Associate Chair for Research; Professor, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Suite 2050 Bondurant Hall – CB #7122, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Grace Baranek is a professor and associate chair for research in the Department of Allied Health Sciences, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. She is also a co-executive director of PEARLS (Program for Early Autism: Research, Leadership & Service). She received a BS in Occupational Therapy, and MS and PhD in Psychology from the University of Illinois. Dr. Baranek has had a long standing program of research on sensory features among children with ASD, and served as the Principal Investigator of the Sensory Experiences Project, a 10-year grant funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and Principal Investigator of the Early Development Project – Phase 1, funded by Autism Speaks. She is also one of the Principal Investigators on a grant studying sensory precursors to anxiety disorders in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), funded by the Department of Defense. Dr. Baranek has served on several working groups of the National Academy of Science and National Institutes of Health to evaluate evidence-based practices for children with ASD. She is the author of numerous journal articles and book chapters on the topics of sensory processing as well as early identification and interventions for children with ASD, and is a nationally and internationally recognized expert in this field.
I joined the OS/OT faculty at UNC-CH in 1996. I continue to teach graduate students at the master's and doctoral level, and I mentor post-docs. My interdisciplinary research program focuses on early identification of sensory processing and social-communication features in children with autism spectrum disorder and the impact of these features on participation in daily activities. I am the lead author on the First Years Inventory (FYI), a screening tool for infants ages nine-15 months, who are at-risk for a later diagnosis of ASD. Recently, in collaboration with my PEARLS colleagues, we have developed parent-mediated interventions for this population of infants at-risk in a community sample. In 2001 my husband, Paul Frellick, and I proudly opened the Deep Dish Theater Company in Chapel Hill, and he continues to serve as its artistic director. Our son, A.J., is a wonderfully engaging and active boy who promises to keep us young. In our spare time, we enjoy traveling, visiting with friends and family, cooking, recreational sports, and the performance arts.
Courses Taught (full list of courses taught):
OCCT 727. Perspectives on Disability and Health – Pediatrics. Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, UNC-CH. (Spring, 2016).
OCSC 994. Doctoral Dissertation in Occupational Science (2010-2015, each semester). Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, UNC-CH.
SPHS 897. Interdisciplinary Autism Research Seminar. (Spring, 2015). Co-Instructor with Linda Watson. UNC-CH.
OCSC 890. Occupational Science Doctoral Seminar - Translational Research in Occupational Science: Focus on Autism. (Fall, 2007; 2009). UNC-CH.
Early Identification and intervention for children with autism and related developmental disorders; Sensory features in individuals with autism - their underlying mechanisms, development, and effects on daily activities and social participation outcomes. For more information on Dr. Baranek's research visit the SEP and PEARLS websites.
Refereed Journals – published (*students/post-docs)
Sabatos-DeVito M.,* Schipul S. E.,* Bulluck, J. C., Belger A., Baranek, G. T. (2016). Eye tracking reveals impaired attentional disengagement associated with sensory response patterns in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(4):1319-33. doi: 10.1007/s10803-015-2681-5. PMID: 26816345
Baranek, G. T., Watson, L.R., Turner-Brown, L., Field, S. H., Crais, E. R., Wakeford, L., Little, L. M.,* & Reznick, J. S. (2015). Preliminary efficacy of Adapted Responsive Teaching for infants at risk for autism spectrum disorder in a community sample. Autism Research and Treatment. doi: 10.1155/2015/386951 PMCID: PMC4306223
Donkers, F., Schipul, S.,* Baranek, G. T., Cleary, K.,* Willoughby, M., Evans, A., Bulluck, J. C., Lovmo, J. & Belger, A. (2015). Attenuated auditory event-related potentials and associations with atypical sensory response patterns in children with autism. Journal for Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(2), 506-523. doi: 10.1007/s10803-013-1948-y PMCID: PMC4556131
Dykstra Steinbrenner, J. R.,* Watson, L. R., Boyd, B. A., Wilson, K. P.,* Crais, E. R., Baranek, G. T., Flippin, M.,* & Flagler, S. (2015). Developing feasible and effective school-based interventions for children with ASD: A case study of the iterative development process. Journal of Early Intervention, 37 (1), 23-43. doi:10.1177/ 1053815115588827
