COVID-19 Resources

Mother and child wearing masks and using hand sanitizer

COVID-19 Resources

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many researchers and organizations are offering free resources to help families. Below we share some of the resources we’ve come across.

Social Stories
Social stories can be a very useful tool for all children because they help prepare them for what to expect in unfamiliar situations. The free stories listed on the link above cover COVID-19 and schools, but the author also has stories such as “When Can I Stop Wearing A Mask?” and “Getting a Haircut During COVID-19”.

Toolkit: “Supporting Individuals with Autism through Uncertain Times”
Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill worked with teachers, parents, and experts from various fields to develop a comprehensive guide for those who may feel unequipped to manage the changes brought on by the pandemic. Many of the resources are fully customizable to meet the individual needs of children with ASD and their family members.

Free Parent Workshops, Webinars, and Other Educational Resources
The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center has a variety of free educational resources available to families of children with autism.

Autism Research Study: Regulating Together
Cincinnati Children’s is conducting a research study that can be completed at home to test the effectiveness of an ASD treatment program called Regulating Together in people diagnosed with ASD and emotion regulation difficulties. The program is for children and teens 8 to 18 years old with ASD and their caregiver(s).

Pandemic Parenting
Pandemic Parenting is a collaboration between two psychologists, scholars, and moms committed to sharing their expertise and research in ways that are immediately accessible and useful to families.

Additional Resources
UCLA CART is maintaining a list of up-to-date resources, approved by leading clinicians and designed to help families feel informed and empowered.


Congratulations, Chandler!

We are excited to share that research specialist Chandler Knott will stay on in the lab as a doctoral student in the School Psychology program! Chandler first joined the lab as an undergraduate research assistant. After receiving her B.S. in Experimental Psychology from UofSC in 2017, she was hired as a full-time research specialist in the lab. She quickly developed a rapport with participants and became a valuable member of the assessment team. As lead research specialist, she trained new lab members on multiple measures and took on additional responsibilities during staff transitions. Her acceptance to the School Psychology program was no surprise to those who work with her, and we’re thrilled that she’s chosen to embark on this next stage of her career as a member of the NDD Lab!

Congratulations, Chandler!

Demonstration of participants in our study

Dr. Roberts Named Carolina Distinguished Professor

Dr. Jane Roberts is one of two professors named as 2020 recipients of the Carolina Distinguished Professorship, one of the highest honors awarded to South Carolina faculty! The position honors professors who show excellence in scholarship, a commitment to students and their colleagues and overall participation in the life of the university.

You can read the full story here.

Please join us in congratulating our amazing PI on this outstanding achievement!

Conner Black at 2019 Gatlinburg Conference

Conner Black Awarded SPARC Grant!

Conner Black, a doctoral student in the NDD Lab, was recently awarded a grant from the USC Office of the Vice President for Research. The Support to Promote Advancement of Research and Creativity (SPARC) Graduate Research Grant is a merit-based award designed to ignite research and creative excellence across all disciplines at the University of South Carolina. Conner’s project, “Biological Mechanisms Related to Social Anxiety in Young Children with Fragile X Syndrome,” will allow us to extend our recruitment of EEG research.

Congratulations, Conner!

Autism Resource Fair

Autism Research and Resource Fair

The USC Early Social Development Lab and SPARK at MUSC are hosting an autism research and resource fair on February 15 at the USC Columbia campus! This free event will include research study opportunities such as SPARK enrollments and parent workshops on Toilet Training, Teaching Requests: Strategies to Improve Communication, and Social Skills/Executive Function. Representatives from local autism organizations will be onsite hosting activities for kids and talking about their services with the community. Childcare will also be available.

We’ll have a table at this event, so we hope to see you there!

For more information and to register for workshops, click here.

Erin Hunt

Welcome Erin Hunt!

We’re excited to introduce a new graduate student in our lab, Erin Hunt! Erin joined our team back in August and is currently a first year student in the Clinical Community Psychology program at UofSC.

Erin completed a B.S. in Cognitive Neuroscience with a minor in Chemistry from Fordham University in 2017. Throughout her undergraduate career, she worked in the Fordham Memory and Aging Lab as a research assistant and completed a senior thesis examining the effects of menstrual cycle phase on cognition and autobiographical memory. After graduation, Erin completed a two-year research assistantship at the Child Mind Institute’s Healthy Brain Network, a community-based research program aiming to identify biomarkers underlying mental health and learning disorders in children and adolescents. Her current research interests include exploring developmental trajectories of neurocognitive abilities, such as inhibitory control, in relation to maladaptive outcomes in both typically developing children and children with neurodevelopmental disorders.

NDD Lab at the Columbia Autism Speaks Walk

We were so excited to participate in the inaugural Columbia Autism Speaks Walk on November 10! We were joined by several other labs at USC that are currently recruiting participants for autism research.

You can learn more about research opportunities related to autism here:

Cartoon of a superhero brain

New Neuroscience Club at UofSC

There’s a new club for UofSC students who are interested in neuroscience! The Neuroscience Club was founded to foster a shared passion for learning about the brain. Open to every student regardless of their major, their purpose is to increase engagement and education of neuroscience by exposing students to the neuroscience research being conducted on campus. In addition to recruiting more students to the neuroscience minor, the club is interested in creating community support to bring a neuroscience major to UofSC.

They’re hosting several events throughout the semester to showcase diverse career opportunities in the interdisciplinary field of neuroscience. They also seek to bring awareness to mental health and brain disorders and diseases through community service.

For more information, check out their profile on Garnet Gate and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Silhouette of a head with a puzzle piece shaped cutout

UofSC Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders Center of Excellence

Dr. Jane Roberts and Dr. Jeff Twiss were recently awarded funding to develop a center of excellence for autism and neurodevelopmental disorders research at the University of South Carolina (UofSC). This initiative aims to build a multi-disciplinary, collaborative center for basic, clinical, and intervention research and education in autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. This exciting collaborative effort has the potential to impact prevention, diagnosis, treatment and interventions for autism and related disorders.

Learn more.

girls in a park

Do you have a daughter with autism?

Carla Wall, a doctoral student in the NDD Lab, is currently recruiting young girls with autism to participate in a limited study.

She is recruiting participants who meet the following criteria:

  • Girls (approx. 4-5 years old) with autism and a developmental delay
  • Families must live in Columbia, SC or be willing to drive to the USC Columbia campus

The study involves a play-based, interactive assessment of the child’s behavioral and developmental skills. The child will also participate in an eye-tracking experiment and will wear a small heartrate monitor throughout the assessment.

Participants will receive a $100 stipend for their time.

For more information about this opportunity, please contact Carla Wall by phone (803-777-5676) or email ([email protected]).

Learn how you can take part in our research