Texas Tech University


The Burkhart Center maintains an active agenda of research activities. Our focus is on conducting research that identifies effective interventions for individuals with autism, illuminates the behavioral and physiological underpinnings of autism, and informs professional training and development of teachers and other therapists who work with students with autism. Burkhart Center investigators and their partners at Texas Tech and other universities around the country are working hard to improve the lives of people with autism every day.

A Sample of our Current Research Activities, Grants, and Partnerships

Evaluating the Impact of Theater and Dance activities on Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders

In partnership with the School of Theater and Dance Mark Charney, Linda Donohue, Winter Davis, and community partners such as T. Mark Frazier, the Director of the Center for Performing Arts Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, the Burkhart Center is exploring how exposure to the arts can improve the lives of children and adults with ASD. These projects include the evaluation of theater classes for elementary and high school classes and through the activities of an integrated theatre group of adults with ASD and Theater and Dance students, the Burktech Players.

Investigating the Impact of the Television Show Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood on Young Children with ASD.

In partnership with faculty in the Media and Communications Eric Rasmussen and Human Development and Family Life Malinda Calwell, the Burkhart Center has explored the impact of the PBS television show on the skills of young children with and without ASD.


Using Robots and Eye Tracking Technology to Explore Issues Related to Early Intervention with Young Children with ASD

In partnership with colleagues in Human Development and Family Life Ann Mastergeorge and Media and Communications Andy King and Glenn Cummins, Burkhart Center doctoral student Rebecca Beights is exploring the effect of the use of robots on early intervention programming for young children with ASD.

The Burkhart Center will also soon be home to Dr. Ann Mastergeorge's Eye Tracking Laboratory.

NAO robots

Child with robot in research

Exploring the Impact of Therapy Animals on Young Children with ASD

Sasha Protopopova in the College of Agricultural Sciences is conducting a study looking at the impact of therapy dogs in early intervention therapy sessions with young children with ASD. Families interested in participating in that study can find more information in the flyer below.