Toni Van Laarhoven, Ed.D.
Professor, Special Education


Special and Early Education (SEED)


  • Ed.D., Northern Illinois University, Special Education
    (developmental disabilities and applied behavior analysis)
  • M.S.Ed., Northern Illinois University, Special Education
    (developmental disabilities and applied behavior analysis)
  • B.S.Ed., Illinois State University, Special Education
    (developmental disabilities and adapted physical education)


Toni Van Laarhoven teaches courses in the areas of developmental disabilities and autism, assistive technology, and applied behavior analysis. She was a co-director of a technology-based, self-advocacy grant funded by the Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities (Project MY VOICE) and has been responsible for the preparation and development of the LBS Assistive Technology lab in the College of Education. She has worked in the field professionally for over thirty years and grew up with an older sister with significant disabilities. She enjoys working in the field and has conducted and published several research studies on the effectiveness of using video-based instruction for promoting independence among individuals with ASD and/or developmental disabilities.

She is an editorial review board member for Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, Journal of Special Education Technology, and Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She was a former rocker in a band and is also mom to two beautiful girls, a huge dog and a spunky dog-like cat.

Research Interests

  • Video-based instruction.
  • Use of mobile devices as prompting systems.
  • Employment for individuals with disabilities.
  • Transition planning using technology.
  • Assistive technology.
  • Functional behavior assessment.
  • Technology integration in teacher education.

Courses Taught

  • SESE 230 Exploring the Special Education Major

  • SESE 461: Assistive Technology for Individuals with Autism and Multiple Disabilities

  • SESE 552 Assistive Technology/Multiple Disabilities

  • SESE 604: Assistive Technology and Methods for Teaching Individuals with Autism and Developmental Disabilities
  • SESE 709: Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis and Research-Based Interventions for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • SESE 792: Single-Case Research Methodologies and Research-based Practices in Special Education


Van Laarhoven, T. Using Wearable Biosensor Technology to Measure the Effectiveness of Therapeutic Interventions on the Stress/Anxiety of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and/or Intellectual Disabilities. Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Student Engagement Fund, $3,480 (Summer, 2019)

Recent Publications

  • Van Laarhoven, T., Carreon, A., Bonneau, W., and Lagerhausen, A. (2018). Comparing mobile technologies for teaching vocational skills to individuals with autism spectrum disorders and/or intellectual disabilities using universally-designed prompting systems. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48, 2516-2529.
  • Pinter, E., Van Laarhoven, T., Smith, T. J., Clemens, S., and DeYoung, T. (2018). A research summary: Career development and vocational preparation in middle and high school: A look at what students in Illinois are getting. Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education (IAASE) Newsletter, 452(2), 4-5.
  • Pinter, E., Van Laarhoven, T., Smith, T. J., Clemens, S., and DeYoung, T. (2018). Career development and vocational preparation in middle/high school: What are students in Illinois really getting? Scope, 51(3), 1-3.

Awards and Honors

Presidential Teaching Professor (2016)

Toni Van Laarhoven

Gabel 162B