Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute

Bank of America

CAPRI.pngThe Child and Adolescent Policy Research Institute (CAPRI) at The University of Texas at San Antonio is a university-wide research institute established in 2005 that supports the study of topics such as infant cognition and language development, early literacy, juvenile justice, child abuse prevention, foster care youth, pediatric obesity prevention, early childhood education, school readiness, and dropout prevention. The institute fosters cross-disciplinary collaborations within the university and with research partners from the community and translates research results into policy recommendations.


  • Address community child and adolescent development concerns.
  • Increase the visibility of UTSA in the national research community through scholarly, scientific investigations of high caliber and national repute.
  • Provide administrative support that promotes collaboration for research across disciplines and fields of study related to child and adolescent development.
  • Involve graduate and undergraduate students in a progression of increasingly complex cross-disciplinary research training and community-based activities.
  • Attract external funding from public and private sources to initiate and sustain large-scale research projects and support the initiation of students into the research community.

Key Areas of Research

  • Human Behavior
  • STEM Education
  • Math Education
  • Autism Behavior
  • Bilingual + Bicultural
  • Community Partners + Outreach

EDP_Leslie_Neely.pngDr. Leslie Neely

Dr. Leslie Neely, BCBA-D, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is the Coordinator for the UTSA Behavior Analysis Program ( and Director for the Child and Adolescent Policy and Research Institute ( Dr. Neely earned a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from UT-Austin and a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology (emphasis in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis) from Texas A&M University. Dr. Neely received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology in 2015 from Texas A&M University where she trained in the use of applied behavior analysis (ABA) for the treatment of severe and self-injurious behavior in individuals with autism, intellectual, and developmental disabilities (AUIDD).

Dr. Neely’s research focuses on progressing the treatment of problem behavior for individuals with AUIDD using the science of ABA. She advances the science through (1) investigation of novel technological applications such as telehealth, artificial intelligence, and virtual/augmentative reality in the assessment and treatment process, and (2) development of pre-emptive interventions for infants and toddlers aimed at preventing progression of symptomology. She engages local and international transdisciplinary teams in her work including computer scientists, engineers, special educators, neurologists, developmental pediatricians, and community leaders to tackle research questions with multiple levels of analysis.

She is currently PI for Project PLAAY (Parent-Led Autism treatment for At-risk Young infants and toddlers). Project PLAAY ( aims to identify infants and toddlers at high-risk for developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and create a radical, innovative parent-assisted treatment program for infants as young as 6 months. 

ILTCrystal-Kalinec-Craig.pngDr. Crystal Kalinec-Craig

Dr. Crystal Kalinec-Craig is an assistant professor of Curriculum and Instruction in Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching department at the University of Texas at San Antonio. While teaching undergraduate elementary mathematics methods courses and graduate courses about curriculum and instruction, her research interests focus on supporting teachers to recognize children's mathematical resources (including cultural and linguistic) and to incorporate group worthy tasks that leverage children's funds of knowledge.






Cheryl Lange

Financial Advisor


Ryan Culbertson

Grant Coordinator


Katie Cantrell

Special Research Associate


Leslie Neely

  • Parent-Led Autism Treatment for At-Risk Infants and Toddlers: Project PLAAY is working on developing and testing a pre-emptive intervention for infants and toddlers at-risk for autism.
  • Telehealth and Technology Lab; This lab encompasses the Brief Outpatient Autism Treatment Project (BOAT), Quantum AI Treatment Model, and the Pyramidal Telehealth Treatment Project. These projects aim to innovate the delivery of behavior analytic services for individuals with autism.

Derek Robertson

  • Mass Violence Coordinated Response: MVCR aims to continue serving the community and individuals affected by the shooting at Sutherland Springs.

Becky Huang

  • Language Learning and Assessment Lab: The LLA lab is devoted to investigating language/ literacy development and assessment for bilingual learners, specifically language minority children and adolescents

Emily Bonner

Guan Saw

  • Innovative and Inclusive STEM Lab: iSTEM aims to develop novel research and evaluation approaches for studying and supporting policies/programs/practices aimed at increasing participation in STEM.


Contact Us

Downtown Campus
Monterey Building, Suite 2.260
T: (210) 458-2849
F: (210) 458-2569
Dr. Leslie Neely

College of Education and Human Development
Main Building | One UTSA Circle | San Antonio, TX 78249
Phone: 210-458-4370 |