The Hussman Center for Adults with Autism supports research and scholarship activities aimed at improving the quality of life for adults with autism. Many departments and disciplines at Towson University have collaborated with the Hussman Center in conducting faculty-student research that addresses the needs and priorities of neuro-diverse adults. All research activities follow the Institute for Well-Being Research Application and Review Process.

 Current Research Studies 

Social Group study

The Hussman Center’s Friday Evening Social Group, brings together adults with autism and Towson University students for mutual learning and positive interactions. Dr. Charlotte Exner, Professor in the Dept. of Occupational Therapy & Occupational Science, led three recent studies about the Hussman Center Social Group with graduate students.  These studies were designed to both understand the participants’ perspectives about the Social Group and its value to them and to identify information important for disseminating this model to other colleges and universities in support of inclusion and community participation opportunities with similar age peers.  To date, three studies have been conducted: 

  1. The initial study in summer 2017 focused on key aspects of the Social Group as identified by a small group of participants as well as their perceptions and feelings about the Social Group.  
  2. One Spring 2018 study expanded information gathered via surveys of participants and included interviews to learn more about the participants’ perspectives of the key elements of the Social Group and its value to them.   
  3. The other Spring 2018 study addressed Social Group participants’ perceptions of their social and community participation and the Social Group’s influence on their participation in activities.  

Two additional studies of the Hussman Center Social Group model will be conducted during the 2018-2019 academic year with the involvement of a total of 10 graduate students in Occupational Therapy. For further information, contact Dr. Exner at 


 video behavior  modeling 

Dr. Kaitlyn Wilson, Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology at Towson University, is studying practical, efficient, and evidence-based intervention tools for use in community-based settings such as the HCAA. Specifically, she is conducting studies of video behavior modeling. This tool has been found to be a successful, cost-effective, and time efficient intervention tool for children on the spectrum; however, minimal research has investigated its use with adults on the spectrum, especially in community-based settings similar to the HCAA. Results of the study will provide valuable information to guide professionals and others choosing tools to support social communication success for adults on the spectrum.  To learn more about this research, contact Dr. Wilson at