Linda Watson, EdD

Linda WatsonProfessor
Phone: (919) 966-9466
Fax: (919) 966-0100


  • MS, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1989
  • (Postdoc) University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 1982-1985
  • EdD, Boston University, Boston, MA 1979
  • BS, George Peabody College, Nashville, TN 1972

Personal Statement

I trace my interest in both language development and autism to experiences during my undergraduate education at George Peabody College in Nashville, TN. While working as a research assistant for The Toddler Research and Intervention Project, under the directorship of Drs. William and Diane Bricker, I discovered I was most interested in projects related to language development and intervention. In addition, I volunteered at a small residential program for children with autism, and was intrigued by the children and the challenges presented by their disorder. Pursuing my interest in language in young children with disabilities, I applied in 1973 to a newly established doctoral program at Boston University, The Program in Applied Psycholinguistics.

After my doctoral program, I returned to my native state of North Carolina. Here I had the opportunity to combine my interests in autism and language development by taking a position with TEACCH Division, a statewide program in North Carolina serving individuals with autism and their families. While with TEACCH Division, I co-authored a communication curriculum guide for classrooms serving children with autism, received a National Research Service Award for post-doctoral research on communication between parents and young children with autism, and coordinated a demonstration preschool project for children with autism funded by the U. S. Department of Education.

Seeking clinical education and credentials that would best complement my research interests, I enrolled in the Master's degree program in Speech-Language Pathology here at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and received my degree in 1989. In the fall of 1990, I returned to the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences at UNC-CH as a member of the faculty. My activities during my tenure in the Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences have included providing direct clinical services, supervising graduate students in clinical experiences, serving a term as the Speech-Language Pathology Clinic Coordinator, and teaching courses in the Masters and Ph.D. programs. I currently devote most of my time to autism research, and to mentoring students interested in research, teaching, and clinical projects related to children with autism. Further information about the research projects in which I am involved can be found at the Program in Early Autism Research, Leadership and Service (PEARLS) website

Courses Taught

  • SPHS 701 Introduction to Research Methods (Spring)
  • SPHS 897 Autism Research Seminar (Spring, alternate years)

Research/Clinical Interests

  • Early identification of children with autism
  • Social, communication, and sensory-motor development in children with autism and other disabilities
  • Communication intervention with toddlers and preschoolers with or at-risk for autism or other disabilities

Recent Publications/Presentations