Autism Resources

Recognizing that the prevalence rate of autism spectrum disorders is increasing, the Institute's Indiana Resource Center for Autism and other Centers engage in work that leads to improved quality of life for individuals on the spectrum and their families. Specifically, work is focused on goals in early detection and diagnosis, effective early childhood and school-age programs that utilize evidence-based practices, transition across grade levels and across stages of life, post-secondary opportunities, community employment and living options, and family support.

Researchers, faculty, and organizations across Indiana University are committed to understanding and teaching about autism. A group of these individuals come together periodically to connect regarding research.

Technology-Based Interventions for Students with Autism Study

Call for Participants

Led by Dr. Sarah Hurwitz of Indiana University, this study is creating a robot-based curriculum for students with autism in Indiana elementary schools. Fifteen schools will be recruited and trained on how to implement the robot-based intervention so that the researchers can learn from school staff's experiences of barriers and benefits to students with autism.

Learn more about the project

Jim Ansaldo, Ph.D.


Dr. Ansaldo is an Assistant Research Scholar for the Center on Education and Lifelong Learning at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, where he studies the use of applied improvisation to strengthen social communicative competence and mental health outcomes for youth with ASD. He focuses his ASD work on applied improvisation, social skills, and mental health.

Janet R. Decker, J.D., Ph.D.


Dr. Decker is in Educational Leadership & Policy Studies at the Indiana University School of Education, where she researches legal and policy issues related to students with autism. Her publications have focused on autism charter schools, ABA litigation, restraint and seclusion, voucher programs, and implications for students with autism post-Endrew v. Douglas Co. She focuses her ASD work on special education law, autism and ABA litigation, and autism charter schools and voucher programs.

Sarah Hurwitz, Ph.D.


Dr. Hurwitz is an Assistant Professor in Special Education at the Indiana University School of Education, where her research focus in on designing interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In particular, she is interested in improving student’s social interaction skills, developing their conversational language, understanding how they are best served by schools, and finding behavioral interventions that really work. She focuses her ASD work on social skills, behavioral interventions, and schools.

Dan Kennedy, Ph.D.


Dr. Kennedy is a researcher in Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, where his research uses functional neuroimaging and eye tracking technology to examine the neural, cognitive, and behavioral bases of ASD across development. He focuses his ASD work on social neuroscience, fMRI, and eye tracking.

Jane McLeod, Ph.D.


Dr. McLeod is faculty in Sociology at Indiana University, where her research analyzes the experiences of college students on the autism spectrum as they compare to their neurotypical peers and as they vary by socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and gender. She focuses her ASD work on the transition to adulthood and on college.

Derek Nord, Ph.D.


Dr. Nord is the Director of the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, where he studies and advocates for full inclusion of people with ASD in employment and other community settings. He focuses his work and research on ASD on employment, community living, and social membership.

Cathy Pratt, Ph.D., BCBA-D


Dr. Pratt is the Center Director of the Indiana Resource Center for Autism at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community, where she leads IRCA, a statewide program, to build local capacity for families and professionals to address the needs of individuals on the autism spectrum across the lifespan. She focuses her work and research on disability policy, family support, and positive behavior supports.

Hannah Schertz, Ph.D.


Dr. Schertz is faculty in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the Indiana University School of Education, where her research related to parent-mediated intervention to promote pre-verbal social communication for toddlers with autism using mediated learning principles and coordinate the Preparing Educators for Students with Autism (PESA) graduate certificate program. She focuses her ASD work on early Intervention, parent-mediated learning, and pre-verbal social communication.