We are experts in the transition to adulthood, autism research, and social, academic, and vocational experiences. We think deeply and creatively about how to improve the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum.
Julie Lounds Taylor, PhD is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and an Investigator at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development. Dr. Taylor is an international leader in the study of how to improve the transition to adulthood and adult outcomes for individuals on the autism spectrum. With over 70 peer-reviewed publications, she has made important discoveries about the challenges faced by many individuals on the autism spectrum after leaving high school, and the importance of engaging in meaningful work for positive behavioral development. After observing the difficulties families were experiencing in accessing adult disability services, Dr. Taylor and her colleagues developed a program to support families in navigating adult service systems, which she is currently testing in a clinical trial in three states in the U.S. She provides expertise in transition and adult-related issues to federal autism committees and initiatives, and is currently co-leading a national working group on health and mental health for individuals on the autism spectrum.
Somer Bishop, PhD is an Associate Professor and psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry’s STAR Center for ASDs and NDDs at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF). Dr. Bishop’s research and clinical interests focus on the assessment of social-communication and restricted and repetitive behaviors characteristic of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In the past several decades, researchers have made significant progress toward identifying and assessing ASD-related symptoms and behaviors. However, there is still a great deal to be learned about the specific profiles of ability and disability characteristic of individuals with different developmental disorders and neurogenetic syndromes, and how these profiles are related to outcomes. At UCSF, Dr. Bishop’s lab is focused on identifying and refining dimensional measures of ASD-related behavior that can be used to understand similarities and differences within and between individuals with ASD and other developmental disorders, taking into account individual factors such as age, sex, IQ, and language level. She is interested in developing new tools that can be used in both clinical and research settings to assess profiles of social-communicative and other behavioral strengths and challenges across development in varied clinical populations, including ASD.
Ryan Adams, PhD is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. For over 20 years, Dr. Adams’s research has focused on understanding the impact of peer relationships of adolescents and young adults on the lives of individuals who are at risk for negative peer experiences, such as individuals on the autism spectrum. Very little is known about the daily lives of this group, what experiences they enjoy, what experiences are problematic to them, and how all these experiences impact their well-being. In this respect, Dr. Adams strives to understand the day to day lives of individuals on the autism spectrum and how both positive and negative experiences in their daily lives academic, vocational, and psychological outcomes. Dr. Adams has experience building curriculua and interventions to address problematic interactions such as peer victimization. His free web-based curriculum, www.girlsguidetoendbullying.org and www.boysguidetoendbullying.org, have been implemented in schools and utilized directly by families to both address bullying when it is happens to an individual but also to help individuals take action to stop bullying when they see it happening to others.