Broad Center for Asperger Research

Broad Center for Asperger Research

Broad Center for Asperger Research

Broad Center for Asperger Research

Broad Center for Asperger Research

Broad Center for Asperger Research


In 2007, the Eli and Edythe L. Broad Foundation established a new center of excellence for Asperger Research within the Koegel Autism Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara.The purpose of this initiative was to understand and support individuals with Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) using strength-based, positive therapeutic strategies.


The Broad Asperger Center conducted research and intervention with the purpose of developing a model that can be disseminated nationally, and moved toward the long-term goal of becoming the largest and most comprehensive clearinghouse in the world on intervention for AS/HFA. Examples of specific projects included:

  1. The development of research-based, state of the art, motivational intervention procedures for working with adults and children with AS/HFA to build upon their strengths and target their challenges
  2. The development of a comprehensive package for supporting students with AS/HFA as they transition to college/university settings so that they can successfully navigate higher education and graduate with a desired degree.
  3. The dissemination and implementation of these intervention procedures with individuals with AS/HFA locally, nationally, and internationally to increase quality of life

Recent Initiatives Born from Broad Foundation Support

Social Tools And Rules for Teens (The START Program for Teens)

The START Program is an immersive group socialization experience for adolescents with AS/HFA.  The groups meet weekly for 20 weeks and are peer-facilitated, meaning they are led by college students and high school students to create a motivating, club-like atmosphere to hang out, socialize, and improve social competencies and motivation. Teens learn how to make a good first impression, engage in conversation, show empathy, build relationships, handle conflicts, and take social risks through engaging lessons and real-world practice.

Social Tools And Rules for Transitions (The START Program for Young Adults)

The START Program for Young Adults is a specially designed group socialization experience for young adults on the spectrum. This 20-week program focuses on the unique social challenges faced by young adults - dealing with roommates, flirting and dating, interviewing for a job, and maintaining adult relationships.  These club-like meeetings are led by young adult peers to create a comfortable context similar to college organizations and extracurricular clubs.

The UCSB Peer Mentor Program

The transition to college is very difficult.  These challenges can be compounded when navigating campus life while on the spectrum.  Our peer mentor program pairs college students with AS/HFA with a more experienced undergraduate who serves as a peer mentor, guide, and role-model.  Together, they discuss and tackle issues related to socializing in college, staying organized, taking care of personal needs, and excelling academically. 


Publications & Programs Developed from Broad Foundation Funding


Ko, J.A., Miller, A.R., Vernon, T.W. (2018). Social conversation skill improvements associated with the START program for adolescents with ASD: Results of a randomized controlled trial. Autism. 23(5). 1224-1235.
Vernon, T.W., Miller, A. R., Ko, J.A., Barrett, A., & McGarry, E. (2018). A randomized controlled trial of the Social Tools And Rules for Teens (START) program: An immersive socialization intervention for adolescents with ASD. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 48(3) 892-904.


Vernon, T.W., Miller, A. R., Ko, J.A., & Wu, V. (2016). Social Tools And Rules for Teens (The START program): Program description and preliminary outcomes of a multi-component socialization intervention for adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 46(5), 1806-1823.


Koegel, L. K., Detar, W. J., Fox, A. & Koegel, R. L. (in press).  Romantic Relationships, Sexuality, and Autism.  In Volkmar, F., McPartland, J. & Reichow, B. (Eds.), Adolescents and Adults with Autism.  New York: Springer.
Koegel, L. K., Koegel, R. L., Miller, A. R., & Detar, W. J. (2014). Issues and interventions for autism spectrum disorders during adolescence and beyond. In F. R. Volkmar, S. J. Rogers, R. Paul, & K. A. Pelphrey (Eds.), Handbook of Autism and Pervasive  Developmental Disorders (4th ed., Vol. 1, pp. 176–190). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Koegel, R.L., Koegel, L.K., Detar, W.J., Ashbaugh, K. (in press). 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.


