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Shana R. Cohen

Associate Professor

Dr. Shana Cohen is an associate professor in the Department of Education Studies. Her research examines Mexican heritage families’ beliefs and experiences with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She is particularly interested in how parents’ beliefs about ASD causes, symptoms, and treatments shape parents’ educational decisions, childrearing goals, and parenting practices. She utilizes a sociocultural framework informed by the literature on cultural models of education and child socialization from typically developing Mexican immigrant families to inform her work.  The findings from her studies will inform diagnosis and treatment protocols for young Mexican heritage children with autism.

Shana has worked as a clinician, an early childhood special educator, and a political advocate for immigrant Latino children with disabilities and their families. She has taught pre-service teachers in graduate and undergraduate courses focused on the characteristics, etiology, and identification of children with disabilities. She looks forward to actively engaging with students in a socially conscious and rigorous academic environment.

Dr. Cohen is a native Spanish-speaker; fluent in spoken and written Spanish.


The University of California, Berkeley & San Francisco State University

Joint Doctor of Philosophy in Special Education, 2011

San Francisco State University

Masters & Teaching Credential in Early Childhood Special Education, 2004

The University of California, Santa Barbara

B.A. in Global Studies and Spanish Literature (Honors), 2001


ADOS Certified

Bridges, M., Cohen, S. R., Scott, L., Fuller, B., Anguiano, R., Figueroa, A. M., Livas-Dlott, A. (2015).  Home activities of Mexican American children: Structuring early socialization and cognitive engagement. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 21, 181-190.

Bridges, M., Cohen, S. R., McGuire, L. W., Yamada, H., Fuller, B., Mireles, L., & Scott, L. (2012). Bien Educado: Measuring the social behavior of Mexican American children. Early Childhood Research Quarterly27, 555-567.

Cohen, S. R., Holloway, S. D., & Dominguez-Pareto, I., & Kuppermann, M., (2015). Support and self-efficacy among Latino and White families of children with ID. American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilties120, 16-31. 

Cohen, S. R., Holloway, S. D., Dominguez-Pareto, I., & Kuppermann, M. (2013). Receiving or believing in family support? Contributors to the life quality of Latino and non-Latino families of children with ID. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research58, 333-345.

Cohen, S. R. (2013). Advocacy for the “Abandonados”: Harnessing cultural beliefs for Latino families and their children with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Policy and Practice in Intellectual Disabilities, 10, 71-78.

Holloway, S., Dominguez-Pareto, I., Cohen, S. R., & Kuppermann, M. (2014). Whose Job is it? Everyday routines and quality of life in Latino and non-Latino families of children with intellectual disabilities. Journal of Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 7, 104-125.

Kuppermann, M., Nakagawa, S., Cohen, S. R., Dominguez-Pareto, I., Shaffer, B. L., & Holloway, S. D. (2011). Attitudes towards prenatal testing and pregnancy termination among a diverse population of parents of children with intellectual disabilities. Prenatal Diagnosis, 31, 1251-1258.

Zeedyk, S., Cohen, S. R., & Blacher, J. (2014). Syndrome-specific impact on parental well being: Autism compared. In The Comprehensive Guide to Autism. Vinood B. Patel, Victor R. Preedy, Colin R. Martin (Eds.): Springer.

Zeedyk, S., Cohen, S. R., Eisenhower, A., & Blacher, J. (2015). Perceived social competence and loneliness among young children with ASD: Child, parent and teacher reports. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46, pp. 436-449.

Cohen, S. R., Zeedyk, S.M., Tipton, L. A., Rodas N. V., & Blacher, J. (2015). Fathers of children with or without ID: Understanding long-term psychological symptoms. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research.

Bush, H. H., Cohen, S. R., Eisenhower, A., & Blacher, J. (Dec. 2017). Parents’ educational expectations for young children with autism spectrum disorder. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

Cohen, S. R., & Miguel, J. M. (2018). Amor and Social Stigma: ASD Beliefs Among Immigrant Mexican Parents. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1-15. DOI: 10.1007/s10803-017-3457-x

Holloway, S.D., Cohen, S. R., & Domínguez-Pareto, I. (in press). Culture, Stigma, and Intersectionality: Towards Equitable Parent-Educator Relationships in Early Childhood Special Education. In M. Siller & L. Morgan (Eds.).  Handbook of Family-Centered Practice for Very Young Children with Autism. New York: Springer Publishing.

Cohen, S. R., Miguel, J., & Wishard Guerra, A., (2019). Childrearing routines among Mexican-heritage children with autism spectrum disorder, Autism, DOI:

Bottema-Beutel, K., Oliveira, G., Cohen, S. R., & Miguel, J. (2019). Question-response-evaluation sequences in the home interactions of a bilingual child with autism spectrum disorder. International Journal of Language and Communication Disorders DOI:

Castillo, A., Cohen, S. R., Miguel, J*., & Warstadt, M*. (2020). Short report: Perceptions of causes and common beliefs of autism spectrum disorder in the U.S. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorder. DOI:

Cohen, S. R., Lee, H. K., Kim, S., Guerra, A. W. (2020). A time-use study of immigrant mothers’ positive emotions raising a child with ASD. Journal of Child and Family Studies.

Book Chapters

Holloway, S.D., Cohen, S. R., & Domínguez-Pareto, I. (2018). Culture, Stigma, and Intersectionality: Towards Equitable Parent-Educator Relationships in Special Education. In M. Siller & L. Morgan (Eds.).  Handbook of Parent Implemented Interventions for Very Young Children with Autism. Switzerland: Springer Publishing. 

Wishard Guerra, A., Cohen, S., Datnow, A., Brown, T., Jernigan, T., Doyle, M., Daly, A. (2020). Bridging Education and Neuroscience to Support Transformation in Teaching and Learning: A Design-Based Approach. In Reardon, R. M. & Leonard, J. (Eds.), Alleviating the Educational Impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences: School-University-Community Collaboration. Current Perspectives on School/University/Community Research. Information Age Publishing.

Principal Investigator: Adaptations to early intervention for Mexican-heritage children with autism. Faculty Career Development Program Grant 2016-2017

Principal Investigator: Improving Odds: Enhancing Access to Quality Autism Interventions for Low-Income, Mexican-Heritage Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Yankelovich Center Grant, 2016-2017

Co-Principal Investigator: UC Links Research Grant. Understanding family socialization processes in young children from immigrant families.

Co-Principal Investigator: Using Knowledge from Education and Neuroscience to Lifts Students’ Developmental Trajectories. Privately Funded 2018-2020

Co-Principal Investigator: FW-HTF-RL: Neurodiversity in Tech: Using Interactive Decision Theory and Augmented Reality to Enable Employment for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder National Science Foundation Grant, 2019-2024