Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel has been active in the development of programs to improve communication in children with autism, including the development of first words, grammatical structures, pragmatics, and social conversation. In addition to her published books and articles in the area of communication and language development, she has developed and published procedures and field manuals in the area of self-management and functional analysis that are used in school districts and by parents throughout the United States, as well as translated in other major languages. Dr. Lynn Koegel is the author of Overcoming Autism and Growing Up on the Spectrum with parent Claire LaZebnik, published by Viking/Penguin and available in most bookstores. Lynn Koegel and her husband, Robert, are the developers of Pivotal Response Treatment which focuses on motivation. The Koegels have been the recipients of many awards, including the first annual Children’s Television Workshop Sesame Street Award for “Brightening the Lives of Children”, the first annual Autism Speaks award for “Science and Research” and the International ABA award for “enduring programmatic contributions in behavior analysis.” In addition, Dr. Lynn Koegel appeared on ABC’s hit show “Supernanny” working with a child with autism. Their work has also been showcased on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and the Discovery Channel. The Koegels are the recipients of many state, federal, and private foundation gifts and grants for developing interventions and helping families with autism spectrum disorder.

All Publications

  • Development and validation of the Autism Communicative Skills Questionnaire (ACSQ); An autism screening measure in Farsi APPLIED NEUROPSYCHOLOGY-CHILD Soleymani, Z., Koegel, L., Mohammadzaheri, F., Peyghambari, M., Bajalan, M., Naderi Malek, A., Bakhshi, E. 2022: 1-12


    There has been a steady increase in the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) worldwide. However, screening tools that focus primarily on communicative development that are culturally sensitive and linguistically appropriate are needed, particularly in languages, such as Farsi, which is spoken in countries that may benefit from additional resources. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to develop and validate a screening tool, written in Farsi by Iranians, that focuses on communication and factors affecting the development of communication for children with autism. A variety of statistical analyses were conducted and implemented to assess the relevance of various questions related to communication, along with other behaviors that interfere with the development of communication, that may distinguish between children with and without ASD. Exploratory factor analysis was performed to examine the underlying structure of the Autism Communicative Skills Questionnaire (ACSQ). This study represents the first stage in the development of a comprehensive questionnaire to assist with the screening of areas that impact the development of social communication and are unique to ASD.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/21622965.2022.2092738

    View details for Web of Science ID 000820725500001

    View details for PubMedID 35785791

  • Neural Correlates of Enhancing Question Asking and Initiations in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Social neuroscience Mohammadzaheri, F., Koegel, L. K., Soleymani, Z., Khosrowabadi, R., Bakhshi, E. 2022


    Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) demonstrate challenges in various areas of social communication. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) targeting question-asking on brain activity in twenty 6-12-year-old autistic boys, using a Randomized Clinical Trial (RCT) design. Verbal children, diagnosed with autism, who lacked question asking in their communication were matched based on age and mean length utterance (MLU) and were randomly placed in either PRT intervention or treatment as usual (TAU) groups. Sessions were individually administered, lasting for 60 minutes three days a week for a two-month period. All children were tested before and after intervention to assess behavioral areas (questions, general communicative skills, and MLU) and both groups underwent electroencephalography for 10 minutes in open and closed eye resting-state conditions to assess neural correlates. Data were analyzed using covariance analysis and post-hoc using Mann-Whitney and Wilcoxon methods. Significant behavioral improvements in the PRT group were observed after intervention that correlated with changes in Electroencephalography (EEG) oscillations at several brain regions compared to the TAU group. The results of this study support other studies suggesting collateral neural changes following the PRT.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/17470919.2022.2054858

    View details for PubMedID 35296214

  • The Effect of Teaching Initiations on the Communication of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of autism and developmental disorders Mohammadzaheri, F., Koegel, L. K., Bakhshi, E., Khosrowabadi, R., Soleymani, Z. 2021


    This study examined the effect of Pivotal response treatment (PRT) to improve verbal initiations in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, age 6-12years old, using a Randomized Clinical Trial design. Intervention was conducted three times a week for 2 months, for a total of 24 one-hour sessions. The PRT intervention taught a variety of questions and attention/assistance-seeking initiations. The treatment as usual (TAU) group received standard language intervention. Results showed that the PRT group made significant improvements in their number of verbal initiations as well as collateral gains in general communicative skills and mean length of utterance (MLU) compared to the TAU group. Theoretical implications of including motivational approaches to develop social initiations are reviewed.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10803-021-05153-y

    View details for PubMedID 34296374

  • Using Self-Management and Visual Cues to Improve Responses to Nonverbal Social Cues in Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Behavior modification Cohen, S., Koegel, R., Koegel, L. K., Engstrom, E., Young, K., Quach, A. 2021: 145445520982558


