, VA. February, 2014.

Jackson, T., Healy, S., Hwan Koh, Y., Colombo-Dougovito, A., Judge, J, and Wang, B. Comparing Selected International K-12 Physical Education Programs. At Curry Research Conference Poster Session, Charlottesville, VA. February, 2014.

Colombo-Dougovito, A., & Healy, S. Theory to Practice: Inclusive Practices for Physical Education Teachers. At University of Virginia Curry Cup, Charlottesville, VA. October, 2013.

Colombo-Dougovito, A. Task modifications to improve motor performance in children with ASD. At SHAPE America annual national convention, Boston, MA. March, 2017. Abstract accepted.

Research support (funded)

University of North Texas SEED Fund ($7,150) - P.I. - Feb. 2018

  • Internal funding for project, “Physical activity experiences of autistic adults”

Curry IDEA Dissertation Grant ($972.50) - P.I. - July 2015 

  • University of Virginia Curry School of Ed. program for Dissertation support

Golden Key International Honor Society - 2014 Research Grant ($1,000) - P.I. - March 2015

  • Pilot study to understand effects of dynamic systems approach on the motor performance of children with ASD

research support (pending/in-preparation)

Organization for Autism Research Applied Research Competition ($30,000) - Mar. 2018

  • Using a robot to increase engagement in children with ASD.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation “Culture of Health” Leaders ($60,000) - Feb. 2018

  • Three year developmental funding for cohort of health leaders in communities around the U.S.

INSAR Policy Proposal ($15,000) - P.I. - Feb. 2018

  • Purposed collaborative group effort to better understand the physical activity needs of individuals and families with autism.

Research laboratory experience

Graduate Volunteer in Motivation Intervention Design Lab (MIDL)

  • In collaboration with Dr. Chris Hulleman at University of Virginia
  • August 2016 - Present

Assistant Researcher in Curriculum and Instruction Lab

  • Under supervision of Dr. Weiyun Chen at University of Michigan
  • July 2012 - January 2013
 

Teaching 


Instructional summary

During my doctoral studies, I have taken every opportunity to stay connected to the classroom through a graduate teaching assistantship and by being invited into the classroom. In the recent semester, I was able to teach a undergraduate-level seminar on teaching pedagogy for University of Virginia students interested in teaching a course on their own.

Teaching Interests

Primary: Motor Development, Adapted Physical Education/Activity, Autism

Secondary: Physical Education Pedagogy, Elementary & Secondary Teaching Methods, Measurement and Assessment in Physical Activity

collegiate teaching experience

Instructor of Record (UNT)

  • Movement for Individuals with Disabilities (Formerly “Movement for Special Populations”); Fall 2017/Spring 2018

Instructor of Record (UVA)

  • CavEd Seminar (Teaching Pedagogy); Fall 2016/Spring 2017

Secondary Instructor; Fall 2015

  • Physical Education for Children with Autism (Online)

Graduate Teaching Assistantship

  • Practicum in Kinesiology; Spring 2016/Fall 2016
  • Kinesiology for Individuals with Disabilities; Fall 2015
  • Assessment in Kinesiology; Fall 2015
  • Motor Development; Spring 2105/2016 
  • Secondary Teaching Methods; Spring 2015             
  • Elementary Teaching Methods; Fall 2014 
  • Introduction to Kinesiology; Fall 2013/Spring 2014 

Invited Lectures

Content Teaching Academy at James Madison University; June 2016

  • Lecture on “Working with Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder”

AutismSpeaks Club at University of Virginia; February 2015

  • Led training seminar on “Working with Individuals on the Spectrum”

Kinesiology for Individuals with Disabilities at University of Virginia; November 2015

  • Taught undergraduate classes on “Autism Spectrum Disorders” and “Learning Disabilities”

Seminar in APE at University of Virginia; October 2015

  • Led Graduate seminar on “Dynamic Systems and Task Constraints”

Assessment in Kinesiology at University of Virginia; October 2015

  • Taught Graduate classes on “Regression” & “Data Collection”

Motor Development at University of Virginia; March 2015

  • Taught undergraduate classes on “Locomotor Skills” & “Manipulative Skills”

Elementary Teaching Methods at University of Virginia; November 2014

  • Taught undergraduate classes on “Behavior Management Strategies” & “Youth Fitness”

Introduction to Kinesiology at University of Virginia; March 2014

  • Taught undergraduate classes on “Research Introduction” & “Data Collection”

Survey in Autism Spectrum Disorder at University of Virginia; March 2014

  • Taught undergraduate classes and led class discussion on “Evidence-Based Practice” & “Teaching Children with ASD”

selected Non-collegiate teaching experience

Lead Facilitator; April 2014 - Present

Poplar Ridge Challenge Course at University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA

Elementary/Middle School PE Teacher & WSI; August 2012 - 2013

Honey Creek Community School in Ann Arbor, MI 

Elementary PE Teacher; August 2011 - May 2012

Alsup Elementary IB World School in Commerce City, CO

Elementary PE Teacher; September 2009 - July 2011 

Lapeer Community Schools in Lapeer, MI

professional development

Tomorrow’s Professor Today; July 2014 - July 2016

University of Virginia, Teaching Resource Center                         

  • Developed course (e.g. syllabus, course outline) through 6-week seminar
  • Attended professional development seminars aimed at further understanding the profession (e.g. grant building)
  • Worked with mentor to foster a better understand of expectations of profession
 

ACADEMIC, PROFESSIONAL, & PERSONAL SERVICE  


Professional Organization Service

Student Rep - North American Federation of Adapted Physical Activity; 2016 - 2018

Reviewer - Proposal abstracts, SHAPE America; 2014 - 2016

University Service  

Affiliate Mentor - Summer Undergraduate Research Program; 2016

Chair, Proposal Sub-Committee, Curry Research Council; 2014-2016

Moderator, Curry Research Conference; 2014

Professional Membership

SHAPE America, formerly AAHPERD; April 2009 - Present

National Consortium of Physical Education for Individuals with Disabilities (NCPEID); Jun 2014 - Present

National Association for Adapted Physical Activity (NAFAPA); 2014 - Present

International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) (Oct 2014 - Present)

reviewer

Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly; 2014 - Present

PALAESTRA; 2014 - Present

personal service - volunteering

Team Up! with Autism Speaks; 2014

Special Olympics - Swimming; 2014

AutismSpeaks Halloween Carnival; 2013

Move2Health.org; 2013