Meet Our Team

Director
Dr. Robert Koegel, Director

Email: koegel@education.ucsb.edu
Office: Education 2125

Robert Koegel, Ph.D., is an international authority in the area of autism, specializing in language intervention, family support, and school integration.  He has published well over two hundred articles and papers relating to the treatment of autism.  He also has authored 6  books on the treatment of autism and positive behavioral support.  He has been the recipient of numerous multimillion dollar research and training grants from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Institute of Mental Health. Models of his procedures have been used in public schools and in parent education programs throughout California, the United States, and other countries. Dr. Robert Koegel is presently the Director of the Koegel Autism Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he is also a Professor of Clinical Psychology and a Professor of Special Education.  He has trained many health care and special education leaders in the United States.  

Please click here for more information about Dr. Koegel

Lynn Kern Koegel
Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel, Clinical Director

Email: lynnk@education.ucsb.edu
Office: Koegel Autism Center 1145

Lynn Kern Koegel, Ph.D., is the Clinical Director of the Koegel Autism Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has been active in the development of programs to improve communication in children with autism, including the development of first words, development of grammatical structures, and pragmatics.  Dr. Koegel is co-author and co-editor of major textbooks on autism and positive behavioral support and is co-author of the bestselling book Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life (Penguin, 2004). In addition to her published books and articles in the area of communication and language development, she has developed and published procedures and field manuals in the area of self-management and functional analysis that are used in school districts throughout the United States and have been translated in most major languages used throughout the world. Dr. Lynn Koegel is actively involved in providing support and intervention services in school districts, both locally in California and throughout the United States. Dr. Koegel, and her husband Robert, were awarded the first annual recipient of the Sesame Street Children’s Television Workshop Award for brightening the lives of children.  She has also been featured in news reports on television stations throughout the United States and has appeared on episodes of the internationally broadcast ABC television series Supernanny.

Please click here for more information about Dr. Koegel 

Dr. Ty Vernon, Assessment Clinic Director

Email: tyvernon@education.ucsb.edu
Office: Education 2143

Assessment Center

Dr. Ty Vernon received his Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology (clinical emphasis) from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2010.  He completed his pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center (housed within Yale University’s School of Medicine).  During his graduate and post-doctoral training, he acquired training in state-of-the-art autism intervention, assessment, and research methods from two world-renowned programs: UCSB’s Koegel Autism Center and the YCSC’s Autism Program.

He is currently an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology within the Department of CCSP.  His primary research interests lie in novel methods for measuring, understanding, and altering the social developmental trajectories of individuals with autism.  He has participated in the empirical investigation of several innovative social interventions, including an early social engagement paradigm for toddlers and their parents, social clubs and groups for school-aged children and adolescents, and vocational training programs for young adults with ASD. 

Dr. Vernon concurrently serves as the Director of the Koegel Autism Center Assessment Clinic, which serves as a clinical and research hub for the detection and measurement of autism-related symptomatology in toddlers, children, adolescents, and adults. Through the use of behavioral coding, standardized assessments, eye-tracking technology, and neurophysiological measures, his team aims to improve diagnostic precision, closely monitor response to intervention efforts, and increase our global understanding of autism spectrum disorders.

Please click here for more information about Dr. Vernon

Samantha Solomon, Clinic Coordinator

Email: autism@education.ucsb.edu
Office: Koegel Autism Center Front Desk

Samantha Solomon began working at the UCSB Koegel Autism Center in May, 2015 as an undergraduate research assistant analyzing the effectiveness of a social skills training intervention for adolescents on the autism spectrum. Shortly after, she began her current position as Clinic Coordinator and will also continue to work as a research assistant throughout the school year. She will complete her bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Elementary Education in June 2016. Samantha will be teaching special education in Philadelphia beginning this summer through Teach for America. She will be working towards her M.S.Ed of Urban Education with an emphasis in Special Education from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Kristen Ashbaugh, M.A., Head of Asperger Research Program

Email: kristen@education.ucsb.edu
Office: Koegel Autism Center 1141

My name is Kristen Ashbaugh and I am a fifth year graduate student in the Clinical, Counseling and School Psychology program. I am originally from Davis, California and I got my undergraduate degree in Economics from UCLA (Go Bruins!).  I realized during my senior year in college that my passion was in psychology, so moved to Santa Barbara after graduation and worked at the Koegel Autism Center for two years before applying to graduate school.  I was a clinician and the Clinic Coordinator during this time, and it was great to get experience in the field before applying to graduate school at UCSB. 