    Many individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) experience challenges with social communication, including recognizing and responding to non-verbal cues. The purpose of this study was to assess the efficacy of self-management combined with textual cues to teach adults with ASD to recognize and respond to nonverbal expressions of boredom and confusion during social conversation. A multiple baseline across participants design was used to assess the efficacy of this intervention for three participants. Results showed substantial gains across all participants in their recognition and responsiveness to the targeted nonverbal cues. Moreover, this skill maintained after the completion of intervention and generalized to novel conversation partners and settings with large effect sizes. The findings add to the literature base on interventions for adults with ASD, and further support the use of self-management and textual cues as effective intervention strategies for improving nonverbal communication.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0145445520982558

    View details for PubMedID 34293935

  • Using a Question Bank Intervention to Improve Socially Initiated Questions in Adolescents and Adults With Autism. Journal of speech, language, and hearing research : JSLHR Koegel, L. K., Koplen, Z., Koegel, B., Koegel, R. L. 2021: 1–9


    Purpose Individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often have difficulty asking questions during social conversation, which can negatively impact their interactions with peers. The purpose of this study was to assess whether a question bank intervention would be effective in improving question asking during social conversation. Method In the context of a multiple-baseline experimental design, we implemented an intervention using prepractice with question banks designed to increase the number and diversity of questions asked by adolescents and adults with ASD during social conversations with their peers. Results Following intervention, all participants improved their use of questions in natural settings with their neurotypical peers. Generalization to novel questions occurred, and gains were maintained at follow-up. Finally, supplemental measures of social validity showed that similarly aged neurotypical peers who were naive to the experimental hypothesis rated two of the three participants with higher social desirability following intervention. Conclusion Individuals with ASD can improve their appropriate question asking during social conversation using a brief question bank intervention with generalization to their peers in natural settings.

    View details for DOI 10.1044/2021_JSLHR-20-00534

    View details for PubMedID 33820435

  • Improving Conversational Fluidity in Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder Using a Video-Feedback Intervention JOURNAL OF POSITIVE BEHAVIOR INTERVENTIONS Tagavi, D., Koegel, L., Koegel, R., Vernon, T. 2020
  • Use of a Videoconferencing Intervention and Systematic Hierarchy to Teach Daily Living Skills to Young Adults With Autism Spectrum Disorder JOURNAL OF POSITIVE BEHAVIOR INTERVENTIONS Ford, K., Wang, M., Koegel, L., Koegel, R. L., Fedders, A. 2020
  • Teaching Initiated Question Asking to Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Through a Short-Term Parent-Mediated Program. Journal of autism and developmental disorders Popovic, S. C., Starr, E. M., Koegel, L. K. 2020


    This study investigated whether a brief parent-mediated intervention would increase the frequency of question asking in children with ASD. Mothers participated in a 3-week training consisting of 2-h sessions twice weekly. Data were collected in the context of concurrent multiple baseline design. Results demonstrate all three children increased frequency of question asking with two children maintaining gains. All three children demonstrated generalization of question asking to novel items, family members, and/or settings. Affect improved for two of the three children. Overall, mothers were able to reach Fidelity of Implementation during most sessions and rated the intervention as highly acceptable. Results are discussed in regard to the feasibility of providing a short-term parent-implemented intervention to increase social initiations through question asking.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10803-020-04426-2

    View details for PubMedID 32112233

  • Definitions of nonverbal and minimally verbal in research for autism: A systematic review of the literature Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders Koegel, L. K., Bryan, K. M., Su, P., Vaidya, M., Camarata, S. 2020
  • Definitions of Nonverbal and Minimally Verbal in Research for Autism: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Journal of autism and developmental disorders Koegel, L. K., Bryan, K. M., Su, P. L., Vaidya, M. n., Camarata, S. n. 2020


    This systematic review examined definitions of "nonverbal" or "minimally verbal" and assessment measures used to evaluate communication in intervention studies focusing on improving expressive verbal communication in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). We reviewed sample size, number of participants, participant age, and male/female representation. Our analysis yielded relatively few studies with non/minimally verbal children with ASD focusing on verbal expressive communication. Further, we found large inconsistencies in measures used, definitions of "nonverbal" and "minimally verbal", and ages targeted. Guidelines are suggested to create a more uniform assessment protocol with systematic descriptions of early communication learners as a foundational step for understanding the heterogeneity in this group and replicating research findings for this subgroup of children with ASD.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10803-020-04402-w

    View details for PubMedID 32056115

  • Parent Education in Studies With Nonverbal and Minimally Verbal Participants With Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review. American journal of speech-language pathology Koegel, L. K., Bryan, K. M., Su, P. L., Vaidya, M. n., Camarata, S. n. 2020: 1–13


