Clinical Faculty

Founder and Director

Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and is a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Laugeson is the Founder and Director of the UCLA PEERS Clinic, which is an outpatient program providing evidence-based social skills training for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities and other social challenges across the lifespan. Dr. Laugeson is also the Interim Director for the UCLA Tarjan Center, which is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Program Director for the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Internship Program at UCLA, and Program Director for Dissemination, Outreach, and Education at the prestigious UCLA Autism Center of Excellence. Dedicated to supporting those with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families, she has also held positions as Founding Director of The Help Group – UCLA Autism Research Alliance (2007 – 2017), Training Director for the UCLA Tarjan Center (2014 – 2021), Director of the UCLA Early Childhood Clubhouse Program (2007 – 2010), and Associate Director for the UCLA Parenting and Children’s Friendship Training Program (2007 – 2010).

Dr. Laugeson received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University and completed her pre-doctoral psychology internship in developmental disabilities at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. She was a two-time recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health in 2004 and 2006, the recipient of the Semel Scholar Award for Junior Faculty Career Development in 2008 and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Pepperdine University in 2010. Dr. Laugeson has been a principal investigator and collaborator on a number of nationally funded studies investigating social skills training for youth with social difficulties from preschool to early adulthood and has authored four books related to social skills including the critically acclaimed, The Science of Making Friends. 

As the developer of PEERS, Dr. Laugeson has trained tens of thousands of mental health professionals, educators, and families worldwide, and is dedicated to developing, testing, and disseminating evidence-based treatments to improve social skills for those with neurodevelopmental disabilities across the lifespan and across the globe. As one of the only empirically supported and internationally recognized social skills programs for autistic youth, her programs are currently used in over 125 countries and have been translated into over a dozen languages. Her work has been featured is numerous media outlets, including People Magazine, USA Today, the Washington Post, LA Times, New York Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and the Netflix series, Love on the Spectrum.

Clinical Instructor/Attending Psychologist/Director of Training/Certified PEERS Trainer

Shannon Bates, Psy.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private practice in Los Angeles. Dr. Bates facilitates our parent/social coach groups across our preschool, teen, and young adult programs. She also leads PEERS Training Seminars for the adolescent, school-based, and young adult curricula. Dr. Bates was the UCLA PEERS Clinic Coordinator from 2010 to 2012, during which time she led teen, young adult, and parent/caregiver groups. She also co-led domestic and international PEERS Training Seminars alongside Dr. Laugeson. Dr. Bates obtained her undergraduate degree at Virginia Tech and her Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University. She completed her internship training at the VA Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center and her postdoctoral fellowship at the VA Long Beach Healthcare System, where she specialized in the treatment of young adults and adults with severe mental illness, including trauma, chronic depression, addiction, suicidality, and self-harm.

Junior Faculty Instructor

Leila Glass, Ph.D. is a neuropsychology postdoctoral fellow at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior in the lifespan track at the Medical Psychological Assessment Center (MPAC). She also works as a postdoctoral fellow within the UCLA PEERS clinic, facilitating social skills groups and conducting clinical intake interviews. Dr. Glass received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and previously worked at the NIH as a trainee. She completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in San Diego and completed her internship at UCLA in the Pediatric Neuropsychology track. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Glass has been the recipient of several NIH grants and her research has focused on the academic, behavioral, and cognitive outcomes associated with prenatal alcohol exposure and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Her primary interests lie in understanding the neurobehavioral profiles associated with developmental disabilities to inform targeted intervention.