About Our Team

Dr. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch
TC Waisman
Dr. Siva priya Santhanam
Dr. Stephen Shore
Dr. Eilidh Cage
Dr. Denise Davidson
D. Iliana Magiati
Patrick Dwyer

Dr. Dave Caudel
Zach Williams

Lead Researcher

Dr. Kristen Gillespie-Lynch is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the College of Staten Island and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Guided by collaborations with Autistic people, she co-constructs and evaluates interventions to empower Autistic adolescents and adults and reduce stigma.

Lead Researcher

TC Waisman was diagnosed as Autistic at 48-years-old which resulted in changes to her career path. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in leadership, policy, and governance at the University of Calgary with a research focused on how higher education leaders, faculty, and professional staff can enhance services and outcomes for Autistic students in higher education. TC is of mixed Indigenous South Pacific Islander (Fiji, Solomon Islands +) and Nepalese heritage and resides in Vancouver Canada. She sits on the editorial board of Autism in Adulthood and is co-founder of the Autistic Researchers Committee (ARC) at the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR).

Collaborators

Dr. Siva priya Santhanam, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is an Assistant Professor at the Dept. of Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences at Metropolitan State University of Denver, Colorado. She has been working with children and adults on the autism spectrum and their families since 2008. She leads the Integrated Supports for Students with Autism in College (ISSAC) program at the university. Her research focuses on (1) developing and implementing support-based interventions for individuals on the autism spectrum, and (2) promoting equity and access to communication support for children on the autism spectrum from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

Dr. Stephen Shore was diagnosed with “Atypical Development and strong Autistic tendencies” and “too sick” for outpatient treatment Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until 4, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a full time professor at Adelphi University and adjunct at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, focusing on aligning best practice in supporting Autistic people to lead fulfilling and productive lives. In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Stephen is an internationally renowned educator, consultant and author on lifespan issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, and self-advocacy. His most recent book College for Students with Disabilities combines personal stories and research for promoting success in higher education.

Dr. Eilidh Cage is a Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Stirling in Scotland. Eilidh’s research looks broadly at the experiences of Autistic adults and adolescents, and the challenges related to navigating a predominantly non-Autistic world. She is particularly interested in autism acceptance (from both self and others), mental health and wellbeing, Autistic identity and diagnosis, camouflaging (masking) and supporting Autistic students at university.

Dr. Denise Davidson is a faculty member in the Psychology Department at Loyola University Chicago. Her research focuses on a range of issues affected by autism, including social-emotional functioning, language development, and in Autistic adults, promoting excellence in college through strength-based models. For more information about my program of research, and the undergraduate and graduate students I work with, please see my website:  https://davidsonautismlab.weebly.com .

Dr. Iliana Magiati is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at the School of Psychological Science, University of Western Australia (UWA). She was previously at the Department of Psychology, National University of Singapore (NUS). She completed her doctoral training in clinical psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry and her Ph.D. at St George’s Hospital Medical School in the UK. Her research and clinical interests include mental health and emotional well-being in ASD, with a focus on anxiety; camouflaging; diagnosis and post-diagnostic support for Autistic people in adulthood; supporting Autistic people in higher education; Autistic traits and their relationship with emotional and behavioural difficulties; and adult outcomes.

Patrick Dwyer is an Autistic PhD candidate in psychology at the University of California, Davis.  His research primarily involves use of electrophysiology, eye-tracking, and questionnaires to study sensory processing (including auditory processing, multimodal processing, and sensory sensitivity) and attention in autism.  In his spare time, he facilitates a peer-support community for Autistic postsecondary students and he is deeply invested in making postsecondary education accessible for Autistic students.  He also maintains a blog that he uses to write about autism and neurodiversity, autisticscholar.com.

Dr. Dave Caudel is the associate director of the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation at Vanderbilt University in Nashville Tennessee. Diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2009, Caudel is an autism self-advocate, speaking to a variety of organizations, including the U.N. and autism conferences internationally. For much of his life, he struggled to find his place in the world, and has had a number of careers, including as a videographer, a soldier in the U.S. Army, a journalist, photojournalist, magazine editor, public affairs specialist, truck salesman, and corporate stints from customer service to loss prevention, just to name a few, before deciding to give, “this college thing a try.” He received his Ph.D. in Physics at Vanderbilt University in 2017. He serves on the advisory committee for the Center for Discovery, Innovation, and Development at Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Jersey and is a founding member of the Vanderbilt Autism and Neurodiversity Alliance. His research interests include gamma spectrometers for astrophysics applications and finding meaningful employment for adults on the spectrum by finding novel, innovative ways to measure their strengths, talents, and passions, then match those to specialized business needs, as well as determining the programs and training needed to maximize success. 

Zach Williams (he/him) is an MD/PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Vanderbilt University, co-mentored by Tiffany Woynaroski (Hearing & Speech) and Carissa Cascio (Psychiatry). He is also an affiliate of the Vanderbilt University Frist Center for Autism and Innovation. His research focuses on the phenomenon of decreased sound tolerance in autistic people, which he hopes to better understand using a combination of self-report questionnaires, psychoacoustic tasks, and electrophysiologic measures. Additional areas of interest include the assessment and treatment of co-occurring mental health problems in autistic adults and the development of novel questionnaires to assess core and associated features of the autism phenotype.

Researchers in alphabetical order:

Heather Brown -Assistant Professor University of Alberta

Eilidh Cage – Lecturer University of Stirling

Dave Caudel – Associate Director First Center for Autism and Innovation Vanderbilt University

Denise Davidson– Associate Professor Loyola University Chicago

Patrick Dwyer – Doctoral Candidate UC Davis

Kristen Gillespie-Lynch – Assistant Professor City University New York

Emine Gurbuz – Lecturer University of Portsmouth

Jessye Herrell – Educator Manager Tech Kids Unlimited

Scott Jackson – Clinical Instructor; Director of Assessment & Analytics Yale University: Southern Connecticut State University

Bella Kofner – Researcher College of Staten Island, CUNY

Iliana Magiati – Associate Professor in Clinical Psychology University of Western Australia

Siva Priya Santhanam – Assistant Professor Metropolitan State University of Denver

Stephen Shore – Assistant Professor Adelphi University New York

Kayden Stockwell – Doctoral Candidate University of Virginia

TC Waisman – Doctoral Candidate University of Calgary

Zach Williams – MD/PhD candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Vanderbilt University

Our talented collaborators from around the world are accomplished in the fields of:

  • Online Learning
  • Universal Design
  • Experiences of Autistic students in higher education
  • Faculty Training
  • Camouflaging and Masking
  • Autism and Mental Health
  • Educational Leadership
  • Diagnosis and Defining Autism
  • Neurodiversity
  • Participatory Mentorship
  • The impact of Technology on Equity & Inclusion
  • Sensory processing and sensory sensitivities in autism
  • Leadership, policy, & governance in a post-secondary context as it relates to Autistic students’ outcomes in higher education

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