Kirby, A. V.,* White, T.,* & Baranek, G. T. (2015). Caregiver strain and sensory features in children with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities. American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 120(1), 32-45. doi: 10.1352/1944-7558-120.1.32. PMCID: PMC4562396
Kirby, A. V.,* Little, L. M.,* Schultz, B., & Baranek, G. T. (2015). Observational characterization of sensory interests, repetitions, and seeking behaviors. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69, 6903220010. http://dx.doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.015081 PMID: 25871592
Kirby, A. V.,* Dickie, V. D., & Baranek, G. T. (2015). Sensory experiences of children with autism spectrum disorder: In their own words. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 19(3), 316-326. doi: 10.1177/1362361314520756 PMCID: PMC4556130
Little, L. M.,* Ausderau, K.,* Sideris, J., Baranek, G. T. (2015). Activity participation and sensory features among children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(9), 2981-2990. doi:10.1007/s10803-015-2460-3 PMID: 25975628
Patten, E., Belardi, K.,* Baranek, G. T, Watson, L. R, Labban, J. D. & Oller, D. K. (2014). Vocal patterns in infants with autism spectrum disorder: Canonical babbling status and vocalization frequency. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44, 2413-2428. doi: 10.1007/s10803014-2047-4 PMCID: PMC4117826
Crais, E. R., McComish, C., Humphreys, B. P.,* Watson, L.R., Baranek, G. T., Reznick, J. S., Christian, R., & Earls, M. (2014). Pediatric healthcare professionals’ views on autism spectrum disorder screening at 12-18 months. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44, 2311-2328. doi: 10.1007/s10803-014-2101-2 PMID: 24700359
Ausderau, K. K.,* Furlong, M,* Sideris, J, Little, L. M.,* Bulluck, J, Watson, L. R., Boyd, B.A., Belger, A., Dickie, V. A. and Baranek, G. T. (2014). Sensory subtypes in children with autism spectrum disorder: latent profile transition analysis using a national survey of sensory features. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 55(8), 935-44. doi: 10.1111/jcpp.12219 PMCID: PMC4159682
Freuler, A. C.,* Baranek, G. T., Tashjian, C., Watson, L. R., Crais, E., Turner-Brown, L. (2014). Parent Reflections of Experiences of Participating in a Randomized Controlled Trial of a Behavioral Intervention for Infants At-Risk for ASD. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 18(5), 519-528. doi: 10.1177/1362361313483928 PMID: 24104508
Ausderau, K.,* Sideris, J., Furlong, M.,* Little, L. M.,* Bulluck, J. C., & Baranek, G. T. (2014). National survey of sensory features in children with ASD: Factor structure of the Sensory Experience Questionnaire (3.0). Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(4), 915-25. doi: 10.1007/s10803-013-1945-1. PMID: 24097141 PMCID: PMC3949144
Little, L. M.,* Sideris J, Ausderau K. K.,* & Baranek G. T. (2014). Activity Participation among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68(2), 177185. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.009894 PMCID: PMC4012568
Cascio C.J., Lorenzi, J., & Baranek, G.T. (2013). Self-reported pleasantness ratings and examiner coded defensiveness in response to touch in children with ASD: Effects of stimulus material and bodily location. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Oct. 5 . [Epub ahead of print] PMCID: PMC3976859
Turner-Brown, L. M.,* Baranek, G. T., Reznick. J. S., Watson, L. R., & Crais, E. R. (2013). The First Year Inventory: A longitudinal follow-up of 12-month-old to 3-year-old children. Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice, 17, 527–540. doi: 10.1177/1362361312439633. PMCID: PMC3470769
Patten, E.*, Baranek, G.T, Watson, L., & Schultz, B. (2013). Child and family characteristics influencing intervention choices in autism spectrum disorders. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 28(3), 138-146. doi: 10.1177/1088357612468028. NIHMSID: NIHMS369850 PMCID: PMC3786162
Baranek, G. T., Watson, L. R., Boyd, B. A., Poe, M. D., David, F. J.,* & McGuire, L.* (2013). Hyporesponsiveness to social and nonsocial sensory stimuli in children with autism, children with developmental delays, and typically developing children. Development & Psychopathology, 25, 307320. doi:10.1017/S0954579412001071 PMCID: PMC3641693
Roberts, J., Long, A. C. J., McCary, L. M., Quady, A. N.,* Seigler, B. R.,* Widrick, D.,* & Baranek, G. T. (2013). Cardiovascular and behavioral responses to auditory stimuli in boys with fragile X syndrome. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 38(3), 276-84. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jss114 Epub 2012 Nov 11. PubMed PMID: 23143607; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3604823
