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The F.U.N. Lab at the University of Notre Dame


Welcome to the F.U.N. Lab

Welcome to the homepage of the Laboratory For Understanding Neurodevelopment.  We are a group of researchers, clinicians, and students who share a common interest in understanding neurodevelopmental disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  

Currently, we are working to understand Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). We are interested in how individuals with ASD (including Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and PDD) understand language in order to improve treatment of the disorder.

*Please note that the F.U.N. Lab will be taking a break this summer and will not be checking our voicemail very often. However we will check it periodically and return your calls as soon as possible. Have a great summer!

College Students on the Spectrum

College Students on the Spectrum is currently recruiting adults  on the autism spectrum that are currently attending or have attended in the past a four-year college or university.   We are looking for ways to better support those with ASD in achieving their goal of completing a bachelor’s degree in their chosen field.   Participants do not need to have finished a degree, only to have attended a four-year college or university for at least 1 semester.  Participants will earn $50 for their time and effort by participating in this focus group.   If you or someone you know qualifies for this study and you are interested in participating, please let us know by calling 574-631-5729 or emailing

Building Resilience through Emotion and Memory

The Shaw Center at the University of Notre Dame invites you to participate! We are looking for children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) between ages 4 – 6 to participate with their mother in our project!  We’d like to know more about how young children remember and how parents and kids talk about the past.   You will be asked to participate in 2 visits (1.5 -2 hours each) at the Shaw Center for Children and Families at Notre Dame. The sessions will involve talking, playing and reading a book together, some questionaires and activities for your child that are designed to be fun and engaging.  Your family can earn up to $50 in Target gift cards and 2 books or toys for your child..  We welcome your questions!  If you are interested in more information, or in signing up for the study, contact Christina McDonnell at 574-631-0943 or email at

Career Academy Robotics (CAR Club)

The CAR Club actively seeking participants for  an after school club that will be meeting on Mondays from 5:00-6:15 at Career Academy South Bend.  We are currently enrolling adolescents who will be in 7th-9th grade during the 2016-2017 academic year at Career Academy South Bend, who may find a robotics club interesting and helpful.  This club is designed to decrease social anxiety and improve social and vocational skills.  The club is fun, and at the same time, conducive to learning important vocational and collaborative skills.  Participants will be assigned to participate in either the fall or spring semester.  Your child will receive a $30 gift card for his/her participation.  If you are interested in finding out more please call us at 631-5729 or email us at

Communication and Family Relations Project

*Opportunity in South Bend, Goshen and Ft. Wayne, Indiana*

The Communication and Family Relations Project is currently recruiting participants for a new program that focuses on the unique strengths and challenges faced by families that include a child with an intellectual or developmental disability.  We are looking for couples who are married or cohabitating, with a typically developing adolescent between the ages of 11 – 17 and a child  with any type of intellectual or developmental disability (including ASD) who resides in the home.  Families will be asked to visit one of our locations between 5 and 7 times over the course of a year to complete questionnaires, have discussions as a family, and receive research-based information about family communication and relationships. Visits will last between 1 and 2.5 hours each, and families can receive as much as $295 for their participation in the project. For more information, please call us at (574) 631-5729 or email us at

Student Spotlight

A F.U.N. Lab senior research assistant, Andrew Flatley, was featured in the College of Science News for his work at Johns Hopkins during the summer of 2015. We are proud of Andrew for representing the F.U.N. Lab and for all of his hard work and commitment. Click here to view the article.

Congratulations to Jamon Pulliam who was recently honored at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in San Antonio Texas.  Jamon was given an award for his outstanding presentation of his research based on the F.U.N. Lab's Summer Science Camp.  Jamon worked at the Notre Dame F.U.N. Lab this summer before retuning to Tuskegee Univerisity. 

Congratulations to Michelle Won for  receiving a grant from the Autism Science Foundation.  The Autism Science Foundation grant, which is an extremely competitive grant, is aimed at  highly qualified undergraduates interested in pursuing basic and clinical research relevant to autism spectrum disorders during the summer. Michelle will be working with us this summer on the Family Relations and Communication Project.

Congratulations to Whitney McWherter for receiving a Senior Recognition Award.  This award was designed to recognize a select few graduating majors who have distinguished themselves through consistently high levels of achievement in their course work, their research activities, and in their service to the department, university and community.  Whitney received this award for all her hard work in the Psychology Department.

Congratulations to Catherine “Grace” Connolly for receiving the  Ancora Imparo Award.  This award is given to a communicative sciences and disorders major who is outstanding in scholarship, leadership, character, and service. It is the highest honor within the department. Grace’s name will be engraved on a plaque in the new Judd Leighton Speech and Language Clinic.

Congratulations to the F.U.N. Lab's senior research assistant, Elizabeth Klinepeter on earning a 2013 Student Leadership Award. The Student Leadership award is given to 10 Notre Dame undergraduates "who best exemplify the spirit of Notre Dame in social, recreational, residental, service and religious activities that promote the welfare of the University and extended communities. "She was nominated in part for her leadership in the Best Buddies program. Elizabeth has accepted a full scholarship to attend the University of Florida for graduate work in School Psychology.

The F.U.N. Lab's senior research assistant, Stephanie Mazur, was featured in the Science Pre-Professional Department's Student Spotlight. We are very proud of Stephanie and of all our wonderful students that work so hard to make the F.U.N. Lab possible. Click here to view the article.

Keywords: Autism, Autism in Indiana, Autism Research at Notre Dame