New TEACCH Director Appointed

Laura Grofer Klinger, PhD, a leading autism researcher, will be appointed Director of the Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related handicapped Children (TEACCH) program in the UNC School of Medicine effective September 1, 2011. She will also serve as Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine.

“I am excited about the opportunities to continue TEACCH’s excellent service and training program and to continue building a prominent autism research program at UNC,” said Dr. Klinger.

Dr. Klinger will be responsible for overseeing TEACCH’s regional centers across North Carolina, a Supported Employment Program, and the Carolina Living and Learning Center, an integrated vocational and residential program for adults located in Pittsboro.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Klinger to the UNC School of Medicine and look forward to her applying her expertise in research, education and treatment of autism to the TEACCH program,” said William L. Roper, MD, MPH, dean of the School of Medicine.

Dr. Klinger has served as director of the Autism Spectrum Disorders Research Clinic at the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, AL, since 1993. In 2007, she also started the University of Alabama Autism Spectrum Disorder College Transition and Support program for college students with autism.  In addition, she serves as an Associate Professor of Psychology and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology.

She has been a member on the editorial board of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology and the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment.  She also serves on the board of directors of the International Society for Autism Research.

Dr. Klinger earned her PhD in Child Clinical Psychology at the University of Washington. She completed her predoctoral internship program at the TEACCH program at UNC and received the Martin S. Wallach Award of Outstanding Psychology Interns.

Her research program is a collaboration with her husband/colleague, Mark Klinger, PhD.  Their research focuses on learning and memory in individuals with autism and the development of treatment programs based on these learning difficulties.  Dr. Klinger attributes many of her research ideas to her earlier training at TEACCH. 

Dr. Mark Klinger will also be joining the UNC School of Medicine as an Associate Professor in Allied Health.

TEACCH was established in the early 1970s by Dr. Eric Schopler and colleagues to serve individuals of all ages and skill levels with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). TEACCH is a North Carolina program administered through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The TEACCH program has helped thousands of individuals with ASD and their families.

TEACCH provides clinical services such as diagnostic evaluations, parent training and parent support groups, social play and recreation groups, individual counseling for higher-functioning clients, and supported employment. In addition, TEACCH conducts training within North Carolina, nationally and internationally and provides consultation for teachers, residential care providers, and other professionals from a variety of disciplines. Research activities of TEACCH include psychological, educational, and biomedical studies.

Learn more about the TEACCH program at