The Kelly O'Leary Center (TKOC) has been a member of the Autism Speaks-Autism Treatment Network (AS- ATN) since 2008. The AS-ATN is a network of autism programs in North America, dedicated to improving the diagnosis and ongoing medical treatment of children with ASD and providing families with state–of–the–art, multidisciplinary care. TKOC has enrolled over 600 children diagnosed with ASD into a national AS-ATN registry, and has participated in a number of research projects as part of the AS-ATN, including a study on the nutritional status of children with ASD.

Through innovation and collaboration, our researchers at TKOC are learning more about autism’s complexities. Their findings are helping us learn how to support more individuals living with autism.

Areas of study include:

  • Identifying daily living skills deficits and then developing an intervention to target acquisition of critical daily living skills in adolescents with ASD in the high school setting
  • Shared decision-making for choosing medications for children with ASD
  • Screening and diagnosis of children who are hard of hearing for autism
  • Studying bullying and other peer experiences of adolescents with ASD and the effects of these experiences on their well-being and internalizing symptoms with an effect on their well-being and adjustment. Investigators are currently in the process of developing a web- based anti-bullying curriculum for adolescents with ASD.
  • Collaboration with Project SEARCH, New York Collaborates for Autism, and the University of North Carolina TEACCH program to develop and evaluate autism augmentation package for young adults with ASD who participate in Project SEARCH
  • Collaboration with University Of Cincinnati Transition and Access Program (UCTAP) on research projects addressing skills such as academics, independent living, employment and socialization

TKOC Collaborations:

TKOC collaborates with Dr. Craig Erickson from the Division of Child Psychiatry, on a variety of research studies. The goal of the Erickson Research Lab is to advance the field of knowledge of the causes and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Current projects focus on the investigation of the management of behavioral symptoms of ASD, as well as the identification of biomarkers that would help to develop targeted treatments.

Our investigators are also interested in understanding the causes of ASD. This includes efforts to identify subgroups of persons with ASD that may be most appropriate for specific future interventions. We participate in a project focused on cognitive behavioral therapy and novel approaches to the treatment of social impairment and communication in children with autism.

To improve the quality of studies in this field, we are working to develop outcome measures for use in ASD treatment trials. Our current quantitative outcome measure development is focused on expressive language sampling and use of a new social preference eye tracking procedure.

If you are interested in learning more about the research opportunities available, you can contact: Research Coordinator at or 513-636-0523.