Siller, M., Morgan, L., Turner-Brown, L., Baggett, K. M., Baranek, G.T., Brian, J., Bryson, S. E., Carter, A. S., Crais, E. R., Estes, A., Kasari, C., Landa, R. J., Lord, C., Messinger, D. S., Mundy, P., Odom, S. L., Reznick, J. S., Roberts, W. Rogers, S. J., Schertz, H. H., Smith, I. M. Stone, Watson, L. R., Wetherby, A. M., Yoder, P. J. and Zwaigenbaum, L. (2013). Designing studies to evaluate parent mediated interventions in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Early Intervention, 35, 355-377. doi: 10.1177/1053815114542507
Freuler, A.,* Baranek, G. T., Watson, L. R., Boyd, B. A., & Bulluck, J. C. (2012). Precursors and Trajectories of Sensory Features: Qualitative Analysis of Infant Home Videos. The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(5), e81-e84. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2012.004465. PMCID: PMC3428724
Cascio C. J., Moana-Filho E. J.,* Guest S., Nebel M. B.,* Weisner J.,* Baranek G. T., & Essick G.K. (2012). Perceptual and neural response to affective tactile texture stimulation in adults with autism spectrum disorders. Autism Research 5(4), 231-44. doi: 10.1002/aur.1224 PMCID: PMC3517930
Watson L. R., Roberts J. E., Baranek G.T., Mandulak K. C., & Dalton J. C. (2012). Behavioral and physiological responses to child-directed speech of children with autism spectrum disorders or typical development. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 42(8):1616-29. doi: 10.1007/s10803011-1401-z. PMID: 22071788; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3402684
Dyksta, J.,* Boyd, B. A., Watson, L. R., Crais, E. R., & Baranek, G. T. (2012). The impact of the Advancing Social-Communication and Play (ASAP) intervention on preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder. Autism: The International Journal of Research and Practice, 16, pp. 27-44. doi: 10.1177/1362361311408933 PMID: 21788256
David, F. J.,* Baranek, G. T., Wiesen, C., Miao, A.,* & Thorpe, D. E. (2013). Coordination of precision grip in 2-6 year-old children with autism spectrum disorders compared to children developing typically and children with developmental disabilities. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 6, 1-13. doi: 10.3389/fnint.2012.00122 PMCID: PMC3533230
Bagby, M.,* Dickie, V., & Baranek, G. T. (2012). How sensory experiences in children with and without autism affect family occupations. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 66(1), 78-86. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2012.000604. PMCID: PMC3324972
Watson, L. R., Patten, E.,* Baranek, G. T., Poe, M., Boyd, B. A.,* Freuler, A.,* & Lorenzi, J.* (2011). Differential associations between sensory response patterns and social-communication measures in children with autism and developmental disorders. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 54, 1562-1576. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2011/10-0029). PMCID: PMC3325756
Boyd, B. A.,* Baranek, G. T., Sideris, J., Poe, M. D., Watson, L.R., Patten, E.,* & Miller, H.* (2010). Sensory Features and Repetitive Behaviors in Children with Autism and Developmental Delays. Autism Research, 3, 78-87. PMCID: PMC3071028
Dickie, V., Baranek, G. T., McComish, C.,* Watson, L. R., & Schultz, B. (2009). Parent reports of sensory experiences of preschool children with and without autism: A qualitative study. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63(2), 172-181. PMCID: PMC2682212
Reznick, J. S., Baranek, G. T., Reavis, S.,* Watson, L. R., & Crais, E. R. (2007). A parent-report instrument for identifying one-year-olds at risk for an eventual diagnosis of autism: The First Year Inventory. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37, 1691-1710. PMID: 17180716
Baranek, G. T., Boyd, B.,* Poe, M., David, F.,* & Watson, L. (2007). Hyperresponsive sensory patterns in young children with autism, developmental delay, and typical development. American Journal of Mental Retardation, 112, 233-245. PMID: 17559291
Zwaigenbaum, L. Thurm, A. Stone, W., Baranek, G. T., Bryson, S., Iverson, J., Kau, A., Klin, A., Landa, R., Lord, C., Rogers, S., & Sigman, M. (2007). Studying the emergence of autism spectrum disorders in high risk infants: methodological and practical issues. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 37(3), 466-480. PMID: 16897376
Colgan, S.,* Lanter, E.,* McComish, C.,* Watson, L. R., Crais, E. R., & Baranek, G. T. (2006). Analysis of social interaction gestures in infants with autism. Child Neuropsychology, 12(4), 307-319. PMID: 16911975
Baranek, G. T., David, F. J,* Poe, M., Stone, W., & Watson, L. R. (2006). Sensory Experiences Questionnaire: Discriminating sensory features in young children with autism, developmental delays, and typical development. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 47(6), 591-601. PMID: 16712636