The Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder (CASD) was founded to produce meaningful answers to the questions that most challenge the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) community. By using rigorous research methods and addressing crucial gaps in services, our team seeks to serve those affected by ASD. We also seek to build the capacity of communities to meet the growing needs of individuals with ASD, their families, and the professionals who work with them. Toward that end, we train graduate and undergraduate students to provide services in the context of applied research. We strive to generate innovative, time-efficient, and cost-effective treatments that work, so that people with ASD can reach their full potential.

Research projects include:

Camp Achieve

Camp Achieve

Camp Achieve

Camp Achieve is organized and hosted by Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder faculty. The Camp is our annual 5-week, summer social skills autism day camp for children 6-12 years of age. The Camp provides a positive learning environment for children. Participating children gain or maintain critical skills such as communication, social interaction, and adaptive skills. Campers are given the opportunity to have a camp experience while working on skills that will help them to be successful at school and in the community.

The annual camp is held on Ball State’s campus which allows for access to a number of activities such as a rock climbing wall, an exceptional playground, and access to Christy Woods to enhance the outdoor experience. Additionally, campers go on field trips to the Duck Pond to fish, the Glick Center for Glass, and the Charles W Brown Planetarium. Camp counselors and tutors are involved in the camp and help CASD run a safe and successful summer camp.

If you are interested in learning more about Camp Achieve, please contact us.

Cultivating the Academic and Personal Success of Students (CAPS2)

The CAPS2 program at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder (CASD) empowers students with ASD to maximize their strengths as well as develop and refine skills in the areas of self-development and self-determination.

Services Offered:

  • Weekly meetings with an individual mentor to develop and achieve academic, personal, and social goals
  • A quiet and supportive atmosphere for studying and completing homework
  • Social support through mentors and other members of the CAPS2 group
  • Direct supports to students with autism and their families

If you are interested in joining the CAPS2 mentoring group, please contact us.

Parent Training Project

CASD provides parents of children with ASD training experiences to help them manage the challenges that often emerge at different stages of children’s development (e.g., preschool, childhood, adolescence, adulthood).

We currently offer participation in the following parent training projects:

  • Parent Training – The Need for Coaching
    This project provides web-based training to parents who want their children to listen more effectively when told what to do. In addition to web-based training, half of the parents also receive direct coaching on how to get their children to follow instructions. This project allows us to determine how important individual coaching and feedback is to improving instruction-following.

  • Parent Training – Parental Empowerment
    This project also provides web-based training for parents. The Center’s goal is to determine if this training imparts knowledge about effective treatments to parents and if parents are more confident about approaching school systems to request effective treatment for their children.

If you are interested in learning more about our Parent Training Project, please contact us.

Physical Activity

Research findings report that individuals diagnosed with ASD engage in significantly less physical activity (PA) than their peers without disabilities. The stamina / PA project explores physical needs of young adults with ASD entering the workforce. The Center seeks to better understand the current PA levels of these individuals in order to improve their physical activity levels and stamina. The project's goals are to develop and implement stamina / PA interventions through different technological avenues to promote increased success in the workplace.

Teacher Training Project

The teacher training project provides educators with easily accessible training on treatments that have been shown to work for students with ASD. Participating school staff may also receive coaching and feedback to supplement what they have learned through web‐based training. The goal of this research project is to determine if teachers can effectively improve skills that appear on student’s individualized education plans (IEP) as a result of the training teachers receive.

If you are interested in learning more about our Teacher Training Project, please contact us.

Workforce Project

Our workforce project supports adolescents and adults as they seek to increase independence, attend college and/or obtain vocational training, and secure employment. The goal is to give individuals with ASD the opportunity to participate more fully in their communities. The research project focuses on 2 areas.

  1. Workforce - Curriculum
    The Workforce Curriculum project is a multimedia curriculum that we are developing to improve the acquisition of employment skills and outcomes that can be readily replicated in other settings by young adults with ASD. The curriculum will be based on a self-determination model and incorporates visual supports for instruction, as well as scripting and role-playing, and social skill development. It also involves mentored experiences, with training for some people with ASD occurring in a web-based format.

    The curriculum will be delivered in small groups. Mentored participants will also meet for one hour per week with their assigned mentor, either in person or virtually. These sessions will follow a sequential format outlined in mentor directions to ensure consistency across mentors.

    The research goal is to combine multiple strategies that have led to improved outcomes for individuals with ASD in previous research to determine if the curriculum increases employment and college involvement.

  2. Workforce - Job Coaching
    The Job Coaching project is designed to identify cost effective and efficient supports that enable success with work skills for young adults with ASD. The immediate goal is to develop an employment intervention that teaches three vocational tasks that are often required in competitive jobs using a different approach for each task. We use three different approaches to teaching these tasks to identify which method of instruction they benefited from the most in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. We also compare the expenses associated with each method, which will include both the cost of technology and the time spent by job coaches.

If you are interested in learning more about our Workforce Project, please contact us or complete our survey form.

We're Here to Help

Can't find what you're looking for? Got questions?