Rachel Chen Brief Biography


Special Education; UC Berkeley, San Francisco State University

Brief bio

I am pursuing a Ph.D in Special Education at UC Berkeley, and San Francisco State University (in a program offered jointly by the two universities). I also have a Masters degree and a Bachelors degree in Linguistics. Currently, I am advised by Dr. Laura Sterponi (UC Berkeley) and Dr. Betty Yu (San Francisco State University).

My research focuses on the day-to-day, embodied interactions of minimally-verbal/nonverbal individuals on the autism spectrum within families and other institutions. Specifically, I have been studying various phenomena associated with the diagnostic features of autism in naturally-occurring interactions (e.g. repetitive speech, repetitive behaviors, and distress episodes). I have also been using ethnomethodology and conversation analysis to understand how alternative augmentative communication (AAC) devices might be better integrated into the lives of their users.

In my research enterprise, I aspire to demonstrate that autistic phenomena are interactionally-situated and collaborative, and to complement traditional approaches to the study of autism and atypical populations with a social interactional perspective.

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