Autism Institute

austim2.jpgIt is the mission of the Autism Institute of Gwynedd Mercy University to support scientifically research-based best practices for individuals with autism. The Institute strives to identify needs, seek appropriate funding and structure, and provide services that utilize the University's resources to contribute to the development and educational progress of persons on the autism spectrum.

Establishing the Autism Institute

Gwynedd Mercy University's Autism Institute was founded by Deborah Schadler, PhD, Assistant Dean of GMercyU’s School of Education. She uses her more than 35 years of experience working with special needs children to develop the most scientifically-researched experiences available in the area.

There are more than one million children on the autism spectrum in America, an epidemic that brings countless concerns and issues for the parents and educators who care for the fastest-growing population of special needs children. Gwynedd Mercy University saw a need to address this issue by educating our aspiring teachers and community members, thus becoming the driving force behind the creation of the Autism Institute.

The Institute’s hands-on workshops, professional development activities, on-site service programs and educational presentations at conferences provide research-based best practices for students majoring in special education, as well as teachers and administrators, parents of children on the autism spectrum and any interested community members.

Hundreds of certified teachers in Pennsylvania have received Act 48 or PQAS credit hours through our programs. All programs emphasize the importance of early diagnosis and treatment of children showing symptoms of ASD, as well as the presentation of evidence-based best practices for use across the lifespan of a person on the spectrum.

Annual Conference

The signature offering of the Institute is the annual Autism Conference held each April. The conference is free and provides approximately 15 workshops each of 1 ½ hours in length. These workshops cover a wide variety of professional topics by leading professionals in the area. The Autism Institute is dedicated to assisting in identifying and providing for the needs of the local community.

The 16th Annual Autism Institute Conference will take place on April 1, 2023. It is open to professionals, preparing professionals, and family members; the event is free and offers ACT48, PQAS credits, and OT CEU's. Registration opens January 2023; click here for more details!


To collaborate with the Institute or to find out more information, please contact:
Dr. Deborah Schadler
215-646-7300 ext. 21160

To learn more about the Special Education Certification programs available at Gwynedd Mercy University, visit our School of Education page.