Amy M. Wetherby, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Amy is a Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences and Director of the Autism Institute in the Florida State University College of Medicine and the Laurel Schendel Professor of Communication Disorders. She has over 40 years of clinical experience with Honors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Her research has focused on improving the early detection of autism and communication disorders and providing community-viable evidence-based early intervention for toddlers with autism and their families. She is the Executive Director of the Florida State University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. She served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee for Educational Interventions for Children with Autism and on the DSM-5 Neurodevelopmental Workgroup of the American Psychiatric Association. She is the Project Director of the FIRST WORDS Project, a longitudinal research investigation on early detection of communication delay and ASD, funded by the US DOED, NIH, and CDC. She was the Principal Investigator (PI) of two randomized controlled trials (RCTs), an efficacy study of the Early Social Interaction (ESI) model to teach parents of toddlers with ASD how to embed intervention strategies in their everyday activities funded by NIMH and another efficacy study training teachers to support communication of students with ASD in the classroom funded by US DOED. She has unique research and clinical expertise infusing technology to improve early detection and parent-implemented early intervention. As Director of the FIRST WORDS Project, she has extensive experience developing and implementing screening tools for ASD and communication delays in large population-based samples of children 9-24 months of age, funded by the US DOED, NIH, and CDC, which has culminated in the development of Baby Navigator. She is the lead investigator of an RCT that is part of the Emory Autism Center of Excellence to test the efficacy of teaching parents of infants with early signs of ASD how to embed evidence-based intervention strategies into everyday activities. She is co-developer of Autism Navigator®, an innovative collection of online tools and courses designed to bridge the gap between science and community practice using a highly interactive web platform with extensive video footage to illustrate effective evidence-based practice. She is also PI on a new collaborative research grant funded by NIMH to implement an effective RCT of Mobile Coaching with the ESI model for parents of toddlers with ASD identified at 18 months. The overarching goal of the collective efforts of my research is to build the capacity of healthcare and education systems to improve early detection and provide access to cost-efficient early intervention that is feasible for far-reaching community implementation.