Current research at TEACCH® Autism Program includes:

Long-term Adult Outcomes

We are interested in learning about adult outcomes and current needs for individuals served by TEACCH between 1965 -2000.

NEWS: Autism Speaks Awards $450,000 Research Grant to TEACCH Autism Program

ASD in Mid-Adulthood: A  40 Year Follow-Up of Individuals Served by the University of North Carolina TEACCH Autism Program

Laura Klinger, Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina, will conduct a landmark 40-year follow-up study of individuals served by the TEACCH Autism Program. This represents a unique opportunity to study outcomes in middle-aged adults with ASD.

“As the numbers of children diagnosed with ASD increase, there is a growing concern that the resulting increase in adults diagnosed with ASD will overwhelm our current educational, employment, and residential support programs.  However, little is known about the long-term outcome and needs of middle age and older adults with ASD.  We simply don’t know whether the quality of life improves, declines, or plateaus for individuals with ASD who are past the transition to adulthood years.  Additionally, little is known about how symptoms change from childhood to mid-adulthood and what factors predict adult outcome.  This is a relatively unchartered research field.

The purpose of the proposed study is to conduct a longitudinal study examining adult outcome in middle-aged adults with ASD who were diagnosed during childhood by the University of North Carolina TEACCH Autism Program.  Approximately 7,000 children with ASD were served between 1965 and 2000 and are now adults.  The goal of this study is to survey 400 of these adults and their caregivers. The data generated from this research has the potential to make a significant impact on legislative and community service agency decisions that affect adults with ASD.”, as stated by Laura Klinger, Ph.D. read more

Anxiety Treatment

TEACCH is conducting an intervention study aimed at reducing anxiety in 8-14 year olds with ASD

The research team at TEACCH is excited to explore different strategies and treatments that may be beneficial to our TEACCH clients. We have noticed that many of our clients come to the clinic with anxiety and we want to learn about new treatments that may be helpful for these individuals. As a result, TEACCH has partnered with Judy Reaven at the University of Colorado, Denver on a National Institute of Health funded project called “Fighting Worries and Facing Your Fears.” This project provides group intervention for children between the ages 8-14 with high functioning ASD, anxiety symptoms, and their parents. We have completed two groups and have started a third group as part of this project.

In 2013 and 2014, we will have five additional groups to help our families. Our research team and TEACCH therapists are having a great time working with all the families from squashing worry bugs to making movies. We are very excited to partner with our friends in Denver and feel honored be a part of this large-scale intervention project. TEACCH is an ideal place for treatment outcome research and we are eager to continue this intervention research in the future. Stay tuned to hear about the results! If you are interested in hearing more about this project please contact Allison Meyer at This research project is available at Chapel Hill, NC.

Learning and Attention Research

In order to create new intervention programs, TEACCH needs to learn more about how people with ASD learn. Allison Meyer, a clinical psychology graduate student at TEACCH, is studying how children with ASD learn new categories – she is using exciting eye tracking techniques to see where children are looking when they are learning. Patrick Powell, a psychology graduate student at TEACCH, is studying whether children with ASD have trouble learning things automatically or whether it takes more effort for them to learn.

Research Contacts

Mark Klinger, Director of Research

Allison Meyer, Graduate Research Assistant

Patrick Powell, Graduate Research Assistant

Joanna Mussey, Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Sarah Carlisle, Research Assistant/Coordinator

For more information:
Call 919-962-3303 or email:

We are currently recruiting...

Were you one of the first families to come to TEACCH® in the 1960s, 70s, 80s, and 90s? Click here

The Research Team at the UNC TEACCH Autism Program wants to hear from you! One of the missions of TEACCH is to provide services to a growing population of adults with autism.  In order to achieve this goal, we first need to know the challenges faced by adults with autism and the services and supports that are needed.  If you’re interested in learning more about this research study, click here or contact the study coordinator, Sarah Carlisle, at: or 919-962-3303.