Helen McCabe, Ph.D.
2015 – present Clinical Researcher, Program on Supports, Hussman Institute for Autism, off-site in Geneva, NY
2006 – present Co-founder and Board President (2006 – 2013), Executive Director (2013 – present), The Five Project for International Autism and Disability Support, Inc.
2010 – 2014 Associate Professor, Education Department and Affiliated Faculty, Asian Languages & Cultures, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY
2004 – 2010 Assistant Professor, Education Department and Affiliated Faculty, Asian Languages & Culture, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY
2004 Ph.D. Special Education and Education Policy Studies (International/Comparative concentration), Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, Dissertation title: State, Society, and Disability: Supporting Families of Children with Autism in the People’s Republic of China
1994 M.A. East Asian Studies, Washington University in St. Louis, MO
1993 Graduate Certificate in Chinese Studies, Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese & American Studies, Nanjing, People’s Republic of China
1992 B.A. East Asian Studies
My current research projects are qualitative studies focused on meaningful engagement and promoting independence of individuals with autism. More specifically, the first examines augmentative and alternative communication use in adolescents and adults in China and the United States. Advances in augmentative and alternative communication methods (AAC), including the use of visuals and technology, have made a remarkable difference in the lives of individuals who do not speak (e.g. Ganz et al. 2012). Yet in China, alternative communication has not yet been developed at all as an accepted support for people with disabilities. Using qualitative research methods, the study investigates the current use of various AAC systems by adolescents and young adults in the United States, as well as individuals’ and caregivers’ views on using alternative communication methods in China and the U.S. The comparative lens of the U.S. and China will be used to examine current implementation of AAC in the U.S. as a foundation for understanding AAC use and family perceptions about its use, as well as implications for the design and implementation of AAC methods in China, which is one of the applied/practical goals of this project.
A second current research project investigates the lives of adults with autism in China and the U.S., with a focus on their experiences at home or in day/residential programs, to explore how to provide support and opportunities for meaningful engagement, and thus to serve as a foundation for a model of services. The research arises from a practical need of a nationwide, non-governmental organization in China that is struggling to serve adults with autism in an effective and meaningful way. This project involves researching what currently exists in day and residential programs for adults with autism in China and the U.S., including what is going well and what the current challenges are. The goal is to learn from multiple sites and then develop, in collaboration with the China program staff, a new model for programming that engages adults in meaningful activities and choice throughout the day.
My research about autism began after several years of volunteering with children with autism in China. My dissertation examined and compared education and services for parents at one public and one private autism organization in two cities in China. Subsequent studies in China focused on family experiences with children with autism, parent-to-parent support, and research on the background and current situation of intervention services available for children with autism.
McCabe, H., & Deng, G. (submitted). “So They’ll Have Somewhere To Go”: Establishing Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) for Children with Autism in the People’s Republic of China. Submitted June 2015 to Journal of Disability Policy Studies.
McCabe, H., & McCabe, K. (2013). Disability and family in China: Implementation, benefits, and comparison of two mutual support groups. Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability, 38(1), 12-22.
McCabe, H. (2012). Bamboo shoots after the rain: Development and challenges of autism intervention in China. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 17(5), 510-526.
McCabe, H., & Wu, C. (2010). Our family has two hearts: My older sister Ge and I. In B. Mills and D. Cumberland (Eds.), Siblings and Autism: Stories Spanning Generations and Cultures. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
McCabe, H. (2010). Maternal employment and disability in the People’s Republic of China: Experiences, perspectives, and wishes of mothers of children with autism. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 23, 122-131.
McCabe, H., & Wu, S.X. (2009). Helping each other, helping ourselves: A case of employment for an adult with autism in Nanjing, China. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 30 (1), 57-66.
McCabe, H. (2008). Autism intervention across cultures: China and the United States (article written in Chinese: 浅谈关于中美孤独症界的比较) Shenzhen Autism Society Journal, volume 14, 39-44.
McCabe, H. (2008). Autism and family in the People’s Republic of China: Learning from parents’ perspectives. Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 33(1-2), 1-11.
McCabe, H. (2008). The Importance of Parent-to-Parent Support among families of children with autism in the People’s Republic of China. International Journal of Disability, Development, and Education, 55(4), 303-314.
McCabe, H. (2008). Effective teacher training at the Autism Institute in the People’s Republic of China. Teacher Education and Special Education, 31(2), 103-117.
McCabe, H. (2008). Two decades of serving children with autism in the People’s Republic of China: Achievements and challenges of a State-run Mental Health Center. Disability and Society, 23 (3), 271-282.
Klein, S.M., & McCabe, H. (2007). From Mother to Disability Professional: Role Change, Resilience, and Rewards. Journal of Early Intervention, 29(4), 306-319.
McCabe, H. (2007). Parent advocacy in the face of adversity: Autism and families in the People’s Republic of China. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 22 (1), 39-50.
McCabe, H., Wu, S.X., & Zhang, G.J. (2005). Experiences with Autism in the People’s Republic of China: Viewing Social Change Through One Family’s Story. The Journal of International Special Needs Education, 8, 11-18.
McCabe, H. (2003). The beginnings of inclusion in the People’s Republic of China. Research & Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 28 (1), 16-22.
McCabe, H. (2003). The importance of differential reinforcement (区别强化的重要性). Xingxingyu Newsletter/Journal (Xingxingyu Tongxun), 28, 1-2. (Translated by Sun Zhongkai).
McCabe, H. (2001). ABA and Discrete Trial Teaching. Basic methods of behavioral intervention. (article written in Chinese: ABA与DTT. 行为训练的基本方法). Xingxing Yu Newsletter/Journal (Xingxing Yu Tongxun), volume 23.
McCabe, H., & Tian, H. (2001). Early intervention for children with autism in the People’s Republic of China: A focus on parent training. The Journal of International Special Needs Education, 4, 39-43.
McCabe, H. (2000). Positive Behavior Support: New Methods for Managing Behavior Problems (article written in Chinese: 正性（正面）行为支持――处理行为问题的一个新方法). Trends in the Rehabilitation of Children with Autism (Guduzheng ertong kangfu dongtai), 1, 16-17.