My primary area of research is clinical intervention techniques for adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  My focus is on working with college students and adults on behavioral interventions to improve their communication, social, independent living and vocational skills. In addition to my work at the Autism Center, I have experience at the UCSB Alcohol and Drug Program and the Psychiatric Health Facility with the County of Santa Barbara. 

Publications:

1.    Koegel, L.K., Navab, A., Ashbaugh, K., & Koegel, R.L. (In press). Using Reframing to Reduce Negative Statements in Social Conversation for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.

2.    Ashbaugh, K., Kim, S., Navab, A., & Koegel, R.  (In press). Autism Spectrum Disorder: Social Factors: In A. Wenzel (Ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology.

3.    Koegel, L.K., Ashbaugh, K., & Koegel, R.L. (2015). Pivotal Response Treatment. In Lang, R., Hancock, T., & Singh, N (Eds.), Early Intervention for Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Evidence-Based Practices in Behavioral Health Series.

4.    Koegel, L. K., Koegel, R. L., Ashbaugh, K., & Bradshaw, J. (2014). The importance of early identification and intervention for children with or at risk for autism spectrum disorders. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16(1), 50-56. 

5.    Koegel, R., Bradshaw, J., Ashbaugh, K.,  & Koegel, L. (2013). Improving Question-Asking Initiations in Young Children with Autism Using Pivotal Response Treatment. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 44(4), 816-827. 

6.    Koegel, L.K., Ashbaugh, K., Koegel, R.L., Detar, W.J., Regester, A. (2013). Increasing socialization in adults with Asperger’s syndrome. Psychology in the Schools50(9), 899-909.

7.    Koegel, R.L., Koegel, L.K., Detar, W.J., Ashbaugh, K. (2013). Behavioral approaches for the treatment of adults with autism spectrum disorders. In K. Haertl (Ed.), Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Strategies for Occupational Therapy.

8.    Ashbaugh, K. & Koegel, R. (2012). Naturalistic Intervention Procedures . In F. Volkmar (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. New York: Springer-Verlag, Inc.

9.    Lang, R., Regester, A., Lauderdale, S., Ashbaugh, K., & Haring, A. (2010). Treatment of anxiety in autism spectrum disorders using cognitive behavior therapy: A systematic review. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 13(1), 53-63.

10. Lang, R., Koegel, L., Ashbaugh, K., Regester, A., Ence, W, & Smith, W. (2010) Increasing Exercise Behavior of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 4(4), 565-576.

Sunny Kim
Dr. Sunny Kim, Head of School Professional Socialization Training Project

Email: sunnykim8288@gmail.com
Office: Koegel Autism Center 1115

Dr. Sunny Kim received her Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 2014.  She is also a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA).  Throughout graduate school, Dr. Kim worked closely under Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel, where she received extensive training in Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT).  She currently works at the Koegel Autism Center as a program supervisor and is also the head of the School Professional Socialization Training Project at UCSB.  Dr. Kim has received several extramural grants and published several peer-reviewed journal articles on improving social skills in individuals with ASD.  Her research primarily focuses on social skills training for students with ASD, school staff training, improving social pragmatic skills for individuals with ASD, and developing effective social intervention models that can be implemented in the school setting.  

Anahita Navab
Anahita Navab, Research Coordinator

Email: anavab@education.ucsb.edu
Office: Koegel Autism Center 1141

I am a fourth year doctoral student in the Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychology Program at UCSB. I received my B.A. from UCLA in Psychology in 2010, where I began my research on early identification of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). From 2010-2012, I began my exploration of early intervention for individuals with ASD, which I began to passionately pursue in conjunction with intervention research. My research projects grow directly from the problems and solutions we find to be noteworthy through intervention practice on a day to day basis. Currently my research focuses on the use of eye-tracking technology to measure and inform socially embedded PRT treatment outcomes in toddlers on the spectrum.

Publications:

  1. Sproatt, D., Navab, A., Koegel, R.L., and Koegel, L.K. (2011). Definition of Operant Conditioning. Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Volkmar, F.R.  
  2. Navab, A., Gillespie-Lynch, K., Park, G., Sigman, M., Johnson, S.P., Hutman, T. (2011). Eye-Tracking as a Measure of Responsiveness to Joint Attention in Infants at Risk for Autism. Infancy, 1-16.
  3. Navab, A., Koegel, R.L., Dowdy, E., & Vernon, T. (in press). Ethical considerations in the application of the scientist-practitioner model for psychologists conducting intervention research. Journal of Contemporary Psychotherapy. doi:10.1007/s10879-015-9314-3

  4. Koegel, L.K., Navab, A., Ashbaugh, K., & Koegel, R.L. (in press). Using reframing to reduce negative statements in social conversation for adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions. doi: 10.1177/1098300715596136

  5. Ashbaugh, K., Kim, S., Navab, A., & Koegel, R.L. (in press). Autism spectrum disorder: Social factors.The SAGE Encyclopedia of Abnormal and Clinical Psychology.

