The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders focuses primarily on the development of novel behavioral interventions and strategies for better health outcomes for children with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders.  Our research provides important information on the underlying mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders as well as the efficacy of interventions in individuals with ASD, ADHD, and comorbid conditions.  Below are current research projects being conducted by The Center.  

Physical Exercise To Reduce Anxiety in underserved children with ASD

Autism Treatment Network (ATN)

The ATN is a major national research network consisting of 14 national and international sites. The purpose of this project is to help develop evidence-based protocols and standards of care for many of the most challenging medical conditions surrounding autism today.  

Autism and Gastrointestinal Dysfunction

The purpose of this study is to research the links between gastrointestinal symptoms and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The aim of this research program is to examine if successful treatment of functional constipation results in the improvement of ASD-related behaviors and oxidative stress. Please contact our research lab for more information at 949-267-0491. 

Career Development Counseling for Adolescents and Young Adults with ASD

The purpose of this project is to examine the success of a tailored career counseling tool for individuals with ASD. This tool provides an assessment of interests and skill development as well as progress monitoring. Please contact Jean Gehricke’s lab for more information at 949-267-0491.

The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Recruitment Database

The purpose of this research study is to collect consent from families to participate in a research database, the ATN Registry, and to be contacted about future research studies in autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. Please contact Jennifer Phan for more information at 949-267-0454.

Project SAM (Student-Assisted Minecraft Therapy)

This project focuses on the effects of Minecraft Therapy on attention, processing speed, and collaborative as well as creative activities.  Minecraft engineers are UCI students trained in coaching children with autism and ADHD. Please contact Jean Gehricke’s lab for more information at 949-267-0491.

Project SALT (Student-Assisted LEGO Therapy)

The aim of this project is to examine a curriculum designed to enhance vocal communication and social skills in a fun and creative atmosphere using LEGOs. Coaches are trained students from UCI, who will assist in building LEGOs, communication, and social skill development.  Please contact Jean Gehricke’s lab for more information at 949-267-0491.


Jean Gehricke, Ph.D.

Dr. Gehricke is a licensed Clinical Psychologist, Director of the Neurodevelopmental Lab,  and an Associate Professor at the UCI Department of Pediatrics.  Dr. Gehricke is well known for his scientific work on the underlying mechanisms of ASD, ADHD and comorbid drug abuse. He has been the Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on numerous research grants funded by the National Institutes of Health, Autism Speaks, the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Currently, he is expanding this research program by using brain-imaging techniques to better understand complex brain-behavior interactions.  In addition, Dr. Gehricke is developing novel behavioral interventions, which includes physical exercise, play therapy, and transition services for individuals with ASD.

We hope you’ll consider participating in a local or national research project that can help us create and disseminate new and more effective treatments for our children.  Your decision to participate in any study is completely voluntary and will not affect your child’s care at our center.





2500 Red Hill Ave
Suite 100
Santa Ana, CA 92705


Phone: 1.949.267.0400
Fax: 1.949.221.0004
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Founding Partners

University of California, Irvine Choc Childrens Chapman University William & Nancy Thompson Family Foundation Children & Families Commission of Orange County