Autism Research Seminar
Linda Watson, Ed.D., Associate Professor, Division of Speech & Hearing Sciences
This graduate seminar focuses on research in autism, and is directed to students who plan careers in behavioral or biobehavioral research in autism. The first part of the course focuses on readings and discussions related to psychological/neuropsychological theories of autism, including ones related to theory of mind, executive functioning, weak central coherence, intersubjectivity, and sensory processing. In the second part of the course, participants examine some of the common methodological challenges in autism research and varied approaches to addressing those challenges. The content of the latter part of the course is driven by the participants' specific interests related to autism research. Each participant works individually or in collaboration with other seminar participants to develop an autism research project. Participants rotate in assigning readings, presenting, and leading discussions for the latter part of the course. The instructors, participants, and guest discussants provide input to assist in the conceptual and methodological development of the autism research projects undertaken as part of the course.
Translational Research: Focusing on Autism Spectrum Disorders
Grace Baranek, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA, Professor, Division of Occupational Science
Translational research is the new “buzzword,” but what does it mean and how do we apply it? What are the translational research needs confronting our society? This doctoral seminar will explore the form, function, and meaning of translational research using autism spectrum disorders as the case in point. Readings from a broad range of interdisciplinary research (e.g., occupational science, psychology, education, speech-language, medicine, sociology, etc.) will be utilized to critically analyze various scientific approaches to translational research and to explore how those approaches may inform clinical practices, health care, policy development, educational models, and social participation for individuals with autism across the lifespan. Discussions will challenge students to step beyond “evidence-based practice” in order to address dynamic interfaces of theory, scientific knowledge, and practice applications more broadly. Rich resources from our existing scientific and clinical communities in the field of autism will be invaluable to this process. The seminar will culminate in a translational research project that may take the form of a grant proposal, intervention study, or meta-analysis, for example, in order to synthesize and apply the knowledge learned.