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COEHD launches Autism Research Center

by Jo Ann Jones, COEHD    |    May 08, 2017

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The UTSA College of Education and Human Development recently launched and reopened the TEAM Autism Research Center, formerly known as the TEAM Center, as the college’s newest Organized Research Unit in late April.


“The TEAM Autism Research Center is the second COEHD center to achieve Organized Research Unit status in as many years,” said Dr. Lee Mason, director of the center and associate professor of special education. “We’re part of a growing trend to increase the amount and quality of research coming out of the college.”


Currently, the TEAM Autism Research Center provides low-cost Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) services to the San Antonio community and serves as a learning lab for future special educators, Board Certified Behavior Analysts, and educational psychologists. This new designation will expand the research and funding opportunities in the center for graduate students and faculty across the college.


“We plan to continue our mission of offering free and reduced-cost ABA services to the local community, but our new designation has been the impetus for further expansion,” said Mason. “This is an exciting time to be part of the College of Education and Human Development as we’re creating innovative opportunities for our students each and every semester.”


The reclassification was inspired by the daily activities of the center that, in addition to the behavior-analysis services, included data collection and analysis on the effectiveness of their services. Over the last four years of operation, the center, Mason said, has collected a substantial amount of data.


“If we were to cease our service and training efforts today, it would take us another two or three years to finish analyzing and sharing the data we’ve accumulated to date,” said Mason. “We have some very talented interdisciplinary learning and teaching doctoral students who will be assisting with data collection and analysis, as well as supervision of our masters and undergraduate students.”


The TEAM Autism Research Center, then known as the TEAM Center, was established by Mason in 2013. For the last four years, the center has operated in the basement of the Durango Building at the Downtown Campus and has served up to eight children with autism spectrum disorder each semester.


This fall, the center plans to add a feeding lab for children with autism who have challenges with eating as well as an assistive technology lab that Mason is hoping will make an even larger impact on the autism community.


“We’re proud to be here for anyone interested in learning about effective instruction for students with autism or conducting autism-related research,” said Mason. “The students who volunteer their time in the TEAM Autism Research Center continue to do great things for the autism community, and we want the rest of the world to know about it.”


Learn more about the TEAM Autism Research Center.



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