Dr. Cynthia Anderson, Senior Vice President of Applied Behavior Analysis at May Institute

May Institute Awarded Multi-Year Grant from the U.S. Department of Education/Institute of Educational Sciences to Reshape How Schools Support Students with Autism


Randolph, Mass. – Dr. Cynthia Anderson, Senior Vice President of Applied Behavior Analysis at May Institute, has received a $3.29 million, four-year grant from the Institute of Education Science to evaluate a new approach to supporting students with autism in public schools. Dr. Anderson holds a joint appointment as the Director of the National Autism Center at May Institute.

The grant will allow Dr. Anderson and her colleagues at the University of South Florida and the University of Rochester Medical Center to continue the intervention work they began in 2015, when they began developing and evaluating a framework for providing evidence-based interventions in schools. 

The framework, MAAPS (Modular Approach to Autism Programming) allows educators, working closely with students and families, to identify and prioritize goals for a student and then select appropriate interventions that are feasible in schools. Working closely with a MAAPS coach, educators learn to individualize and then implement chosen interventions. The MAAPS coach helps teachers be sure the intervention is doable and having the desired effect.  

The primary aim of the study is to evaluate whether, compared to services as usual, MAAPS improves teacher/instructional personnel outcomes and subsequent student educational outcomes.

“This support will allow us to continue the work we began several years ago, and evaluate the efficacy of MAAPS across many different schools, teachers, and students with autism,” Dr. Anderson said. “May Institute is a leader in implementation of evidence-based interventions and so we are perfectly positioned to take the lead in this work.” 

This is a multi-site research study. At May Institute, Drs. Ryan Martin and Jaime Crowley work with Dr. Anderson on the project. The research team also includes Drs. Rose Iovannone, Jeffrey Williams, and Jennifer Wolgemuth at University of South Florida and Dr. Suzanna Iadorola at University of Rochester Medical Center.  

About May Institute
May Institute is a nonprofit organization that is a national leader in the field of applied behavior analysis, serving individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities, brain injury and neurobehavioral disorders, and other special needs. Founded more than 65 years ago, we provide a wide range of exceptional educational and rehabilitative services across the lifespan. For more information, call 800.778.7601 or visit

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