Newswise — STONY BROOK, N.Y., January 19, 2018 -- A new study that involves behavioral treatment approaches for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) combined with theatrical techniques, such as scripted and improvised role play, may help to reveal if theatrical techniques during treatment help improve the social skills and emotional abilities of ASD children and youths.

Stony Brook University is one of three institutions nationwide to test the impact of this form of therapy. The research and therapy is being funded by a four-year $3 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

Matthew Lerner, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry & Pediatrics, leads the Stony Brook aspect of the clinical trial. The therapy is based on a unique intervention program called SENSE Theatre.

Dr. Lerner anticipates the trial will set a bar for similar studies in the future and broaden the range of evidence-based practices for treating youth with autism.



About Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University is going beyond the expectations of what today’s public universities can accomplish. Since its founding in 1957, this young university has grown to become a flagship as one of only four University Center campuses in the State University of New York (SUNY) system with more than 26,000 students and 2,600 faculty members, and 18 NCAA Division I athletic programs. Our faculty have earned numerous prestigious awards, including the Nobel Prize, Pulitzer Prize, Indianapolis Prize for animal conservation, Abel Prize and the inaugural Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics. The University offers students an elite education with an outstanding return on investment: U.S. News & World Report ranks Stony Brook among the top 50 public universities in the nation. Its membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU) places Stony Brook among the top 62 research institutions in North America. As part of the management team of Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University joins a prestigious group of universities that have a role in running federal R&D labs. Stony Brook University is a driving force in the region’s economy, generating nearly 60,000 jobs and an annual economic impact of more than $4.6 billion. Our state, country and world demand ambitious ideas, imaginative solutions and exceptional leadership to forge a better future for all. The students, alumni, researchers and faculty of Stony Brook University are prepared to meet this challenge.