Dr. Rehfeldt’s Lab | Rehabilitation Institute | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Education and Human Services


Dr. Rehfeldt’s Lab

Dr. Rehfeldt’s research group focuses upon a variety of topics relevant to the study of complex human behavior, including private events, verbal behavior, and derived stimulus relations.  Her research "lab" is out in the real world working on solving real problems with typically developing children and adults with developmental disorders.   

Have you ever wondered how the thoughts people have impact what they do??  In recent years the lab research has focused heavily upon synthesizing Skinner’s (1957) historical analysis of verbal behavior with the contemporary approach of Relational Frame Theory in persons with intellectual disability and autism.  Most work includes adult or young adult clientele with a variety of possible intellectual disabilities and often comorbid psychiatric disabilities.  

Recent graduate student-initiated investigations have explored perspective-taking, self-rules, observational learning, and relational responding. Current projects include examining the role of covert mediating behaviors during academic tasks in children, the effects of self-rules on skill acquisition in adults with developmental disabilities, and the role of private events in the perseverative behavior of individuals with autism. Some projects are inspired by her book with Dr. Yvonne Barnes-Holmes, entitled “Derived Relational Responding: Applications for Learners with Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities.”

Dr. Rehfeldt is also currently involved with the implementation of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with adults with developmental disorders, and has conducted a variety of studies over the years focusing on instructional technology related to the teaching of behavior analysis. 

Graduate students working with Dr. Rehfeldt conduct their research with typically developing children or adults with developmental disorders, including intellectual disability and autism. 

Students working with Dr. Rehfeldt complete their experiences at Evaluation and Developmental CenterTrinity ServicesSpecialized Training and Adult Rehabilitation (START), and General John A. Logan Elementary School.

If you are looking to study complex behavior with a strong theoretical focus across a wide range of disorders and populations, get involved with the Rehfeldt crew.  Most students graduate with multiple publications, conference presentations, and the real world skills to become both a clinician and a savvy researcher.