Research

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The UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center conducts research and seeks major federal research grants and other funding to conduct scientific investigations of "what works” in autism intervention and treatment.

CONDUCT RESEARCH

If you are interested in conducting research at the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center, please review the UNT Institutional Review Board website and complete the Research Participation Request Form. In order to conduct research at the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center, researchers and data collectors must complete a criminal background check, HIPAA training, and sexual abuse training. Please contact Executive Director, Dr. Kevin Callahan, for more information regarding how to conduct research at the KFAC.

PARTICIPATE IN RESEARCH

If you are interested in participating in a research study that is being conducted at the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center, please contact Executive Director, Dr. Kevin Callahan,for more information. 

UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center Grant Proposals

National Science Foundation (NSF) – Research in Disabilities Education (RDE) Grant

The (RDE)-program advances the goal of extending the participation of college students with disabilities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) degree programs. Key members of the Autism Center and UNT faculty recently submitted a grant proposal in order to conduct research and develop a program which will enhance the participation, retention and graduation rates of UNT’s growing number of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The program, if funded, will feature a variety of evidence-based practices and supports, including ongoing workshops and seminars in social skills, self-management, study skills, career and professional development, self-advocacy, and research/presentation skills throughout students’ first and final years at UNT. The program will also include on-line supports to enable 24/7 access by participants to mentors, instructors, and peer coaches.

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Kevin Callahan, Executive Director of the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center, in collaboration with Dr. Smita Mehta, UNT Autism Intervention Program, and Drs. Nicoleta Bugnariu and Yasser Salem at the UNT Health Science Center, is currently seeking an R15 Grant from NIH. The goal of this grant is to investigate potential bio-markers using the CAREN (Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment) system. CAREN is a hardware and software program designed to create an environment that has the potential to enhance the rehabilitation outcomes for a variety of patients with disabilities. This proposal, if funded, will attempt to determine the ability to identify specific motor behaviors which could indicate a child’s increased likelihood of being diagnosed with autism.

U.S. Department of Education - Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) – Master’s Degree Personnel Preparation Grant

Dr. Smita Mehta, UNT Autism Intervention Program, in collaboration with Drs. Miriam Boesch and Kevin Callahan, is seeking funding from the Office of Special Education Programs within the U.S. Department of Education to fund a Master’s Degree program that will train highly-qualified special educators to work with students with ASD in high-need schools and school districts. The UNT Autism Center will play a key role by providing high-quality field experiences for some of the students who will be funded by this grant.

Current Autism Research

The United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recently released new statistics related to autism and ASD. According to data released by the CDC in March, 2012, about 1 in 88 children will be identified with an ASD, including approximately 1 in 54 boys and 1 in 252 girls. This number has been increasing steadily since 2000, when the prevalence of ASD was found to be about 1 in 150 children. The Center for Disease Control website is an excellent source for new and relevant information related to autism and ASD.

The Schafer Autism Report (SAR)

The Schafer Autism Report is a non-profit and non-commercial source for the promotion of autism awareness. Produced entirely by volunteers, the mission of this monthly report is to increase autism awareness and education in an effort to share information about effective treatments and interventions for ASD. The report, which can be delivered free or for a small donation to your e-mail address, includes up-to-date research regarding autism and ASD, implications for families, children, and educators, recent news related to autism, and a list of autism related events throughout the country. The Schafer Autism Report website is an invaluable source of current information and resources.

Promoting Evidence-Based Practices in Autism Research

The National Autism Center (NAC) 

The National Autism Center, an affiliate of the award-winning nonprofit organization May Institute, focuses on the promotion of evidence-based practices. The NAC is dedicated to serving children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders by providing information, promoting best practices, and offering comprehensive resources to families, professionals, and communities. In 2009, the NAC completed an unprecedented project, the National Standards Project, in an effort to establish a standard set of effective, research-based educational and behavioral interventions for children on the autism spectrum. The results of this project, outlined in the National Standards Report, provide a single, authoritative source of guidance for parents, caregivers, educators, and service providers as they develop intervention plans and strategies. 

The National Professional Development Center (NPDC)

The National Professional Development Center is a multi-university center promoting the use of evidence-based practices for children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The NPDC operates through the FPG Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the M.I.N.D. Institute at the University of California at Davis Medical School, and the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Three states are selected each year for a two-year partnership with the NPDC in order to provide professional development to teachers and practitioners who serve individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Evidence-Based Practices - the National Autism Center and the National Professional Development Center

In 2007, the National Professional Development Center received funding to promote the use of evidence-based practices in programs for children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their families. During this time the National Autism Center was working on the National Standards Project, also in an effort to promote the use of evidence-based practices. The results of this simultaneous research between the NAC and the NPDC led to the development of a detailed comparison table, identifying the similarities and differences between the results of the two projects.