Autism: Waisman Center Activities

Boy With ASDThe Waisman Center is committed to solving the autism puzzle and providing high-quality services to children and adults with autism and their families.

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that impairs social interaction, communication, and behavior. It affects approximately one out of every 54 children.

The scope of the Waisman Center’s autism-related activities continues to expand as we actively pursue research into the causes, consequences and treatments of this complex disorder.

We are uniquely positioned to make major advances in the understanding of autism through our multidisciplinary approach and expertise in effectively combining research, training, service, and outreach programs under one roof.

Waisman Autism News

  • Inside Waisman: Meet Lindsay McCary

    As a third year graduate student in school psychology at the University of South Carolina, Lindsay McCary, PhD, was looking for a new advisor to help her with her dissertation. At the time, Jane Roberts, PhD, had just joined the Department of Psychology and had some data available on younger children with the genetic disorder fragile X syndrome (FXS). McCary was immediately fascinated by the new professor’s research because it integrated both behavioral and physiological data to examine an individual’s observable characteristics.

  • The ECHO Effect

    Project ECHO (the mantra for which is “All teach, all learn”) uses video-conferencing technology to provide education and case consultation on best practice clinical services, training, and resources for individuals with specific healthcare needs that are difficult to meet locally. The Waisman Center ECHO platform will serve as a diagnostic and treatment training hub to share the center’s expertise on intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy, throughout the state and beyond.

  • Balancing act: what motor function can tell us about autism

    Can the way a person moves be a key identifier of autism? It’s a question that Waisman Center investigator Brittany Travers, PhD, is trying to answer. A new paper from Travers’ lab suggests that movement patterns of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may differ from those with typical development.

  • The Social Brain: A Beautiful Mind

    What images come to mind when you hear the phrase social brain? Do you think of children running around on a playground laughing together? Do you think of problem solving or imagine colorful brain scans? Do you think of autism? These are the questions that inspired a breadth of autism research that was recently evaluated by a team of Waisman scientists and compiled into a new literature review.

  • For Caregivers Of Children With Autism, COVID-19 Conditions Can Present Extra Challenges

    It’s hard to think of an aspect of life that hasn't changed since the novel coronavirus began spreading across the globe. Many aspects of life — from work, to school, to travel, shopping and socializing — are dramatically different than they were just a few months ago.

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Autism Studies Currently Recruiting

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Resources & Services

Clinical Services and Supports 608.263.3301; Children with Down syndrome are seen in the Waisman Center Genetics Clinic for diagnosis and in the Waisman Center Down Syndrome Clinic for medical management in the areas of feeding, growth, development, communication, behavior, hearing, therapy and support services.

Research Participation 800.965.9205; 608.263.5192;
The Waisman Center’s Research Registry links individuals and families to research projects at the Waisman Center. The Waisman Center maintains a confidential registry of families and individuals who would like to be contacted about upcoming research projects. Enrollment in the Research Registry does not obligate an individual or family to participate in any study.

Waisman Resource Center 800.532.321; 800.265.8610;
The Waisman Resource Center provides free and confidential information and assistance to families and care providers of children with special health care needs. The Waisman Resource Center is staffed full time by a team of professionals in the fields of social work and education, and with experience in a variety of disability-related areas.
Advancing knowledge about human development, developmental disabilities and neurodegenerative diseases

Community Outreach for Children with Challenging Behaviors 608.265.9438;
Community Training, Intervention and Evaluations Services (TIES) is an outreach program for children and adults with developmental disabilities who present various challenging behaviors, including withdrawal, aggression and self-injury. The mission of Community TIES is to address behavioral, psychological, and emotional needs using therapeutic approaches that insure continued participation in the community. TIES provides counseling, crisis response, psychiatric consultation, parent education and support, and training for personnel and program consultation in local human service agencies. Directed by Josh Lapin, MSW, and funded by Dane County, this program maintains an active caseload of approximately 250 children and adults in Dane County.