Our mission is to support the social communication of young autistic children and youth with developmental disabilities.
The Social Communication for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Lab (SCADD Lab) is led by Dr. Ciara Ousley and supported by UNL students. We conduct research on various scientifically supported interventions, such as naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions (NDBIs), which blend the sciences of applied behavior analysis and developmental psychology. We use child-led approaches and activities, and coach the parents, caregivers, and practitioners who are supporting young autistic children and youth with developmental disabilities by highlighting the strengths of the adult and child. The aim of our approach to autism research is to enhance intervention for young children with social communication needs by building the child's and adult's self-confidence and self-efficacy, ultimately empowering them to embed appropriate evidence-based strategies within everyday routines. Our ultimate goal is to design and implement efficient trainings and coaching practices for adults working with young children with social communication needs to increase the child's independent communication skills (e.g., joint attention, play skills, language).