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Dr. James Lee – Making a Difference in Korea and Mongolia

James Lee received his Ph.D. in special education from the University of Illinois in the summer of 2021. He is now working as a post-doctoral researcher at Juniper Gardens Children’s Project at the University of Kansas. Prior to entering his doctoral program, James had the opportunity to co-found a clinic for young children with autism and their families in Korea to address the low level of resources many Korean families experience. His work there primarily emphasized supporting underserved families in implementing evidence-based practices with their own child. Working with these families caused him to wonder what other parents with even more systemic barriers would do. He wanted to research other families like this and contribute to a higher quality of life for them.

Dr. Lee (second row, slightly to the right of center) with the group of parents and professionals in Mongolia for whom he provided ABA training

Dr. Lee (second row, slightly to the right of center) with the group of parents and professionals in Mongolia for whom he provided ABA training

His research focuses on building the capacity of diverse families of young children with autism in low resourced communities. He has conducted research with underserved families in Korea, Mongolia, and the United States. For his research in Mongolia, he used the principles of community-academic partnerships that began with his Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) parent training there working with a parent Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), the Autism Association of Mongolia. For his dissertation research in Mongolia, he hired a bilingual/bicultural local research assistant to provide coaching to parent mentors on evidence-based practices in behavior management and social communication. These parent mentors then provided coaching to parent peers who then delivered the interventions to their own child with autism.

Dr. Lee (left) with a group of parents in Mongolia.

During his doctoral program, James was able to engage in research activities around the world. He led a research team to develop the Challenging Behavior Online Modules (CBOM) for parents of young children with developmental disabilities to increase their understanding of challenging behaviors and behavior management strategies. He initially conducted a pilot study of the efficacy of the modules with English speaking parents of young children with developmental disabilities in the United States. The team then continued to explore the cultural and linguistic adaptations by studying 88 families of young children with developmental disabilities in Korea. The modules were translated into six languages based on the languages spoken by the team members: Korean, Chinese, Mongolian, Arabic, Hebrew, and Spanish. He ensured at least 2 people were involved in the translation of each module and in trying to match the culture and language of the target population. They are planning to conduct other studies using CBOM. 

Posted:  22 February, 2022
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