A photo of Rebecca Shaffer.

Rebecca C. Shaffer, PsyD, HSPP

  • Clinical Psychologist, Division of Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology
  • Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



My biggest passion is seeing children with neurobehavioral disorders learn and grow through treatment. It is exciting when these children can engage in new activities or friendships based on the skills they learn, particularly when they learn to regulate their emotions and behaviors.

My research career has been dedicated to the treatment and research of neurobehavioral disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), fragile X syndrome and Angelman syndrome. It is a pleasure for me to serve these children and their families.

My current career path began in general child psychology, but I became focused on neurobehavioral disorders during my fellowship and first faculty position at Indiana University (IU) School of Medicine. After my time at IU, I joined Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the Kelly O’Leary Autism Center. Currently, I serve as an associate professor of pediatrics with an affiliated appointment at the University of Cincinnati.

I have a commitment to training future leaders in neurobehavioral care. As the director of psychological services for the Cincinnati Fragile X Center, I oversee the assessment and treatment of individuals with fragile X syndrome. I also lead or assist with several fragile X research studies focused on parent training, outcome measurement and medication trials.

Emotional regulation is an area of need, especially in children with ASD. It is my strongest area of interest. Difficulties in emotional regulation make it hard for children to fully enjoy life and can place a huge burden on their families. My team has created an emotion regulation treatment program for children with ASD called Regulating Together.

Regulating Together treats emotion dysregulation, especially with reactivity and irritability, in a group setting with concurrent caregiver training. I currently lead several research studies, as well as publications, focused on the development and efficacy of this program. I also serve as the primary investigator of the Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research (SPARK) study at Cincinnati Children’s and other ASD-specific studies.

BS: Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, IN.

MA: Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, PA.

PsyD: Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, PA.

Internship: Youth Opportunity Center, Muncie, IN.

Fellowship: Indiana University School of Medicine, Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN.


Autism spectrum disorders; fragile X; Angelman syndrome; parent training; social skills training; applied behavioral analysis

Services and Specialties

Behavioral Medicine and Clinical Psychology


Eye tracking; autism spectrum disorders; fragile X; Angelman syndrome; parent training; social skills training; applied behavioral analysis.

Research Areas

Behavioral Medicine

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Reliability of resting-state electrophysiology in fragile X syndrome. Liu, R; Pedapati, EV; Schmitt, LM; Shaffer, RC; Smith, EG; Dominick, KC; DeStefano, LA; Westerkamp, G; Horn, P; Sweeney, JA; et al. Biomarkers in Neuropsychiatry. 2023; 9:100070.

53.1 Regulating Together Intensive Outpatient Program: A Unique, Comprehensive Group Treatment Intervention for Children with ASD and Emotion Dysregulation and Their Caregivers. Shaffer, R. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2023; 62:s78-s79.

Developing improved outcome measures in FXS: Key stakeholder feedback. Kang, S; Jones, A; Shaffer, RC; Erickson, CA; Schmitt, LM. Research in Developmental Disabilities. 2023; 137:104502.

Regulating Together: Emotion Dysregulation Group Treatment for ASD Youth and Their Caregivers. Shaffer, RC; Schmitt, LM; Reisinger, DL; Coffman, M; Horn, P; Goodwin, MS; Mazefsky, C; Randall, S; Erickson, C. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2023; 53:1942-1962.

Systematic Review: Emotion Dysregulation in Syndromic Causes of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Shaffer, RC; Reisinger, DL; Schmitt, LM; Lamy, M; Dominick, KC; Smith, EG; Coffman, MC; Esbensen, AJ. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2023; 62:518-557.

Behavioral inflexibility in fragile X syndrome: Accounts from caregivers and self-advocates. Jones, A; Kang, S; Shaffer, RC; Erickson, CA; Schmitt, LM. Frontiers in Psychology. 2023; 14:1118652.

Brief Report: Telehealth Satisfaction Among Caregivers of Pediatric and Adult Psychology and Psychiatry Patients with Intellectual and Developmental Disability in the Wake of Covid-19. Rosen, V; Blank, E; Lampert, E; Dominick, K; Will, M; Erickson, C; Pedapati, E; Lamy, M; Shaffer, R. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2022; 52:5253-5265.

Incorporation of Telepsychiatry for Patients with Developmental Disorders into Routine Clinical Practice-A Survey of Specialty Clinics Adapting to Telepsychiatry During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Verma, S; Vandana, P; Soda, T; Koth, KA; Aguayo, P; Shaffer, RC; Hellings, J; Muhle, RA. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 2022; 52:5280-5284.

Social communication in fragile X syndrome: pilot examination of the Brief Observation of Social Communication Change (BOSCC). Shaffer, R; Thurman, AJ; Ronco, L; Cadavid, D; Raines, S; Kim, SH. Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. 2022; 14:4.

Neocortical localization and thalamocortical modulation of neuronal hyperexcitability contribute to Fragile X Syndrome. Pedapati, EV; Schmitt, LM; Ethridge, LE; Miyakoshi, M; Sweeney, JA; Liu, R; Smith, E; Shaffer, RC; Dominick, KC; Gilbert, DL; et al. Communications Biology. 2022; 5:442.

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