Executive Director, UNC TEACCH Autism Program
UNC TEACCH Autism Program – Administration & Research
Education and Training:
BA, Human Biology, Stanford University
Ph.D., Clinical Child Psychology and Developmental Psychology, the University of Washington at Seattle
Dr. Klinger has a longstanding interest in identifying learning differences (e.g., attention, executive function, implicit learning) in ASD and how these learning differences predict outcomes across the lifespan. Identification of these types of early learning differences is critical to developing targeted mechanism-based intervention programs. More recently, her research has focused on identifying and creating service needs for individuals from young adulthood through aging. Her research in this area has focused on (1) describing service needs for adults with ASD particularly identifying needs associated with the more than 50% of adults with ASD living at home with caregivers; (2) identifying predictors of adult outcomes including a focus on the role that daily living skills (adaptive behavior) plays in predicting employment and quality of life outcomes; (3) developing targeted interventions for adolescents and young adults with ASD that target learning and emotion regulation challenges including conducting a randomized clinical trial across North Carolina community colleges; and (4) describing the needs of older adults with ASD including concerns about possible early-onset dementia/cognitive decline. As the Executive Director of the UNC TEACCH Autism Program, Dr. Klinger is also committed to community-based care and methods to support the implementation of evidence-based practices in rural settings including dissemination to rural mental health and rural medical providers. TEACCH is currently assessing the effectiveness of a provider teleconsultation program (Project ECHO) with rural primary care providers across Eastern North Carolina.