Natalie Andzik, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Special Education


Special and Early Education (SEED)


  • Ph.D., The Ohio State University, Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis
  • BCBA-D, Doctoral Level Board Certified Behavior Analyst
  • M.A., California State University, Sacramento, Special Education
  • B.A., University of California, Davis, Human Development

Research Interests

Natalie Andzik, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Special and Early Education at Northern Illinois University. Natalie comes to NIU from The Ohio State University where she earned a Ph.D. in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis. Her research interest grew from being a special educator in California for eight years. There, she worked with students with mild to profound disabilities and supported teams when making intervention and placement decisions. When making decisions for students, Natalie found that the number one determining factor that decided their future was their ability to independently communicate.

Natalie's research focuses on supporting communication independence among individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. From her perspective, as a former special education teacher, she believes that teachers, paraeducators, and other school-based practitioners benefit from support when implementing evidence-based practices. Natalie has published numerous articles in special education and applied behavior analysis journals including Exceptional Children and Teaching Exceptional Children.


  • SESE 320/520 - Disability in Film
  • SESE 417 - Positive Behavior Support and Classroom Management for Special Educators
  • SESE 456 - Methods for Collaboration and Inclusion for Elementary Education Teachers
  • SESE 709 - Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis and Research-Based Interventions for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • SESE 710 - Behavioral Applications and Consultation in School and Community Settings
  • SESE 692/792 - Seminar: Single Case Research Methodologies for Behavior Analysts

Recent Publications

Andzik, N. R., Schaefer, J. M., and Christensen, V. (in press) The Effects of Teacher Delivered Behavior Skills Training on Paraeducators Use of Embedded Communication Training Strategies. Augmentative and Alternative Communication.

*Van Laarhoven, T., Johnson, J., Andzik, N. R., Fernandes, L., Ackerman, D., Wheeler, M., Melody, M., Cornell, V., Ward, G., Kerfoot, H. (online first) Using wearable biosensor technology for behavioral assessment and interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities who experience anxiety. Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

*DeSpain, S., Andzik, N. R. and Kivikoski, A. (in press) Let's get involved! Parent and educator definitions of parental involvement. Journal of Special Education Apprenticeship.

*Reppen, R. and Andzik, N. R. (in press) Wiggle while you work: Brain breaks to increase productivity. New Teacher Advocate.

Andzik, N. R. and Chung, Y. (online first). Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Adults with Complex Communication Needs: A Review of Single-Case Research. Communication Disorders Quarterly. 

*Andzik, N. R., Smith, E, and Neef, N. A. (online first). Using a token economy to treat escape-maintained problem behavior without extinction. Behavior Modification

Schaefer, J. M. and Andzik, N. R. (online first) Evaluating behavioral skills training as an evidence-based practice when training parents to intervene with their children. Behavior Modification

*Leifheit, L., Andzik, N. R. and DeSpain, S. (2021). The value of direct instruction in middle school. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 49, (2), 3–11. 

Andzik, N. R. and Kranak, M. P. (2021) The softer side of supervision: recommendations when teaching and evaluating behavior-analytic professionalism. Behavior Analysis: Research and Practice, 21(1), 65–74. 

Kranak, M. P. and Andzik, N. R. (2020) Five ways to use meaningful praise for students with learning disabilities. LD Forum, 12(3). 3–6.

*Rieb, C., Andzik, N. R., and Conderman, G. (2020) Supporting student self-monitoring. The Teacher Advocate.

Andzik, N. R. and Schaefer, J. M. (2020) Pre-service teacher-delivered behavioral skills training: A pyramidal training approach. Behavioral Interventions, 35(1), 99–113. doi: 10.1002/bin.1696

*Andzik, N. R., Gist, C., Smith, E., and Neef, N. A. (2019) The effects of games on student quiz performance. Journal of Effective Teaching in Higher Education, 2(1), 109–119.

Andzik, N. R and Cannella-Malone, H. I. (2019) Practitioner implementation of a communication intervention with students with complex communication needs. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 124(5), 395­­–410. 

*McWilliams, A., Chung, Y., Wells, R., and Andzik, N. R. (2019) Getting to the "Core": Vocabulary instruction for students with significant disabilities. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 47, 32–42.

Andzik, N. R., Schaefer, J. M., Nichols, R. T. and Cannella-Malone, H. I. (2019). Exploring relationships between teacher training and support strategies for students utilizing AAC. Journal of International Special Needs Education, 22(1), 25–34. 


Andzik, N. R. (2021) Parents as Communication Advocates for Children with Disabilities. Northern Illinois University. Funded amount: $9,850. Principal investigator

Student Engagement Fund. (2019) The Value of the Non-Traditional Teacher Candidate. Northern Illinois University. Funded amount: $2,500.

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