  6. Koegel, L.K., Ashbaugh, K., Navab, A., & Koegel, R.L. (under review). Increasing empathic  communication skills for adults with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and  Developmental Disorders.

  7. Navab, A., Gillespie-Lynch, K., Park, G., Sigman, M., Johnson, S.P., Hutman, T. (2011). Eye- tracking as a measure of responsiveness to joint attention in infants at risk for autism. Infancy, 1-16.

  8. Sproatt, D., Navab, A., Koegel, R.L., and Koegel, L.K. (2011). Definition of operant conditioning.Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Volkmar, F.R.

Avery Voos
Avery Voos, Research Coordinator

Email: avery.voos@gmail.com
Office: 1119 Koegel Autism Center

Assessment Center

I am a doctoral student with an emphasis in Clinical Psychology working with Drs. Ty Vernon and Robert Koegel. I received my B.A. in Psychology from Wake Forest University with a minor in Communication in 2009. After my undergraduate work, I spent three years working in the Child Neuroscience Laboratory in the Autism Program at the Yale Child Study Center. Currently, I am interested in using fMRI to investigate the underlying neural mechanisms of positive behavioral change in young children with an autism spectrum disorder after receiving pivotal response treatment (PRT). More generally, I am interested in taking a multidisciplinary approach to the study of social perception and early intervention in autism.

In my free time I enjoy yoga, running, hiking and spending time with family and friends. Being from Connecticut, the Koegel Autism Center serves as a home away from home for me! 

Publications:

  1. Gordon, I., Voos, A.C., Bennett, R.H., Bolling, D.Z., Pelphrey, K.A., Kaiser, M.D. (2011). Brain mechanisms for processing affective touch. Human Brain Mapping, doi: 10.1002/hbm.21480.
  2. Kaiser, M.D., Hudac, C.M., Shultz, S., Lee, S., Cheung, C., Berken, A.M., Deen, B., Pitskel, N.B., Sugrue, D.R., Voos, A.C., Saulnier, C.A., Ventola, P., Wolf, J.M., Klin, A., Vander Wyk, B.C., Pelphrey, K.A. (2010). Neural signatures of autism. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107(49), 21223-21228.
  3. Vander Wyk, B. C., Voos, A., & Pelphrey, K. A. (2012). Action representation in the superior temporal sulcus in children and adults: an fMRI study. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.
  4. Voos, A.C. & Pelphrey, K.A. Tools of the Trade: Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. (2013). Journal of Cognition and Development, 14(1),1-9.
  5. Voos, A.C., Pelphrey, K.A., & Kaiser, M.D. (2012). Autistic traits are associated with diminished neural response to affective touch. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, doi: 10.1093/scan/nss009.
  6. Voos, A.C., Pelphrey, K.A., Tirrell, J., Bolling, D.Z., Vander Wyk, B., Kaiser, M.D., McPartland, J.C., Volkmar, F.R., & Ventola, P. (2013). Neural Mechanisms of Improvements in Social Motivation after Pivotal Response Treatment: Two Case Studies. Journal of Autism and Development Disorders, 43,1-10.
  7. Voos, A., & Westphal, A. (2013). Medial temporal lobe. In F. Volkmar (Ed), The encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. New York: Springer.
  8. Westphal, A., Voos, A. & Pelphrey, K. (2012). Chapter 8: Functional magnetic resonance imaging as a biomarker for the diagnosis, progression and treatment of autistic spectrum disorder. In McArthur, Von Kienlin & Steckler (Eds), Translational Neuroimaging. Waltham, MA: Academic Press/Elsevier.
  9. Voos, A. & Pelphrey, K. (in press). Decety, J., & Michalska, K. J. Developmental neuroscience of social perception. In P. Rakic and J. Rubenstein (Eds.), Comprehensive Developmental Neuroscience. Oxford: Elsevier.
  10. Westphal, A., Voos, A., & Ristow, A. (in press). Comorbidities and pharmacological treatment. In A. Klin, J. McPartland & F. Volkmar (Eds.), Asperger Syndrome (Second Edition). New York: Guilford Press.
  11. Westphal, A., Voos, A., & Ristow, A. (2013). Childhood disintegrative disorder. In F. Volkmar (Ed), The encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. New York: Springer.
Zak Koplen
Erin Engstrom, DOR Project Coordinator

Email: erin@education.ucsb.edu

Office: 1141 Koegel Autism Center

I am a second year student in the Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology program working with Dr. Robert Koegel. I received my bachelor’s degree in Psychology with minors in Applied Psychology and Speech and Hearing Sciences in 2013 at UCSB - a Gaucho at heart! I started working at the Koegel Autism Center in 2012 as a research assistant working with children and adults with ASD. Following graduation, I served as a clinician and Clinic Coordinator at the Koegel Autism Center. 
 
