Our research focuses on community dissemination and implementation of the intervention and professional development programs dedicated to improving the quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Our research team is composed of an interdisciplinary group of researchers (faculty, postdoctoral fellows, clinical psychology interns, and clinical psychology graduate students) from the School of Medicine and the Department of Psychology and Neurosciences.
TEACCH School Transition to Employment and Post Secondary Education Program
The TEACCH® School Transition to Employment and Postsecondary Education Program (T-STEP) is a community college-based intervention developed to support the transition to employment and post-secondary education for 16 to 21-year-olds with Autism Spectrum Disorder who will or have received the Future-Ready Core high school diploma. The T-STEP is a 12-week intervention that includes a didactic course on the community college campus targeting executive function, emotion regulation, and social communication skills. Additionally, students practice these skills on a weekly basis at a volunteer internship site. Students also receive individual career counseling, higher education counseling, and self-advocacy counseling.
We are conducting a federally-funded randomized controlled trial to assess the efficacy of the T-STEP program. This project (funded by the Department of Defense) compares the efficacy of the comprehensive T-STEP program (course, internship, and counseling) to a less intensive program including services typically available on a college campus. This is a 4-year study with 120 participants. This research study is currently recruiting for Spring 2022 T-STEP in-person at Guilford Community College and in-person at Johnston Community College. View Flyer here
For more information, contact the TSTEP team at 919-966-4684 or TEACCH_Research@med.unc.edu
Long-term Adult Outcomes
We are following a group of 300 30 to 50-year-old adults with ASD who were seen at TEACCH as children. We are looking at developmental trajectories across the lifespan and are also looking at the needs of adults with ASD. We are currently recontacting families to (1) examine employment and residential status for 30-60-year-old adults; (2) identify predictors of adult outcome (employment and residential status) across a 5 year time period, and to pilot a caregiver survey assessing cognitive decline/dementia in a subset of this population to examine aging with autism. We are also studying community integration through the use of GPS trackers.
Second Generation Study
Project ECHO Autism
Through ongoing funding from NC Council on Developmental Disabilities (NCCDD), the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the NC Area Health Education Centers (AHEC), TEACCH is implementing and collecting data on a teleconsultation model (Project ECHO) to support primary care medical and mental health providers in rural North Carolina. Our goal is to improve healthcare for individuals with ASD across the lifespan. To date, we have reached 92 providers in 20 counties. We are currently conducting a follow-up study of the first 5 cohorts of providers and recruiting for two additional cohorts. Learn More
For more information regarding UNC TEACCH Autism Program Research, please contact Elena Lamarche at email@example.com