The UA-ASD Clinic staff and collaborative researchers are committed to conducting research that improves our understanding of autism, the experience of families who have a family member diagnosed with Autism and investigating ways to improve treatment for children/adolescents and their families. Additionally, we seek to understand other associated features, symptoms, and stressors related to autism.

Autism Cluster

The UA-ASD Clinic is a part of The University of Alabama’s Autism Cluster. This is a unique collaborative approach to autism research within the Departments of Communicative Disorders and Psychology in the College of Arts & Sciences and the Department of Special Education & Multiple Abilities, and the Educational Neuroscience Initiative in the College of Education.

Recent advances in autism research have revealed important findings related to genetics, identification, and intervention. The purpose of the UA Autism Cluster is to help bridge this research-to-practice gap.

We aim to improve outcomes for people with autism and their families by facilitating collaborations among researchers with the expertise required for the complete, interdisciplinary approach necessary to address these specific gaps.

Specific Areas of Research

Our research focuses on the following:

  • Understanding relations between family functioning, stress, outcomes among families of children/adolescents diagnosed with autism or an autism spectrum disorder.
  • Sense Theater – This is a multi-site, randomized controlled trial of a novel intervention to improve social skills for children with autism spectrum disorder using musical theater techniques.
  • Emotional Awareness and Skills Enhancement Study (EASE) is a randomized, controlled trial research study designed to evaluate a new treatment for teens and young adults with autism spectrum disorder who struggle with handling difficult emotions like anger, sadness, and anxiety.
  • Examining psychosocial and neural changes associated with social skills treatments for individuals with autism receiving group-based social skills treatment.
  • Understanding outcomes for siblings of children diagnosed with autism, as well as understanding the quality of life for those diagnosed with autism and their families.

If you are interested in participating in any of these research studies, please call the research lab at (205) 348-3130 or email the clinic autismclinic@ua.edu.

Conference Presentations

The following is a list of conference presentations that have been completed through the services provided by the clinic over the past 2 to 3 years.

  1. Southern, B., Healy, M., McRae, E., & Stoppelbein, L. (2020, February).  Hardiness and parenting stress among parents of children diagnosed with ASD.  Poster presented at the 19th Annual Alabama Autism Conference.  Tuscaloosa, AL.
  2. Paisley, C. A., Ryan, S. M., Jarrett, M., & Tomeny, T. S. (2019, June). Parenting stress and parent- and clinician-rated symptoms of autism spectrum disorder. Poster presented at the Nineteenth Biennial International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology. Los Angeles, CA.
  3. Eldred, S. W., Rankin, J. A., Ryan, S., & Tomeny, T. S. (2017, May). The role of presence of ASD symptoms in the variability between parent and teacher ratings of social skills in school-age children evaluated for ASD. Poster presented at the 2017 International Meeting for Autism Research, San Francisco, CA.