Christine Spence, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Counseling and Special Education

Christine Spence, Ph.D.


  • Ph.D. in special education, University of Illinois
  • M.M. in music therapy, Florida State University
  • B.S. in psychology, University of Florida
  • B.M. in music, University of Florida

Research interests

Infants and toddlers with disabilities; infant mental health; family-centered practices and coaching; professional development and personnel preparation; family and child well-being; early childhood systems

Recent publications/projects

  • 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
  • Spence, C. M., Miller, D. L., Corr, C. P., Santos, R. M., & *Bentley, B. (2021). When in doubt, reach out! Teaming strategies for inclusive early childhood settings. Young Children, 76(1). 39-49.
  • Chen, C-C., Xu, Y., Spence, C. M., *Zhang, F., & *Brown Ruiz, A. (2020). Low Birth Weight and Prematurity as Predictors of Children’s Receiving Special Education Services. Early Child Development and Care. Online first: doi: 10.1080/03004430.2020.1804897
  • Corr, C. P., Santos, R. M., Fowler, S. A., Spence, C. M., & *Skubel, A. (2020). Early intervention providers’ perceptions of supporting families experiencing poverty. Early Childhood Development and Care, 190(13), 2093-2105. doi: 10.1080/03004430.2018.1560276
  • Spence, C. M. & Santos, R. M. (2019). Multi-component professional development for early interventionists. International Journal of Early Childhood Special Education, 11(1), 52-63. doi: 10.20489/intjecse.585390
  • Corr, C. P., Miller, D. L., Spence, C. M., *Marshall, A. A., *Mott, K. N., & *Kretzer, J. (2018). “It’s never black and white.”: Early interventionists’ experiences supporting abused children and their families. Psychological Services, 16(1), 103-110. doi: 10.1037/ser0000282
  • Spence, C. M., Connor, S. M., Burke, T. E., Cheema, J. R., & Ostrosky, M. M. (2018). Assessing early intervention provider needs: Insights into one state. Infants & Young Children, 31, 53-68. doi: 10.1097/IYC.0000000000000110


Dr. Christine Spence is an assistant professor of Early Childhood Special Education at Virginia Commonwealth University. Spence has worked primarily in the early intervention field as an early childhood special educator, music therapist and professional development provider. Due to these experiences, her professional interests and research focus on high quality experiences for families and children participating in early childhood services and systems. She examines pre-service preparation, professional development and family/child well-being through qualitative and mixed methods research. She has conducted studies examining families’ outcomes as a result of participating in early intervention, early interventionists’ use of strategies to support families in vulnerable circumstances, the impact of multi-component professional development, integrating content through technology in pre-service coursework, and needs assessments for early interventionists.

Curriculum Vitae

(804) 827-2663