Dr. Connie Kasari named 2020 President-Elect for INSAR

Dr. Connie Kasari

Connie Kasari, PhD, principal investigator and one of the founding members of the UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART) at UCLA, is the 2020 President-Elect for the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR). INSAR is a scientific and professional organization devoted to advancing knowledge about autism. It was formed in 2001 and is governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors who oversee all functions of the Society. Various committees assist the Board in carrying out the INSAR mission. INSAR hosts an annual meeting convened each spring, which is the Society’s scientific meeting to exchange and disseminate new scientific progress among autism research scientist and their trainees from around the world. INSAR also publishes the Society’s research journal, Autism Research. Dr. Kasari has plans for INSAR. “INSAR is the largest cross disciplinary and international society for the study of autism, and I am very excited to be part of the executive board again (I was secretary in 2013-2015). We will be planning several new initiatives particularly around current world events, including remote learning access and Black Lives Matter” says Dr. Kasari. She began her one-year term as INSAR President-Elect in May 2020, which will be followed by a two-year term as INSAR President starting in May 2021.

Dr. Kasari is one of the world’s leading experts in autism research and treatment and has studied the development of children with neurodevelopmental disorders for over 30 years. She is a Distinguished Professor of Human Development & Psychology in Education and Psychiatry at UCLA and is the principal investigator for several multi-site research programs at CART. Her research program has centered on the development and testing of novel early interventions to address specific social, communication, and cognitive areas of development of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Down syndrome, or other rare disorders (e.g., Dup15q, Tuberous Sclerosis Complex). In particular, Dr. Kasari is known for developing therapies that work effectively in real-world settings such as the home and classroom, including JASPER (Joint Attention, Symbolic Play, Engagement, and Regulation). JASPER is a treatment approach based on the integration of developmental and behavioral principles. The model uses naturalistic strategies to target the foundations of social-communication in terms of joint attention, imitation and play. Increasingly, her work is aimed at underserved, under-represented, and understudied populations of children using novel methodological designs (e.g., adaptive treatment designs), community-partnered participatory research, and implementation science methods. Learn more about Dr. Kasari and her research by visiting the Kasari Lab website.