Texas Tech University

Autism Spectrum Disorder: What Should You Know?

Amanda Castro-Crist

March 30, 2021

Texas Tech faculty, researchers and staff share their expertise during Autism Awareness Month.

Each April, faculty, researchers and staff at Texas Tech University's Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research share their expertise during Autism Awareness Month. Established in 2005 as part of the College of Education, the multidisciplinary, lifespan autism center is well known in the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) community for conducting, sharing and presenting collaborative, cutting-edge research on ASD treatment and training methodologies across the state and country and receiving numerous accolades along the way.

In March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect West Texas, many of the clinical and outreach services the center provided were temporarily closed to protect the community. Soon, faculty and staff found ways to continue offering services through telemedicine, virtual events and ongoing training, including through the Mobile Outreach Clinic for Autism (MOCA), the Transition Academy, the Connections for Academic Success and Employment (CASE) Program, the Texas Telehealth Outreach Clinic for Autism (TTOCA) and education and training offerings for autism educators and specialists.

Experts from the center are available to speak on a variety of topics related to autism.


Jennifer Hamrick, Burkhart Center interim co-director, board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) and assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership, (806) 834-0054 or jennifer.hamrick@ttu.edu

  • Director of MOCA, TTOCA and Autism Training Workshop Series
  • Areas of expertise:
    • Training and supporting families and caregivers of children with ASD in underserved, rural communities in West Texas.
    • Applied behavior analysis.
    • Rural and telehealth service delivery.
    • Special education programming in large school districts, including best practices when working effectively with students with special needs in public education.

Janice Magness, Burkhart Center interim co-director, Burkhart Transition Academy director, (806) 834-3725 or janice.magness@ttu.edu

  • Leads the Transition Academy and previously served as interim director of the Burkhart Center. During the COVID-19 pandemic, internships are on hold, but the Transition Academy continues to support students through social, vocational and life skills online classes that also include art and music.
  • Areas of expertise:
    • Working with individuals with ASD to assist them with job, social, independent-living and leadership skills.
    • Helping high school graduates with ASD gain and maintain employment.
    • Converting to online classes to continue to support students in the Transition Academy.
    • Providing support in the workplace for individuals with ASD who are seeking employment.

Taylor Fidler, CASE Program director, (806) 834-6002 or taylor.fidler@ttu.edu

  • Assists students with ASD and other related disabilities in navigating college.
  • Assists students with ASD and other related disabilities in seeking internships and employment related to their field of choice.
  • Areas of expertise:
    • Connecting students to college supports and resources.
    • Advocating for students with ASD through collaborative efforts on campus and in the community.
    • Helping students and families navigate the transition from high school to college.
    • Empowering students to reach their goals through increased self-advocacy and self-awareness.