Lindsay Athamanah is an MSU-DOCTRID Hegarty Fellow in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education working with Drs. Marisa Fisher and Connie Sung at MSU and Dr. Geraldine Leader in the School of Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway. Dr. Athamanah received her PhD in Special Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), her M.S. in Communicative Disorders at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and her B.A. in Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. She has 10 years of experience as a speech-language pathologist working in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) primarily with students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities (ASD/ID).
Dr. Athamanah’s research is grounded in her career as a speech-language pathologist in CPS. Students with ASD/ID continue to face low expectations and limited interventions that hinder post-school success. Furthermore, these students remain segregated from their peers in educational and employment settings, which potentially hampers their development of skills and limits opportunities to build and maintain peer friendships. Her research focuses on evaluating the impact of peer-mediated interventions on the vocational and social language skills of students with ASD/ID and their peers as well as creating sustainable peer mentoring programs in inclusive work-based learning settings. A second line of research explores the perceptions of employers, peers, and students with ASD/ID about employment expectations, the experience of working together, and how peer relationships develop in an inclusive work environment.