Gerald Mahoney and Alumna Frida Perales Co-Author Book on Responsive Teaching

Gerald Mahoney headshot

Gerald Mahoney, PhD, the Verna Houck Motto Professor of Families and Communities and associate dean for research and training at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences recently published the book Responsive Teaching: Relationship Based Developmental Intervention with his co-author, doctoral alumna Frida Perales, PhD.

Responsive Teaching is an evidence-based developmental curriculum designed for early intervention professionals who work with parents and other caregivers to support and enhance their children’s development in the natural environment. The book was derived from research investigating how parents’ interactive relationships are associated with the development and well-being of children with developmental disabilities and risks.

It includes detailed instructional strategies, procedures, and session plans for addressing children’s needs across three developmental domains: cognition, communication, and social emotional functioning.

Responsive Teaching has been in development since 1984 through the support of a multiple research and demonstration grants funded by the Office of Special Education of the United States Department of Education. Eight research studies involving more than 200 parents and children have been published for curriculum.

Results indicate that responsive teaching is highly effective at encouraging parents to adopt a more responsive style of interacting with their children, and that these changes are associated with significant improvements in children’s cognitive, communication and social emotional functioning. They also indicate that responsive teaching not only enhances parents’ enjoyment of their children, but also results in significant reduction in parental stress and depression that parents of children with developmental challenges and disabilities so often experience. These studies have been conducted in four different countries with children having a variety of developmental disabilities including Down syndrome and autism spectrum disorder.