UW News

July 23, 2009

Vanderbilt researcher, clinician named director of UW Autism Center

Wendy Stone, a researcher and clinician who has focused on the early identification of and early intervention with children with autism, has been named the new director of the UW’s Autism Center.

Stone, who is currently the director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders and the Marino Autism Research Institute at Vanderbilt University, will assume her UW position next May.

She succeeds Geraldine Dawson, the founding director of the UW Autism Center, who left the University to become the chief science officer of Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy group and fundraising organization for scientific research. In addition to being director of the Autism Center, which is headquartered in the Center on Human Development and Disability at the UW, Stone will have an appointment as a professor of psychology.

“Wendy Stone is exactly the kind of dynamic director we were looking for,” said Ana Mari Cauce, dean of the UW’s College of Arts & Sciences. “She is world-renowned for her research on the developmental aspects of autism spectrum disorders and for her work on developing techniques to aid in the early identification and intervention for children with these disorders. She also provides our students with a wonderful opportunity to learn from someone who is a thoughtful leader and highly respected in her field.”

When Stone assumes her duties at the UW she will hold the Susan and Richard Fade endowed chair that was recently created for the director of the Autism Center. The chair is the second major gift made by the Fades to the center. In 2000, their $5 million gift helped create the center.

Stone earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Williams College in 1975 and then received her master’s degree and doctorate (clinical psychology) from the University of Miami in 1978 and 1981, respectively. After two years in private practice as a child clinical psychologist, she joined the faculty in psychology and pediatrics at Miami. In 1988, Stone went to Vanderbilt, where she eventually became a professor of pediatrics and of psychology and human development.

In addition to numerous research papers on autism, Stone is the author of a book for parents, Does My Child Have Autism?

“Dr. Stone is one of the leading researchers in the field and she is a highly regarded clinician, an outstanding teacher and mentor, and has been at the forefront of professional training for community providers for many years,” said Michael Guralnick, director of the UW’s Center on Human Development and Disability.