Autism Cluster | The University of Alabama


Autism is a pervasive complex disorder and to really understand
autism, to study its life course and to treat it effectively, you need an inner disciplinary lens so no one person or one specialist can really understand all
the complexities of autism, it requires a village. – A autism cluster is
multidisciplinary team of researchers who are focused on
providing best practices in terms of interventions, diagnoses and other aspects of autism that are important to both
better understanding it and better providing helpful
services and treatments for children and their families. – The autism cluster is
a group of researchers that are focused on different
aspects of understanding what autism is and how to
assist those on the spectrum and their families in
integrating into the society and what are the biological basis of this exchange of information between the human brain
and the environment, how we can bring the two together better. – Well, the autism cluster
is an new initiative at the University of Alabama and the purpose of it is to
bring together researchers from multiple departments and
colleges across the university to really approach autism
research from various angles instead of research being
siloed in one department, we wanna bring together people to work on
interdisciplinary collaborations. – It’s really a grass roots initiative so we work with people
within psychology, clinical, educational, experimental, here we also have
collaborators in education. We work with communication,
social media, you name it, it’s really, we have found
the most effective way to study this very complex
developmental disorder. – Each one of us has an area of expertise, something that each person is good at. When we combine different
areas of expertise, suddenly projects that
have been impossible before become possible. – With more experts on campus, we’re able to hopefully provide more services to the community and I think that will allow
more and more families to get the diagnostic
services that they’re needing as well as innovation services
either through the clinic or through some of the research projects that we have going on. – I think it’ll be a great
resource for the people in the Tuscaloosa community as well as the west Alabama area at large, especially in the rural areas, when you don’t have a lot of services, so I think that cluster can
play an important role there. – I think this is such a
powerful, important team of collaborators and colleagues. I think that we have an
important responsibility, both in meeting the needs
here locally at the university in terms of research
and service provision, but also in improving accessibility to all the rural communities
surrounding Alabama. – This is an incredibly
underserved area of the country. There are many families who do not have access to
high-quality assessment and intervention services. And first and foremost, we
wanna partner with a community to provide the best services, the most empirically supported
services we possibly can. – [Ted] I think the primary goal is to put UA on the map in
the world of autism research and to promote very high-quality research and services for the community. – I believe at the flagship
university that we should and now do have the
premier team of researchers and service providers to meet the needs of
individuals who have autism and their families in
the state of Alabama.

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