Jessica Topor


2011                    MA, Human Development and Family Studies, Specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy

In Progress         PhD, Human Development and Family Studies, Specialization in Couple and Family Therapy

Research Interests

I am interested in the relational dynamics of families as a whole. I am specifically interested in the outcomes related to those dynamics in sibling relationships – especially in families of children with developmental disabilities – and the relational dynamics that result from the unique challenges faced by families of children with a disability. The specific characteristics of family dynamics that are especially interesting to me are communication patterns, relationship quality, and development, as well as adjustment to developmental changes and challenges. My research goals for the next few years include conducting research related to sibling relationships, as well as sibling relationships of children with disabilities.

Research Projects

I am currently working on the Maltreatment and Language Content project, looking at the effects of maltreatment on the content of children’s spontaneous speech during play. I am also working on modifying the survey used in the Parent’s Communication Choices for their Children study to investigate the communication choices parents make for their children with developmental disabilities.

Outside of the IIIW lab, I am working on a number of projects looking at the outcomes of therapy and the therapist’s ability to predict continued improvement at the termination of therapy. This line of research is related to my clinical work and my clinical interests. I have also conducted research focusing on families of children with autism.

Publications and Presentations

Peer Reviewed Publications

Bassin, S.A., Schatz, J.C., Posey, W.M., & Topor, J.A. (2010) Parent educational involvement when children have chronic health conditions. School Psychology Forum, 4(3), 1-12.

Conference Presentations

Topor, J.A., Grimm, F., Vallotton, C., Ayoub, C.,& Decker, K.B. (2011). The content of speech of maltreated and non-maltreated children during peer interaction. Poster Presented at the Conference of the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 15, 2011.

Zientek, A., Topor, J.A. Decker, K.B., Bentley, S., Gutowski, E. & Vallotton, C.D. (April 1, 2011). Trajectories of Symbolic Gesture Acquisition and Use in Infants and Toddlers. Poster Presentation at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Vallotton, C.D., Decker, K.B., Karsten, A., Topor, J., & Scott, M. (July, 2011). Preverbal Pragmatists: The Developmental Trajectory of Preverbal Children’s Symbolic Gestures in Enriched Gesturing Environments. In E. Nicoladis (Chair) Development of Children’s Symbolic Gestures. XII International Congress for the Study of Child Language, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Topor, J.A. & Ramisch J.L. (2010). Adjustments of siblings of children with Autism. Poster Presented at the Annual Conference of the National Council on Family Relations, Minneapolis, MN.

Ramisch, J. L., Topor, J. A., Hock, R., & Timm, T. (2010). Working effectively with couples with children with autism. 1.5-hour workshop presented at the annual International Family Therapy Association (IFTA) Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Wilson, S.A.B., Schatz, J., & Topor, J. (2010). A Comparison of Factors Influencing Parent Educational Involvement When a Child Has Diabetes or a Bleeding Disorder. Presented at the annual conference of the National Association of School Psychologists, Chicago, IL.

Wilson, S.A.B., Yount, J., Martin, K., Williams, J.C., & Topor, J. (2010). Family adjustment issues and chronic health conditions in children. Presented at the annual conference of the National Association of School Psychologists, Chicago, IL.

Personal Activities and Interests

I enjoy spending time with my family, especially my dogs. I am interested in sports, baking, and traveling. I enjoy music, movies, and fun times with friends to help relax after a long day or week.

Contact info