Autism Child and Family Lab
Our lab, on the Mt. Scopus campus of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is committed to asking questions whose answers will improve the lives of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families.
To do this, our work takes two directions:
We seek to further understand the early presentation of ASD in order to assist in earliest possible diagnosis as a stepping stone to intervention.
We examine potential family and parent-mediated intervention mechanisms to better understand how to support children and families.
Dr. Judah Koller
I am a clinical child psychologist and assistant professor in the Seymour Fox School of Education at Hebrew University, where I chair the graduate program in special education and am a founder and associate director of the Autism Center. I am a member of the expert committee on autism that advises the Israeli Ministry of Health, the advisory committee for Hebrew University's Center for Disability Studies and the advisory committee for the Autism Center at Ben Gurion University.
I joined the faculty here after completing my postdoctoral fellowship with Kasia Chawarska at the Yale Child Study Center. Prior to that, I finished my doctorate in clinical child/school psychology with a specialization in infancy and early childhood at Ferkauf Graduate School for Psychology, Yeshiva University.
My work focuses on young children with autism, their families, and mechanisms of support.
Every once in a while I blog here about autism and disabilities.
Research Fellows/BA Students
Mishleen Abo Hatoum
Early Identification and Development
We are seeking to understand the initial diagnosis of ASD in Jerusalem. Working with Leumit Healthcare's Child Development Center in Jerusalem, we are examining the population of families arriving for an initial diagnosis. Through the identification of specific risk factors that may contribute to a later diagnosis, we aim to develop programs for counteracting these risk factors. Additionally, we are undertaking a longitudinal study to understand how factors at the time of diagnosis may associate with later developmental trajectories.
We are among the first groups in Israel to utilize an evidence-based parent training program for ASD. Working with the behavior analyst training program at Hebrew University, and using an empirically supported parent training program (Bearss et al., 2015), we are examining several related factors, including the applicability of the program to demographically diverse families and mediators of secondary gains from the intervention.
This project is funded by the Joseph Levy Foundation.
Working with collaborators within Hebrew University, we are evaluating the efficacy of current inclusion policy in Israel. This is a unique, large-scale study aimed at including variables related to the child, typically developing peers, families and schools, as well as the economic ramifications of various models of inclusion.
This project is funded by the Israeli Ministry of Education
Family Accommodation of RRBs
Working with collaborators at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center and Yale Univerisity, we are examining the degree to which parental accommodation of a child's RRBs is associated with the severity of these behaviors. This work is based on literature from OCD and anxiety disorders (e.g. Lebowitz et al., 2013). The ultimate goal of this project is to explore the viability of utilizing this accommodation as an avenue for intervention.
Koller, J., Shalev, R., Schallamach, C. Gumpel, T.G., & Begin, M. (2019). The role of demographics in the age of autism diagnosis in Jerusalem. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities.
Feldman, I., Koller, J., Lebowitz, E., Ben-Itzchak, E., Shulman, C., & Zachor, D. (2019). Family accommodation in autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities. doi.org/10.1007/s10803-019-04078-x
Koller, J. & Georgiades, S. (2019). Letter to the Editor: The balance between demands and capacity in autism. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology
Macari, S. L.*, Koller, J.*, Campbell, D. J. and Chawarska, K. (2017). Temperamental markers in toddlers with autism spectrum disorder . J Child Psychol Psychiatr. doi:10.1111/jcpp.12710
*equal contribution by first two authors