Autism Pathways


The number of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in the United States has grown from 1 in 150 to 1 in 59 (CDC, 2018) over the last decade.

Yet services for people with autism remain fragmented, not nearly enough professionals are qualified to deliver these services, and there is still much to learn about the causes of autism and which services lead to the best outcomes.

The School's partnership with the Virginia Institute of Autism is laying the Foundation for a larger cross-Grounds effort to help individuals on the autism spectrum.


The School of Education and Human Development prepares professionals to serve people with autism in four key areas—special education, speech communication disorders, clinical psychology and kinesiology (the science of human movement); in addition, at least 36 other faculty members across UVA pursue autism related research and service.


The School envisions combining all of these resources to create a UVA Center for Autism, positioning UVA as a national leader in autism research, coordinated care, and teacher and clinical professional preparation. The School will leverage its existing relationships with schools, its education and clinical expertise, and its experience with field-based and applied research to develop a comprehensive, community-focused autism center. With the capacity to facilitate external partnerships, both regionally and nationally, the center will also make the most of research and treatment breakthroughs. The University of Virginia is poised to develop national models of care while providing the highest level of resources to Virginia families. Two phases will lead to the creation of this UVA Center for Autism.

  • Phase 1
    In phase one, the School will build upon its strengths and successes in four interrelated areas: research, professional preparation, clinical services, and partnerships. We will recruit faculty who specialize in autism, develop a network of researchers and collaborators, expand our ability to provide assessment and diagnostic services, create a program to provide families with resources and guidance, and plan for the next phase.
  • Phase 2
    In phase two, we will expand our partnerships with community-based service providers and research programs. This broad network will enable the UVA Center for Autism faculty to understand autism at increasingly deeper levels, and to develop, implement, and scale an evidence-based model for the coordination of autism care and service delivery.