Deborah L. Rooks-Ellis

Deborah Rooks-EllisAssociate Professor of Special Education
Director, Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research
Phone: 207.581.2352
Fax: 207.581.2423

306 Shibles Hall
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5766

Bio: Deborah L. Rooks-Ellis is an associate professor of special education at the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development and the director of the Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research.

Deborah began her career as an inclusive early childhood educator, having taught in Georgia, Maryland, Arizona and Maine. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in Low Incidence Disabilities with a focus in Early Childhood in 2009. Deborah coordinates the early childhood intervention master’s program at UMaine. Her research interests include personnel preparation, family-school partnerships, and implementation fidelity of intervention strategies for young children. Deborah has been awarded two federal grants used to prepare inclusive early childhood educators. Additionally, Deborah has been awarded several state-level grants including an alternative certification pathway for educators, a professional development system to support educators working with young children and their families, and a statewide intervention program for young children with autism. Deborah is active in professional organizations, including the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the Division of Early Childhood, and the American Council for Rural Special Education. Her leadership positions include having served as program coordinator, a Gubernatorial appointment to the Maine Interagency Coordinating Council and as a consultant with the federally funded Early Childhood Personnel Center. Deborah lives with her husband and four children in Bangor, Maine.

University of Arizona, 2009, Ph.D., Low Incidence Disabilities, ECE focus
The Johns Hopkins University, 1993, MSEd., Low Incidence Disabilities, ECE focus
University of Georgia, 1990, BSEd., Early Childhood Education

Courses taught at UMaine

  • SED 505 Diversity in Development
  • SED 506 Assessment in Early Childhood
  • SED 511 Curriculum and Program Planning in PreK Classrooms
  • SED 514 Administration and Public Policy for Early Childhood Programs
  • SED 598 Partnering with Families

Sample publications (*denotes student co-authors)

  • Spence, C. M., Rooks-Ellis, D. L., *Brown Ruiz, A., Fish, L. A., *Jones, B., *O’Grady C. E., & *Sulinski, E. (2021). The language we use: Providers’ perceptions about families.Early Childhood Education Journal. Online First. doi: 10.1007/s10643-021-01258-2
  • Rooks-Ellis, D.L., *Jones, B., *Sulinski, E., Howorth, S.K., & Achey, N. (2020) The effectiveness of a brief sexuality education intervention for parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. American Journal of Sexuality Education, 1-21.
  • Rooks-Ellis, D.L., Howorth, S.K., *Kunze, M., Boulette, S., & *Sulinski, E. (2020). Effects of a parent training using telehealth: Equity and access to early intervention for rural families. Journal of Childhood, Education & Society 1(2), 141-166.
  • Tu, S. Mason, C. A. Rooks-Ellis, D. L. & Lech, P. (2020). Odds of autism at 5 to 10 years of age for children who did not pass their AABR newborn hearing screen but were diagnosed with normal hearing. Journal of Early Hearing Detection and Intervention, 5(1), 1-12.
  • Flanagan, S., Howorth, S., & Rooks-Ellis, D. L. (2020). Evidence-based practices for technology-enhanced learning. Maine Schools in Focus.
  • Howorth, S. K., Rooks-Ellis, D., Flanagan, S., & Ok, M.W. (2019). Augmented reality supporting reading skills of students with autism spectrum disorder.  Intervention in School and Clinic. 55(2), 71-77.
  • Rooks-Ellis, D. L. (2017). The scholars’ project:  Maine’s distance education model for preparing early childhood special educators to work with young children with disabilities. Rural Special Education Quarterly, 36, 84-91.
  • Rooks-Ellis, D. L. (2016).  Building a sustainable professional development model in Maine: Observational strategies and reflective coaching in action. American Council for Rural Special Education, 106-111

Sample presentations

  • Rooks-Ellis, D.L., *Bruttomesso, B., *Dennison, B., *Martin, C., *Miller, P., & *Oraine, M. (2022, March 4). Standards and competencies to support scholars working in rural communities [Conference session]. American Council on Rural Special Education 41st Annual Conference.
  • Spence, C., Acar, S., Blasco, P., Rooks-Ellis, D.L., *Brown, K., & Childress, D. (2022, February 11). Substance-exposed infants and their families: Early interventionists’ knowledge and practices. [Conference session]. Conference on Research Innovations in Early Intervention.
  • Lesko, J., Gundler, D., Bruder, M.B., Rooks-Ellis, D.L., & Thomas, S. (2021, September 24). From exploration to implementation of a CSPD. [Conference session]. Council for Exceptional Children Division for Early Childhood 37th Annual International Conference.
  • Spence, C., & Rooks-Ellis, D. L. (2021, July 5). Tension between research and practice: Reflecting on the role of the critically conscious researcher when data contradicts professional obligation. Thinking Qualitatively Virtual Conference.
  • *Kunze, M., & Rooks-Ellis, D. L. (2021, January 28). Parent training via telehealth: Parent fidelity, usability, and change in ASD. [Conference session]. Council for Exceptional Children Division for Early Childhood 36th Annual International Conference.
  • Rooks-Ellis, D. L., Lyman, T., Purcell, M., & Storie, S. (2021, January 25). Early childhood personnel center (ECPC): Embedding standards and recommended practices into personnel preparation. [Conference session]. Council for Exceptional Children Division for Early Childhood 36th Annual International Conference.
  • Spence, C., Rooks-Ellis, D. L., Fish, L. A., & *O’Grady, C. (2021, January 25). Supporting those who support others: Supervision, mentoring, and self-care. [Conference session]. Council for Exceptional Children Division for Early Childhood 36th Annual International Conference.
  • Fish, L. A., Rooks-Ellis, D. L., & Spence, C. (2020, November 4). The language we use: How we talk about families and images those words create. National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Education.
  • Rooks-Ellis, D. L. (2020, October 6). Alignment of ECI programs and courses to CEC Initial Practice-Based Professional Preparation Standards for EI/ECSE: Resources to support higher education faculty and doctoral students. [Invited virtual presentation]. Council for Exceptional Children Division for Early Childhood’s Consortium for Innovations in Doctoral Excellence.

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