Jan Sheldon

Program Director
Professor, Applied Behavioral Science
Primary office:
4013 Dole Human Development Center

Undergraduate Specialty Area(s)

Youth Development and Juvenile Justice
Adults with Developmental Disabilities

Undergraduate and Graduate Courses

  • ABSC 304 Principles and Procedures of Behavior Modification (with Sherman) 
  • ABSC 410 Behavioral Approaches in Working with Adolescents 
  • ABSC 560 The Juvenile System: A Behavioral and Legal Perspective
  • ABSC 694 Practicum in Juvenile Problems
  • LAW 935 Juvenile Law

Research Interests

My professional career has focused on developing and evaluating legally safe, ethically humane, and effective interventions and environments for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, children, adolescents, and families. My research is in collaboration with other faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and community colleagues, and my research interests currently center on four main areas:

(1) The development and evaluation of community-based programs serving children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. There are several areas of research that are ongoing including the development and evaluation of various staffing models, programs to promote community integration and improve quality of life for people with developmental disabilities, methods to build positive relationships between staff and the people they serve, and interventions to reduce serious self-injurious behavior. Most of our research is conducted in our community partner, Community Living Opportunities, Inc. (CLO).

(2) Early intervention with children with autism. Research areas include the development and evaluation of programs to teach communication skills, language, and appropriate social behaviors, reduce challenging behaviors, and teach parents to be teachers of their own children.

(3) Legal and ethical issues in the mental health field. Research areas include juvenile law, the juvenile justice process, legal research on the rights of dependent populations, legal liability of staff and teachers in programs serving dependent populations, and legal education of mental health professionals.

(4) Reducing truancy in children and youth. Research areas include the development and evaluation of the Truancy Prevention and Diversion Program which is a joint program with the school system, social service agencies, the district attorney's office, and the juvenile court to attempt to solve truancy problems for children and youth. During their senior practicum in Applied Behavioral Science, undergraduate students work with truant children and youth using a variety of techniques including monitoring school attendance, mentoring, teaching social skills, and motivating with behavioral contracts and court involvement, if necessary.


(785) 864-3498
Edna A. Hill Child Development Center
1000 Sunnyside
University of Kansas
Lawrence, KS 66045