Associate Professor; Associate Chair and Graduate Coordinator
6-107A Education North
Dr. Veronica Smith is an Associate Professor in the area of Psycological Studies in Education within the Department of Educational Psychology in the Faculty of Education at the University of Alberta.
Education and Professional Background
Dr. Smith began her professional career as a speech and language pathologist working first with preschoolers in a clinic setting and then as a school district consultant. She went on to complete a Doctoral degree in Special Education from the University of British Columbia. While completing her doctoral degree, Dr. Smith worked as a research assistant, course writer for a diploma program in Infant Development and Supported Childcare, and instructor in the Teacher Education and Graduate Program in the Department of Educational Counselling Psychology and Special Education at the University of British Columbia.
Since joining the U of A faculty in September 2004, she has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in autism and a doctoral seminar in program evaluation.
The focus of Dr. Smith’s research, scholarly, and professional activities is in the area of social and language development of children at risk or with identified disabilities/delays in school and community settings. Included in this are specific interests in early intervention (specifically in preventing early reading failure), social emotional learning programming in classrooms, and strategies for supporting development and learning in individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
In particular, in collaboration with Dr. Kim Schonert-Reichl from UBC she is evaluating the effects of a prevention program developed by Mary Gordon from Toronto entitled Roots of Empathy. At the core of this research is an interest in developing effective and efficient tools to examine how the essential elements of implementation of the program vary across classrooms and how this links to child outcomes. In February 2005 she traveled with Dr. Schonert-Reichl to Australia where they initiated a replication of the study in collaboration with the Health Department in Newcastle, NSW and the Telethon Child Health Development Institute in Perth, WA.
In collaboration with Dr. Pat Mirenda at UBC and as part of a BC Ministry for Children and Family Development funded contract she continues to evaluate long-term outcomes of the early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI) programs for children with autism spectrum disorders in British Columbia. A particular focus of this evaluation has been to better understand language development in young children with autism and how patterns of behaviour evident upon diagnosis predict change over time.
A final area of research involves an examination of the effectiveness of an early reading intervention implemented in kindergarten and conducted as part of a school district wide literacy initiative in Prince George, British Columbia. Early in 2005 she received funding from the Canadian Language and Literacy Research Network to continue this investigation.
Recent Selected Research Presentations and Publications
Social Emotional Learning
Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Smith, V., & Zaidman-Zait, A. (submitted). Effects of the “Roots of Empathy” program on children’s emotional and social competence. School Psychology Review.
Schonert-Reichl, K., Smith, V., & Zaidman-Zait, A. (June, 2005). Can an Infant be a Catalyst for Change? Considering Context and Process in the Evaluation of the “Roots of Empathy” Program. Paper presented at the Jean Piaget Society Biennial Meeting, Vancouver, BC.
Smith, V., & Zaidman-Zait, A. (March, 2004). Peer, teacher, and self-judgments of social behaviors and relationships to social cognition. Poster presented at the Society for the Research in Adolescence Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MA.
Smith, V., Zaidman-Zait, A., Jaramillo, A., & Schonert-Reichl, K. (February, 2004) Navigating the social-emotional learning maze: Preschool programs. Paper presented at The Early Years Conference, Vancouver, BC.
Schonert-Reichl, K. A., Smith, V. Zaidman-Zait, A., & Hertzman, C. (April, 2003). Impact of the “Roots of Empathy” on social competence of elementary school children: Developmental and contextual considerations. Paper presented as part of a symposium entitled Evaluating School Based Prevention Programs for Emotional and Social Competence: Considering Context, Process, Cumulative Effect at the 70th Annual Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Tampa, FL.
Smith, V., Zaidman-Zait, A., & Mirenda, P. (submitted). Development of Language in Autism: A Longitudinal Look at Vocabulary Development Using the Communication Development Inventory (CDI). Journal of Speech and Hearing Research.
Smith, V., & Bopp, K. (July, 2005). Outcomes of Early Intervention Over 3 Years: Comparisons of Clinic-Based and Parent-Managed Programs. Autism Society of America Conference Proceedings, Nashville, TN.
Smith, V., Zaidman-Zait, A., & Mirenda, P. (June, 2005). Development of Language in Autism: A Longitudinal Look at Vocabulary Development Using the Communication Development Inventory (CDI). Paper presented at the Jean Piaget Society Biennial Meeting, Vancouver, BC.
Smith, V., & Zaidman-Zait, A., & Mirenda, P. (April, 2004). Longitudinal study of language development in children with autism. Paper presented at the Biennial Human Development Conference, Washington, DC.
Mirenda, P., Smith, V., Fawcett, S., & Johnston, J. (November, 2003). Language and communication outcomes after two years of intensive intervention for young children with autism. Paper presented at the American Speech and Hearing Association Conference, Chicago, IL.
Smith, V., Ott Van de Kamp, K., Kavanaugh, P., & Mirenda, P. (March, 2003). Early intensive behavioural intervention for young children with autism: Impact on families. Poster presented at the Banff International Conference on Behavioural Sciences: Effective Programs for Early Child Development: Linking Research to Policy and Practice, Banff, AB.
Mirenda, P., & Smith, V. (February, 2003). Assessing the outcomes of early intensive behavioural intervention for young children with autism: Approaches and Issues. Paper presented at the Canadian Autism Intervention Research Network, Toronto, ON.
Smith, V., & Siegel, L. (submitted). Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Individual Effects of a Classroom Phonological Awareness Program. Journal of Educational Research.
Smith, V., & Siegel, L. (April, 2005). Reading Instruction in Kindergarten: Individual Effects of Implementation of a Phonological Awareness Program. Poster presented at the Society for Research in Child Development Biannual Conference, Atlanta, Georgia.
Smith, V., & Siegel, L. (June, 2004). Going to scale: Implications of an implementation evaluation of a district-wide literacy project in kindergarten. Paper presented at the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading Annual Conference, Amsterdam, NL.
Smith, V. (May, 2004). Firm Foundations: An implementation evaluation of an early literacy prevention program. Poster presented at the Society for Prevention Research Conference, Quebec City, Canada.
Smith, V., Fossett, B., & Mirenda, P. (2003). Facilitating oral and written language during general education activities. In D. Ryndak & S. Alper (Eds.), Curriculum content for students with moderate and severe disabilities in inclusive settings (2nd ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.