Higher-degree research being undertaken by Jessica Zanuttini




Dr Cathy Little and Dr Michelle Bonati

Thesis title:

Using peer-mediated time-delay to support social communication development



Project description

This research aims to investigate the effects of peer-mediated time-delay instruction to deliver social communication direction for students with autism. Four single-case designs were conducted to examine the social effects of the intervention using a multiple-baseline-across-behaviour design. Same-age peers were trained to facilitate the constant time-delay procedure for four participants with autism. Peer-mediators implemented the embedded intervention during inquiry-based learning sessions within mainstream primary-education classrooms. Social Communication Assessment data, collected through partial interval recording procedures, was inspected using visual data analysis. Results indicated that all four target participants made improvements in the frequency and quality of their individually selected social communication behaviours.

Jessica Zanuttini graduated from The University of Sydney in 2014 with a Bachelor of Education (Primary) (Honours 1). Alongside her research, Jessica is a teacher of diverse learning needs in a primary Sydney Catholic School and regularly teaches special education subjects at The University of Sydney.


  • Raymond L. Debus Bequest Scholarship (2017)
  • Research Training Program Stipend (formerly Australian Postgraduate Award, 2015 - present)

Professional and community roles:

  • Eighth cohort of the Council for Exceptional Children’s division for Research Doctoral Student Scholars (DR-DSS) (Member since 2015)
  • Social and Educational Participation and Engagement Research Network (SEPERN) (Member since 2015)

Conference presentation:

  • Zanuttini, J. Z. (2014). Co-operative inquiry-based learning for students with autism. Presented at the ASPECT Autism in Education Conference, Australian Technology Park, 31 July 2014.