3C Institute Uses e-Learning to Tackle Trauma

Through collaborations with a number of organizations working to address trauma, 3C Institute is fulfilling its mission to promote health and well-being via behavioral science principles and strategic use of technology. We’ve built a reputation in the trauma-aware community as a company that understands the psychology of trauma and how to address it and can […]

Collect High-Quality Data from Kids of All Ages!

Variations in attention, motivation, and literacy can undermine the quality of data collected from participants. For example: Limited attention spans and low motivation to answer survey questions make it difficult to collect responses. Literacy influences a person’s ability to respond to questions and affects the accuracy of those responses. Typical layouts, such as multiple questions […]

Schools Can Identify At-Risk Students with SEL Game Zoo U, Study Finds

It’s well established that strong social and emotional (SE) skills are key to doing well in school—not only socially but also academically—and the earlier they’re learned, the better. To effectively intervene with students who are struggling, schools must first assess which students need help in which areas. Unfortunately, the standard paper-and-pencil methods for SE skills […]

On-Demand Webinar: New Software for High-Quality Implementation of EBPs

Are you a provider of evidence-based programs? Would you like to easily and efficiently track fidelity, progress, and outcomes? Enter your name and e-mail address below to watch our free, on-demand webinar about Impact, a new implementation support system designed to help you: Foster high-quality implementation Know if participants are progressing as expected Ensure participant outcomes […]

Improve Your School or District Mental Health (for Free!)

Most schools have a handle on how they’re doing academically, but what about when it comes to student mental health? “The research is clear that students’ mental health is essential to their academic success,” says Sharon Stephan, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and co-director of the Center for School Mental Health at the University of […]

90 Strangers in 30 Days: From Painfully Shy to Socially Skilled

Writer Andrew Elsass struggled with shyness and social anxiety for most of his life. By his early 20s, he had resigned himself to being someone who just wasn’t socially skilled. Then he challenged himself to talk to 90 strangers in 30 days—at least three people a day—and kept track of his interactions. After talking to […]

5 Ways Tech Can Strengthen Social and Emotional Learning

Are social-emotional learning (SEL) and technology schoolyard friends or foes? SEL consultant Jessica Berlinski says in-person learning and technology can play together. Here, excerpted from her popular post on GettingSmart.com, are five ways tech can strengthen SEL: 1. Self-Directed Learning Kids are more engaged and learn better when they have a say in the process, […]

Active vs. Passive Parental Consent

Steven B. Pokorny talks about the issues to consider when choosing between passive and active consent. Q: What is the difference between active and passive parental consent? A: Active and passive consent methods differ in important ways. A passive consent procedure typically involves distributing a letter to the children’s parents or guardians explaining the nature […]

Top 5 benefits of game-based assessment

Social and emotional learning (SEL) expert and 3C Institute CEO Melissa DeRosier, PhD, explains the top five benefits of game-based assessment in the spring/summer issue of The Voice, from our partners at PENC (Professional Educators of North Carolina). Find a summary below or read the full article on their website.       Games provide […]

Free Resource for Elementary School Teachers

It may only be July, but stores already have back-to-school supplies on display, and teachers are making plans for the new school year. Do you know a beginning teacher thinking about behavior management, or a veteran teacher looking to revamp her plan? Our sister company, Personalized Learning Games (PLG), recently published a fabulous Classroom Management […]


Chief of Research and Learning Content


Dr. Childress obtained her PhD in psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to coming to 3C Institute, she served as a research associate and a postdoctoral fellow in the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill working on a longitudinal imaging study aimed at identifying the early markers of autism through behavioral and imaging methodologies. She has 19 years of autism research experience, during which she has examined the behavioral, personality, and cognitive characteristics of individuals with autism and their family members. Dr. Childress also has experience developing behavioral and parent report measurement tools, coordinating multi-site research studies, and collecting data from children and families. She has taught courses and seminars in general child development, autism, and cognitive development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


  • autism
  • early development
  • behavioral measurement
  • integrating behavioral and biological measurement


  • Postdoctoral fellowship, Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (Institutional NRSA-NICHD), University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • PhD, developmental psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • BS, psychology (minor in sociology), University of Iowa

Selected Publications

  • Elison, J. T., Wolff, J. J., Heimer, D. C., Paterson, S. J., Gu, H., Hazlett, H. C., Styner, M, Gerig, G., & Piven, J. (in press). Frontolimbic neural circuitry at 6 months predicts individual differences in joint attention at 9 months. Developmental Science.
  • Wassink, T. H., Vieland, V. J., Sheffield, V. C., Bartlett, C. W., Goedken, R., Childress, D. & Piven, J. (2008). Posterior probability of linkage analysis of autism dataset identifies linkage to chromosome 16. Psychiatric Genetics,18(2),85-91.
  • Losh, M., Childress, D., Lam K. & Piven, J. (2008). Defining key features of the broad autism phenotype: A comparison across parents of multiple- and single-incidence autism families. American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics), 147B(4):424-33.
  • Wassink, T. H., Piven, J., Vieland, V. J., Jenkins, L., Frantz R., Bartlett, C. W., Goedken, R., … Sheffield, V.C. (2005). Evaluation of the chromosome 2q37.3 gene CENTG2 as an autism susceptibility gene. American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics), 136, 36-44.
  • Barrett, S., Beck, J., Bernier, R., Bisson, E., Braun, T., Casavant, T., Childress, D., … Vieland, V. (1999). An autosomal genomic screen for autism. American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics), 88, 609-615. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1096-8628(19991215)88:63.0.CO;2-L
  • Piven, J., Palmer, P., Landa, R., Santangelo, S., Jacobi, D. & Childress, D. (1997). Personality and language characteristics in parents from multiple-incidence autism families. American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics), 74, 398-411.
  • Piven, J., Palmer, P., Jacobi, D., Childress, D. & Arndt, S. (1997). Broader autism phenotype: Evidence from a family history study of multiple-incidence autism families. American Journal of Psychiatry, 154, 185-190.