Koegel, L. K., Ashbaugh, K., Koegel, R. L., Detar, W. J. and Regester, A. (2013), Increasing socialization in adults with asperger’s syndrome. Psychology in the Schools. 50, 899–909. doi: 10.1002/pits.21715


Koegel, L.K., Kuriakose, S., Singh, A.K., & Koegel, R.L. (2012). Improving Generalization of Peer Socialization in Inclusive School Settings Using Initiations Training. Behavior Modification, 36(3), 361-377.


Koegel, L., Matos-Freeden, R., Lang, R., & Koegel, R. (2011). Interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders in inclusive school settings. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice. 18(3), 421-588.
Shogren, K. A., Lang, R., Machalicek, W., Rispoli, M., & O'Reilly, M. (2011). Self-versus teacher-management of behavior for elementary school students with Asperger syndrome: Impact on classroom behavior. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions. 3(2), 87-96.
Smith, W.J., Koegel, L.K., & Koegel, R.L. (2011) Research brief 1: Can children with autism be motivated to engage in academics?. UC Center for Research in Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk.


Koegel, L.K., Singh, A.K., & Koegel, R.L. (2010). Improving motivation for academics in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 40(9), 1057-1066.
Lang, R., Davis, P., O’Reilly, M., Machalicek, W., Rispoli, M. J., Sigafoos, J., Regester, A. (2010). Functional analysis and treatment of elopement across two school settings. Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 43(1), 113–118. doi:10.1901/jaba.2010.43-113
Lang, R., Didden, R., Machalicek, W., Rispoli, M., Sigafoos, J., Lancioni, G., et al. (2010). Behavioral treatment of chronic skin-picking in individuals with developmental disabilities: a systematic review. Research in Developmental Disabilities, 31, 304–315. doi:10.1016/j.ridd.2009.10.017.
Lang. R., Koegel, L.K., Ashbaugh, K., Regester, A., Ence, W., & Smith, W. (2010). Physical exercise and individuals with autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 4(4), 565-576.
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.
O'Reilly, M., Rispoli, M., Davis, T., Machalicek, W., Lang, R., Sigafoos, Kang, S., Lancioni, G., Green, V., & Didden, R. (2010). Functional analysis of challenging behavior in children with autism spectrum disorders: A summary of 10 cases. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 4, 1-10.
Lang, R., Smith, W.J., Ence, W., Langthorne, P. (2010) Editorial: Rehabilitation issues for children with Prader-Willi syndrome. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 13(1), 1-2.


Koegel, L. K., Fredeen, R. M., Koegel, R. L., and Lin, E. (2009). Relationships, Independence, and Communication in Autism and Asperger’s Disorder. In Amaral, D., Dawson, G. and Geschwind, D. (2009). Autism Spectrum Disorders. New York: Oxford University Press.
Koegel, L.K., Koegel, R.L., Green-Hopkins, I., & Barnes, C.C. (2010). Brief report: Question-asking and collateral language acquisition in children with autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 40(4), 509-515.
Koegel, R.L., Robinson, S., & Koegel, L.K. (2009). Empirically Supported Intervention Practices for Autism Spectrum Disorders in School and Community Settings. In Sailor, Dunlap, Sugai, & Horner (Eds.), Issues and Practices. In Handbook of Positive Behavior Support, 149-176.
Koegel, R.L., Vernon, T.W., & Koegel, L.K. (2009). Improving social initiations in young children with autism using reinforcers with embedded social interactions. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. 39(9), 1240-1251.
Lang, R., Machalicek, W., O Reilly, M. F., Sigafoos, J., Rispoli, M. J., Shogren, K., & Regester, A. (2009). Review of interventions to increase functional and symbolic play in children. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities 44(4), 481-492.
Lang, R., Shogren, K., Machalicek, W., Rispoli, M., O’Reilly, M.F., Regester, A., & Baker, S. (2009). Video self-modeling to teach classroom rules to two students with asperger’s. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. 3, 483-488.


Koegel, R.L. (2007). Social Development in Individuals with High Functioning Autism and Asperger Disorder. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities. 32(2), 140-141.