My current research interests include empathy expression in individuals with autism spectrum disorder, and improving  higher education and employment outcomes for adolescents and adults with ASD. I am specifically interested in understanding these areas through the lens of neurodiversity while utilizing and improving strength-based, motivational behavioral interventions.
 
In my free time, I enjoy yoga, a good book, and spending time with my friends and family.
Jordan Ko
Office: 1117 Koegel Autism Center
 
Assessment Center
 
I am a second year clinical psychology doctoral student working with Dr. Ty Vernon. My interest and experience in early childhood development and intervention brought me to UCSB, and I am particularly interested in the underlying mechanisms of social deficits in ASD and how this can be influenced by early intervention. Before pursuing a PhD, I worked as a research assistant at Boston Children’s Hospital and UCLA’s Center for Autism Research and Treatment on a study aiming to identify clinical and neural markers of ASD in infants with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex. Living in Santa Barbara, there is so much to do! I especially enjoy hiking, playing tennis, and baking triple chocolate brownies.
 

Publications:

  1. Jeste, S.S., Wu, J.Y., Senturk, D., Varcin, K., Ko, J., McCarthy, B., Shimizu, C., Dies, K., Vogel-Farley, V., Sahin, M., & Nelson, C.A. (2014). Early developmental trajectories associated with ASD in infants with tuberous sclerosis complex. Neurology, 83(2), 160-168.

 

Amy Barrett

Emailabarrett@education.ucsb.edu

Office: 1119 Koegel Autism Center

Assessment Center

I am a second year doctoral student in the Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychology program (clinical emphasis) working with Dr. Ty Vernon. I received my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012, where I gained experience in both developmental and clinical research. Following my undergraduate work, I spent two years as Manager of the Child Developmental Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University as well as conducting clinical work as a behavioral therapist for children on the Autism Spectrum in home, school, and community settings.

My primary area of interest lies in improving social and language development of young children with autism through the implementation of social Pivotal Response Treatment.

In my free time, I love to yoga, hiking, and cooking. 

Kelsey Oliver

Email: koliver@education.ucsb.edu

Office: Koegel Autism Center 1115

I am a third year doctoral student working with Dr. Robert Koegel. I received my B.A. in Psychology from Arizona State University with a minor in Family and Human Development. At ASU I worked as a research assistant studying emotional and behavioral self-regulation in young children. Upon graduating, I worked as a clinician and lead teacher in an inclusive preschool for children with ASD. I was also a parent trainer and educator in the context of families’ homes. My research interests are ever expanding and include the dissemination of Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) to parents and practitioners and best practices for the inclusion of fathers in interventions. Additionally, I am interested in the research and development of interventions that facilitate social skills for children and adolescents on the autism spectrum.

Ben Ross
Office: 1120 Koegel Autism Center
 
I am a second year doctoral student in the Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology program working with Dr. Robert Koegel. I received my bachelors degree in psychology from UC San Diego in 2011, where I conducted research examining the role of shared control in the use of PRT with children with autism. Following my undergraduate work, I have continued to work with individuals with autism in both clinical and school contexts.
 
In my free time I enjoy playing basketball, hiking, and cooking.
 
Publications:
  1. Rieth, S. R., Stahmer, A. C., Suhrheinrich, J., Schreibman, L., Kennedy, J., & Ross, B. (2014). Identifying critical elements of treatment: Examining the use of turn taking in autism intervention. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 29(3), 168-179.
Shereen Cohen

Email: sjcohen16@gmail.com

Office: Koegel Autism Center 1144

I was born and raised in San Diego, and earned my Bachelors degree at the University of California, San Diego. I completed my honors thesis on face processing in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and thus discovered my passion for ASD research. I was a research assistant and lab coordinator at UCSD for three years, then moved to Hawaii to earn my Master's degree in clinical psychology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. While in that program, I gained experience at the Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, conducting assessments and some CBT for children and adolescents with various emotional and behavioral concerns, as well as at the Easter Seals Hawaii Autism Center as an ABA therapist for children with ASD. I am now beginning my doctoral training at UCSB and am excited to begin work in research and treatment at the Koegel Autism Center.

Liz McGarry

Email: elizabethsmcgarry@gmail.com

Office: Koegel Autism Center 1144

Assessment Center