- Founding member of the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training
- The driving force behind KU Edward’s campus Autism resource center
- The 2009 recipient of the University of Kansas Research Achievement Award
- Initiated the annual Discovery Pilot Grants that have supported small but exciting new studies in autism research to pave the way for external funding of larger studies
Dr. Debra Kamps is an outstanding research scientist whose 35-year career has benefitted children with severe behavioral, emotional and developmental disabilities through the development of research-based practices for educators and other practitioners, families, individuals themselves and hence the field, the state of Kansas, and beyond. She is noted by colleagues and students as a gifted leader, leading by example, mentoring, and excelling at balancing research objectives with the demands on practitioners and research partners. Her career has been a model of research-to-practice and devoted service to the disability community.
Dr. Kamps was adamant that the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training (KCART), established in 2008 under her leadership, include not only Kansas City and statewide training for parents and practitioners, but a resource center at the KU Edwards Campus. The resource center enables parents to get in-person advice about navigating resources for their children with autism and also to borrow resources to take home. She made sure that the resource center included a welcoming children’s area, and she achieved this largely through donated space, services and private support.
Dr. Kamps produced a program of research in area schools that demonstrated that children with autism could be effectively included and instructed along with typical peers in small- and large-group instruction, when the prevailing model for these children was strictly a one-on-one approach supporting case for inclusion of children in the general education curriculum.
Dr. Kamps also volunteers her time and expertise at a local community college to a group of young adults with autism to support their higher education careers and social life skills. She is also overseeing the development of parent, peer and teacher training DVDs which will be freely distributed to families of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. At the same time, Dr. Kamps created an ambitious and generative research agenda for KCART. In 2009, she initiated the annual Discovery Pilot Grants that have supported small but exciting new studies in autism research to pave the way for external funding of larger studies. Also in 2009, Dr. Kamps was the recipient of the University of Kansas Research Achievement Award with 16 externally-funded research programs since 1991.
"Active teacher participation in functional behavioral assessment for students with emotional and behavioral disorder risks in general education classrooms." Behavior Disorders, 31(2), 128-146.Kamps, D., Wendland, M., & Culpepper, M. (2006).
"Development and validation of standard classroom observation systems for school practitioners: Ecobehavioral Assessment Systems Software (EBASS)." Greenwood, C.R., Carta, J.J., Kamps, D., Terry, B., Delquadri, J. (1994). Exceptional Children, (61) 2, 197-210.