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University of Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training Message from the Directors 2015
About the Work Group on Autism Research and Training

Message from the Directors 2015





Debra Kamps, Ph.D.,





Kathryn Ellerbeck, M.D.,


The Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training was created in 2008 as the state’s first multidisciplinary center promoting research and training on the causes, nature and management of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). With $1 million in seed money from the University of Kansas and University of Kansas Medical Center, a $1 million gift from the Wanda and Tom Pyle estate, thousands of dollars in private donations and the dedication of researchers, K-CART has become a center of exciting innovation and discovery.

Findings from the investigators who received K-CART Discovery Grants and numerous external grants to our research partners at KU and KUMC have contributed to greater understanding of the causes, diagnosis and treatment of autism.

Our work has already led to evidence-based interventions to improve the lives of children and adults with autism.

K-CART clinical services and training activities provide earlier screening and diagnosis throughout the state through face-to-face clinics, telemedicine and statewide assessment teams. Our Comprehensive Research Information System database now allows us to track intake information, child and family history, and individual clinical and diagnostic results for families who access services, benefitting both families and researchers. Our clinical researchers will expand their collaboration with KUMC and Children’s Mercy Hospital pediatrics departments to improve diagnostics and increase research and treatment efforts.

Training efforts also have greatly expanded. With continued funding from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, the Autism Training Program has provided training to 623 professionals, paraprofessionals, family members and others since its start in 2008.

Clearly, this kind of synergy between visionary partners in training, research and clinical services is making a difference. The future is bright for many reasons. We have outstanding support and collaboration from our community, advisors, families and people with ASD who challenge us and reinforce our efforts. We have an impressive group of partners across campuses whose research and training accomplishments are nationally recognized.

Through the Strategic Initiative Grant program at KU, K-CART received funding for a new position, a joint appointment in the Clinical Child Psychology Program and the Life Span Institute, in collaboration with the pediatrics department at KUMC. These funds will take K-CART to the next level and fuel the synergistic work underway by a growing number of researchers.

We greatly appreciate the time and energy of our community and our partners who have enabled us to expand K-CART. We invite you to support and join us as we move forward to provide hope, resources and answers to improve the lives of children and adults with autism and their families across the Heartland and beyond.


Debra Kamps, Ph.D., Director

Kathryn Ellerbeck, M.D., Co-Director