    Purpose The purpose of this systematic review was to identify parent education procedures implemented in intervention studies focused on expressive verbal communication for nonverbal (NV) or minimally verbal (MV) children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Parent education has been shown to be an essential component in the habilitation of individuals with ASD. Parents of individuals with ASD who are NV or MV may particularly benefit from parent education in order to provide opportunities for communication and to support their children across the life span. Method ProQuest databases were searched between the years of 1960 and 2018 to identify articles that targeted verbal communication in MV and NV individuals with ASD. A total of 1,231 were evaluated to assess whether parent education was implemented. We found 36 studies that included a parent education component. These were reviewed with regard to (a) the number of participants and participants' ages, (b) the parent education program provided, (c) the format of the parent education, (d) the duration of the parent education, (e) the measurement of parent education, and (f) the parent fidelity of implementation scores. Results The results of this analysis showed that very few studies have included a parent education component, descriptions of the parent education programs are unclear in most studies, and few studies have scored the parents' implementation of the intervention. Conclusions Currently, there is great variability in parent education programs in regard to participant age, hours provided, fidelity of implementation, format of parent education, and type of treatment used. Suggestions are made to provide both a more comprehensive description and consistent measurement of parent education programs.

    View details for DOI 10.1044/2019_AJSLP-19-00007

    View details for PubMedID 32243190

  • Targeting IEP Social Goals for Children with Autism in an Inclusive Summer Camp JOURNAL OF AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS Koegel, L., Glugatch, L. B., Koegel, R. L., Castellon, F. A. 2019; 49 (6): 2426–36
  • Targeting IEP Social Goals for Children with Autism in an Inclusive Summer Camp. Journal of autism and developmental disorders Koegel, L. K., Glugatch, L. B., Koegel, R. L., Castellon, F. A. 2019


    Children with autism spectrum disorder demonstrate challenges in socialization that can interfere with their participation in common childhood activities and can persist or worsen if not addressed. The purpose of this study was to assess whether individualized education program (IEP) social goals could be targeted by a supervised paraprofessional during a short-term inclusive summer camp program. Data were collected using a concurrent multiple baseline design across four children. Results showed that following a 2-week summer camp program all participants made social improvements, reaching their year-long IEP goals, that maintained at follow-up in natural environments. Further, the paraprofessionals reached fidelity of implementation. Findings are discussed in terms of the value and feasibility of providing social interventions in inclusive summer camps.

    View details for PubMedID 30927180

  • Interventions for nonverbal and minimally verbal Individuals with Autism: A systematic review International Journal of Pediatric Research Koegel, L. K., Bryan, K. M., Su, P., Vaidya, M., Camarata, S. 2019; 5 (2)
  • Communication and Autism Spectrum Disorder CURRICULA FOR TEACHING STUDENTS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDER Koegel, L., Ashbaugh, K., Chiang, H. M. 2017: 47–70
  • Feasibility and Effectiveness of Very Early Intervention for Infants At-Risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Systematic Review JOURNAL OF AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS Bradshaw, J., Steiner, A. M., Gengoux, G., Koegel, L. K. 2015; 45 (3): 778-794


    Early detection methods for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in infancy are rapidly advancing, yet the development of interventions for infants under two years with or at-risk for ASD remains limited. In order to guide research and practice, this paper systematically reviewed studies investigating interventions for infants under 24 months with or at-risk for ASD. Nine studies were identified and evaluated for: (a) participants, (b) intervention approach (c) experimental design, and (d) outcomes. Studies that collected parent measures reported positive findings for parent acceptability, satisfaction, and improvement in parent implementation of treatment. Infant gains in social-communicative and developmental skills were observed following intervention in most of the reviewed studies, while comparisons with treatment-as-usual control groups elucidate the need for further research. These studies highlight the feasibility of very early intervention and provide preliminary evidence that intervention for at-risk infants may be beneficial for infants and parents.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s10803-014-2235-2

    View details for Web of Science ID 000350306600015

    View details for PubMedID 25218848

  • A Descriptive, Multiyear Examination of Positive Behavior Support BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS Dunlap, G., Carr, E. G., Horner, R. H., Koegel, R. L., Sailor, W., Clarke, S., Koegel, L. K., Albin, R. W., Vaughn, B. J., McLaughlin, D. M., James, K. M., Todd, A. W., Newton, J. S., Lucyshyn, J., Griggs, P., Bohanon, H., Choi, J. H., Vismara, L., Minjarez, M. B., Buschbacher, P., Fox, L. 2010; 35 (4): 259-279