Nationally known autism experts to converge at UNT center

A panel of internationally recognized autism experts will be in Denton Sept. 12-13 to meet with the University of North Texas’ cross-disciplinary autism research team to offer insight into new, groundbreaking research and steps UNT can take to elevate its work in the field.

UNT has long been a leader in autism research and services in the North Texas region, with the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center opening in 2012, plus strong programs in Special Education, Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology, Disability and Addiction Rehabilitation, Learning Technologies, and Behavior Analysis. This panel will bring together faculty from those divisions and more, including music, engineering and kinesiology. UNT President Neal Smatresk and Kristin Farmer, a UNT College of Education graduate and patron of the UNT autism center, will also attend.

“The president would love to see UNT faculty come together with some groundbreaking research that changes the future of autism intervention,” said Kevin Callahan, executive director of KFAC. “To do that, we have to work across disciplines as a unified team. And if we can involve departments that aren’t traditionally involved with autism research, like engineering and music, we could see even better results.”

The panel comprises Eric Courchesne, professor of neuroscience at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine and co-director of the UCSD Autism Center of Excellence; Samuel Odom, professor and director of the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Caroline; Lynn Kern Koegel, clinical director of the UC Santa Barbara Koegel Autism Center; Tristram Smith, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center; and, Paul Wehman, professor of counseling and special education at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“These are great researchers who are going to look at what we’re doing and tell us how to reach even greater eminence,” Callahan said. “In many cases, autism research and services at UNT are in the early stages of development, and that’s why this is the right time to do this panel.”

For more information about the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center, visit


Above, Kevin Callahan, executive director of the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center.