The Ohio State University at Newark

Ohio State Newark Professor Martens Receives Grant

August 12, 2015- Newark, OH —Marilee Martens, associate professor at The Ohio State University at Newark has received a grant for $30,000 to study Assistive Technology (AT) in individuals with Williams syndrome from The Ohio State University’s Office of Outreach and Engagement.

newark/uploads/MPR-ssc/Martens_child.jpgThe study will involve examining the effectiveness of AT interventions with individuals who have developmental disabilities. Benefits include documenting the effectiveness of AT in the classroom for students with a developmental disability; building upon this research base to further develop and refine AT interventions; helping students gain independence in classroom activities, and improving their educational outcomes. This knowledge will also increase the opportunities for educators to recognize and capitalize on the strengths of students with developmental disabilities and gain confidence to implement AT interventions with future students in their classrooms.

“We are thrilled that we were approached by the National Williams Syndrome Association and asked to head up these research projects, said Martens. Intervention-based research is very important to me, and it’s very fulfilling to conduct research that will make a positive impact in the lives of those with developmental disabilities.”

Three different research projects will be undertaken regarding the use of AT with students of different ages. Projects are: 1) The Use of Assistive Technology to Support Early Development of Activities of Daily Living and Academic Skills; 2) The Efficacy and Impact of the Implementation of Assistive Technology for Elementary Students with Williams syndrome; and 3) The Use and Implementation of Assistive Technology Supports to Increase Autonomous Performance of Life Occupations in Young Adults with Various Disabilities.

Information about these AT projects will be presented and disseminated at the 2016 International Professional Conference on Williams Syndrome and the 2016 National Williams Syndrome Convention, both of which will be held in Columbus, Ohio.

The funding from this grant will also provide free AT consultations, and technology if necessary, for children and families attending the National Williams Syndrome Convention which Martens is involved in planning.

Additionally, this grant will allow Martens and research colleagues to provide training activities with schools and service providers around the country, including offering training for educators in the local Columbus community.

Martens received her Ph.D. from the University of Melbourne, Australia where her dissertation research focused on Williams Syndrome: Links between Brain, Cognition and Behavior. Martens has been an associate professor of psychology at Ohio State Newark since 2013 and an assistant professor at the school prior to that since 2007. She is the Williams Syndrome Program Director at the Nisonger Center at The Ohio State University, Columbus, where she facilitates gatherings for families who have children with Williams syndrome. She is also the founder and psychologist for the Williams Syndrome Clinic, which is held twice a month at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

For additional information on Dr. Martens, go to:

For more information about the Nisonger Center and the Williams Syndrome Program, go to:

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Photo: Dr. Marilee Martens with one of her patients at the Williams Syndrome Clinic.