Research & Innovations

We are committed to training, research, program development and policy efforts that contribute to our field, the growth of our students, and the well being of people in our Autism community. Highlights of relevant activities include:

Project ALLIES – Autism Language and Learning in Inclusive Educational Settings

(2018 – present) Interdisciplinary Preparation of Highly Qualified Speech-Language Pathologists and Special Educators to Support Diverse Students on the Autism Spectrum with Significant Social-Communication Needs; Personnel Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention and Related Services (CFDA 84.325K) U.S. Department of Education (OSERS) Co-Directors: Betty Yu (SLHS) and Pamela Wolfberg (Special Education); Funded $125,000,000. Learn more about Project ALLIES.

Autism Shelter-and-Play Project

Dedicated to sharing accessible online resources for parents/family members, educators, therapists, caregivers and others to engage with diverse learners on the autism spectrum in joyful and creative social experiences. We offer you an assortment of projects from Autism Spectrum Studies students at San Francisco State University and featured guests (including those who identify as autistic). These contributions are a reflection of our collective efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. Co-created by Pamela Wolfberg (Department of Special Education) with Project ALLIES scholars Suttera Sumonte (SLHS) and Lauren Wheeler-Dubin (Special Education) 

Autism and Bilingualism Research

Many parents and professionals worry that exposing children with autism to more than one language would cause them to be confused or further delayed. The body of research on bilingualism/multilingualism and autism remains small, but the emerging findings have shown consistently that children with autism and other developmental disabilities can and do learn more than one language successfully. We currently know little, however, about how to best support heritage language learning in children on the autism spectrum. The goals of the Autism & Heritage Language Research Lab at San Francisco State University are to understand the factors that affect heritage language maintenance in families of children with autism and to investigate whether children on the autism spectrum demonstrate unique needs when learning more than one language.

For more information, please contact the principal investigator, Dr. Betty Yu

Student Research

Student explores how pets help people with autism Click here to learn more

more to be added...

Past Projects

Project Common Ground: Preparing Highly Qualified Speech-Language Pathologists to Meet the Communication Needs of Children [on the] Autism Spectrum in Diverse Settings.

(2011 - 2019) Personnel Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention and Related Services (CFDA 84.325K) U.S. Department of Education, OSERS.
Project Director, Betty Yu (SLHS), with Co-Director, Pamela Wolfberg (Special Education). Learn more about Project Common Ground.

Project Mosaic: Preparing Highly Qualified Educators to Meet the Unique Needs of Learners on the Autism Spectrum in Diverse Settings

(2006-2011) Personnel Preparation in Special Education, U.S. Department of Education, OSERS (#H325K060211) Project Director, Pamela Wolfberg (Special Education).

Integrated Play Groups: Promoting Symbolic Play, Social Engagement and Communication in Children [on the] Autism [Spectrum] Across Settings with Typical Peers

(2008-2012) Autism Speaks Treatment Award Grant (clinical research) PI, Pamela Wolfberg, SFSU; Co-PI, Elliot Turiel, UC Berkeley; Research Coordinator, Mila DeWitt, Trumpet Bahavioral Services with researchers Kristen Bottema-Beutel, Boston College, Gregory S. Young, MIND Institute, UC, Davis, Thanh Nguyen, University of Massachusetts, Boston and research assistance from many wonderful students and colleagues. click here to view our study in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Integrated Play and Drama Groups for Children and Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum

(2008-2013) Transcooperative Research, University of Rostock, Germany, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with matching funds from the Flora Family and Mendelson Family Foundations. Co-Principal Investigators: Henri Julius, University of Rostock, Germany with Pamela Wolfberg, SF State with researchers Ina Janke, David Neufeld and Thanh Nguyen with research assistance from other wonderful graduate students.