About the LifeSPAN Autism Lab

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The Lifespan Symptom Profiles, Achievements & Needs in Autism (LifeSPAN Autism) Lab is led by Dr. Vanessa H. Bal.

Dr. Bal's research aims to advance understanding of autism in adulthood. By emphasizing a lifespan perspective, the lab encompasses four broad research areas:

  1. Defining meaningful achievements and specific needs of autistic adults;
  2. Characterizing how autism manifests across the range of cognitive and language abilities at varying developmental stages across the lifespan;
  3. Identifying behavioral, biological and contextual factors that affect longer-term adult outcomes;
  4. Developing and adapting approaches to support the well-being of autistic adults.

Across these areas, research in the lab strives to develop and refine methods to assess and quantify individual strengths and challenges. This includes projects to evaluate methods that may be useful in screening and diagnosis, tracking of symptoms across development, and evaluating response to treatment. By emphasizing a multidimensional, lifespan perspective, this work aims to delineate relationships between dimensions of social-communication, language, cognition and emotion in the context of neurodevelopmental disorders in order to inform the development of targeted interventions that capitalize on individual strengths in order to promote well-being for individuals with Autism across the lifespan.

Dr. Bal also leads the RCAAS Psychological Services Clinic, which provides clinical assessment and treatment services. For more information, visit our Resources Page.