Baranek Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Funded by International Grant

Grace Baranek, PhD, with the Department of Allied Health Sciences at UNC, has received an international travel grant to conduct research and to present findings on autism spectrum disorder in Australia.

Baranek Autism Spectrum Disorder Research Funded by International Grant click to enlarge Grace Baranek, PhD

Grace Baranek, PhD, associate chair, Office of Research,Department of Allied Health Sciences and professor, Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, has received the 2016 International Research Visiting Fellowship from the University of Newcastle (UON). This travel grant will support Baranek’s visit to Australia to engage in research collaborations and multi-site grant development at UON. Baranek will collaborate with her colleagues, professors Shelly Lane and Alison Lane at UON, with the Faculty of Health and Medicine, School of Health Sciences, on research related to sensory processing features and early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Stephen Hooper, PhD, associate dean and chair, Department of Allied Health Sciences noted, “This award speaks volumes with respect to Dr. Baranek’s international influence in the field of autism spectrum disorders, and these types of international activities exemplify the commitment of our faculty to international collaboration.” 

Baranek will present on two topics:

  1. A talk for UON occupational therapy faculty and community practitioners, titled “Sensory features in children with ASD and impact on daily life,” based on research funded from a 10-year National Institutes of Health Research Project Grant, the Sensory Experiences Project and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
  2. A public talk at the Hunter Medical Research Institute, titled “Studies of early screening and parent-mediated intervention for infants at risk for ASD,” based on collaborative research of the UNC Department of Allied Health Sciences’ interdisciplinary Program for Early Autism Research, Leadership, and Service (PEARLS), where Baranek also serves as co-executive director.

While in Australia, Baranek will visit the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University (Bundoora campus) in Melbourne. La Trobe School of Psychology and Public Health Professor Cheryl Dissanayake, and additional colleagues in autism research will host Baranek during her visit. Baranek will also present about PEARLS research in early screening and intervention for infants at risk for ASD in a community sample. Baranek will co-author a commentary paper on this topic for an autism journal alongside colleagues at La Trobe University and at UON.