Current Social-Emotional Learning Projects

The research team at Rush NeuroBehavioral Center focuses on children’s social-emotional learning (SEL) skills, including the assessment of social-emotional learning competencies, the treatment of social-emotional learning challenges, and the mechanisms that underlie these skills. Our research includes both children with and without neurobehavioral diagnoses and often involve school-based partnerships. Please check our Publications page for updates on our findings.



Enrolling Partner Schools


Validation of a Spanish-Language Social Reasoning Assessment for Spanish Speaking English Language Learners (R305A200463)

VESIP, our web-based direct assessment of children’s social information processing skills in grades 3–7, is now available in Spanish! VESIP uses an interactive virtual system to measure responses to five types of challenging social situations across several assessment domains. Children design their avatar character and view social interactions unfold, answering assessment questions via interactions with a virtual peer character within the program.

RNBC is in the first year of an IES-funded research study (R305A200463) to determine wither the Spanish-language version of VESIP is valid for use by Spanish-speaking English language learners (ELLs) in third through seventh grade. We are presently looking for partner districts for this project. For more information, contact study coordinator Ashley Karls at


Web-Based Assessment of Social-Emotional Skills in Middle School (R305A200220)

We are in the first year of an IES-funded project to develop and validate SELweb Middle School (SELweb MS), a web-based assessment designed to measure key social-emotional skills that are associated with success in school and life and that are the targets of school-based social-emotional learning programs. SELweb MS will include three assessment methods—factual questions, situational judgment tasks, and self-report questionnaires. The intended use is to provide assessment data that can be used to guide instruction and measure skill acquisition after a period of instruction. In this way, SELweb MS will be designed to serve as a formative assessment and a tool for continuous improvement.

We are currently looking for school partners to participate in the validation of SELweb MS. For more information, contact study coordinator Ashley Karls at




Spark Online Registry


If you or your child has a professional diagnosis of autism, Rush University Medical Center invites you to learn more about SPARK, a new online research study sponsored by the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative. The mission of SPARK is clear: speed up research and advance understanding of autism by creating the nation’s largest autism study. Joining SPARK is simple – register online and provide a DNA sample via a saliva collection kit in the comfort of your own home.


Register in person at Rush University Medical Center by contacting us at 312–563‑2765, emailing, or visiting