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VT Center for Autism Research

Merging science with service

through interventions, education, and research.

Photo credit: Brent Clark

Table with 3 sets of hands (clinicians and client) playing a game
Photo credit: Brent Clark

Welcome to the
Virginia Tech Autism Clinic & Center for Autism Research

where our mission is to improve the quality of life for autistic individuals and their families through intervention, education, and research directed towards effective services.



We operate as a training clinic for graduate students and research is conducted through our center.  Below is an overview of our current research efforts.

Assessments and professional development for educators:  
Develop and test the feasibility of a model for autism service provision within an academic-community partnership.  VTCAR will leverage community engaged scholarship to provide essential diagnostic assessments and build local capacity of autism knowledge in southwest Virginia counties, with a focus on the Dickenson/Wise County and city of Norton catchment areas. We have hired 2 full time postdoctoral fellows/early career psychologists.  One will be housed in Clintwood, VA and the other will work primarily remotely. They will conduct diagnostic autism assessments for school-aged children, comparing telehealth versus hybrid approaches, and also will provide virtual ECHO Autism trainings and consultations to area educators.  See the recruitment flyer below for more information.
Additional research areas:
- Development of a hybrid mentoring program for autistic STEM undergraduate students and establish a pipeline from-graduation-to-work with industry partners.
- EmotionAIze - Empathy-Driven Interactive Human-AI System for Countering Negative-Self Talk for Autistic Individuals
- Machine learning in AI to better understand collaboration between autistic and non-autistic individuals in the workplace
- Designing AI as a Mental Health Resource for Autistic Adults: Enhancing Therapeutic Approaches with Multimodal Interactions
- Piloting a Parenting Mobile App to Reduce Treatment-time for Families in Virginia
- Mobile Autism Clinic (MAC), one of our signature initiatives, which supports our work on accessible autism services for rural Virginians. 


Learn about our graduate student research.

The Virginia Tech Autism Clinic & Center for Autism Research (VTAC/CAR) PANDA Lab offers a number of opportunities for families and autistic individuals to participate in research.  If you are interested in learning more, visit the P.A.N.D.A website.



Recruiting children for autism assessments!

Beginning summer of 2024, while funding remains available, we will provide free diagnostic assessments to evaluate for autism in school-aged children 17 years of younger.  Assessments are conducted through a combination of in-person and remote meetings in Clintwood or Abingdon (at the SW Va. Higher Ed Center).  We are recruiting residents of Lee, Wise, Scott, Dickenson, Russell, Washington, Buchanan, Tazewell, Smyth, Grayson, Wythe Counties and the cities of Bristol and Norton.

To be added to our interest list, parents/caregivers email with the details below.  Write "assessment project" in the subject line.  Your first and last name, your phone numbers, your email address, child's name, child's age, county of residence.  A project member will contact you in late spring or summer with more information.
We strongly support neurodiversity and acknowledge varying preferences regarding language among self-advocates within the autism and broader community.  Please let us know your preference for identity-first (i.e., "autistic individual") or person-first language (i.e., "individual with autism/ASD") when we meet.