Diana Robins, PhD

Director and Professor

Diana L. Robins, Ph.D. is director and professor at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, where she also leads the Research Program in Early Detection and Intervention for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Much of her work has centered around developing, validating and refining a widely used screening tool for ASD, the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers. The original M-CHAT paper has been cited more than 1,600 times, and the validation of the recent revision, M-CHAT-R with Follow-Up (M-CHAT-R/F), demonstrated that the 2-stage screening questionnaire detects many cases of autism, and children in the study were diagnosed about two years younger than the national median, which improves access to ASD-specific early intervention.

Her work has been published in leading pediatric and autism journals, including Pediatrics, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and Autism: The International Journal of Science and Practice.

In The News

How Do We Screen for Autism?
Diana Robins, PhD, director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, was quoted in an April 4 episode of KYW-Newsradio’s “In Depth” podcast about screening for autism in young children and her recently published research analyzing the autism screening tool M-CHAT, which was developed by Robins.
Community Newsletter: A Call To Bring Megastudy Might to Autism Behavioral Studies
Diana Robins, PhD, director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, and Anne Roux, a research scientist at the Institute, were mentioned in a Feb. 20 Spectrum News article about recent highlights in autism research including a conference where Robins was the keynote speaker and the launch of the Policy Impact Project from the Institute.
Drexel's Autism Institute Finds New Director In-House
Diana Robins, PhD, director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, was featured in a Nov. 27Philadelphia Business Journal story about her recent appointment as director of the Institute.
Recognizing Signs of Autism: How a Late Diagnosis Could Delay Crucial Intervention
Diana Robins, PhD, interim director and professor in the the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, was quoted in an Oct. 30 Fox News article about the effects of a delayed autism diagnosis for children and why parents and physicians might miss early signs of autism.
Standard Autism Screening Is Missing a Lot of Kids
Diana Robins, PhD, interim director and professor in the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, was quoted in a Oct. 1 Healthline article about a recent study that showed the standard autism screening was missing signs of autism spectrum disorder in many kids during their routine well-child visits.
Autism Rates Have Risen 44% in New Jersey, Experts Aren't Sure Why
Diana Robins, PhD, interim director and professor in the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, was quoted in an April 15 Healthline story about a recent CDC report on the rate of autism in 4-year-olds increasing in New Jersey.
In China, New Approach Offers Hope of Early Autism Diagnosis
Diana Robins, PhD, interim director of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, was quoted in an Oct.Spectrum News story about China's new approach to diagnosing autism at an earlier age.
Should We Screen All 2-Year-Olds for Autism?
Diana L. Robins, PhD, a research leader of Early Detection and Intervention in the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, was quoted in a Nov. 29 Slate story about screening 2-year-olds for autism.

Related Articles

doctor sitting with young child A.J. Drexel Autism Institute Finds Strong Performance of Autism Screener When Used as Intended
Newly published in JAMA Pediatrics, a study by Andrea Wieckowski, PhD, Diana Robins, PhD and their co-authors systematically reviewed and analyzed factors that may lead to different performance estimates of the M-CHAT(-R/F) tests. the most commonly used autism-specific screening tool for young children.
A family of three shopping for produce The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute Awarded $10 Million for Advancing Equitable Strategies and Reducing Barriers for Autistic Individuals of All Ages
Drexel University’s A.J. Drexel Autism Institute was awarded a 5-year, $10 million Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE) award from the National Institutes of Health to understand and reduce barriers to good health and health care access for people with autism. The project titled “Public Health and Autism Science advancing Equitable Strategies across the life course” (PHASES) will employ a public health research framework to examine health determinants, health services delivery and health inequity – especially in under-represented diverse populations – and the impact of these forces on autistic people’s health outcomes.
Two children with a group of adults and toys A.J. Drexel Autism Institute Researcher Awarded $11 Million Grant to Investigate Early Intervention Efforts
A researcher from the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute received a $11 million Autism Centers of Excellence grant from the NIH to look into how early detection and treatment efforts lead to better outcomes for children on the spectrum.
Logo for the National Autism Indicators Report 2015: Transition into Young Adulthood A.J. Drexel Autism Institute’s Report Cited as ‘Influential’ By Federal Autism Committee
The National Autism Indicators Report was selected by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee as one of the most influential pieces of research of 2015.
Diana Robins, PhD, of the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, plays with a toddler who is in the age range that she believes all children should be screened for autism spectrum disorder. Photo by Jeff Fusco. Toddler Screening Essential for Autism Detection Despite National Task Force’s Reservation
Given that earlier diagnoses have been found to be more beneficial for treating children on the autism spectrum, a Drexel professor and her colleagues believe universal screening in 18–24 month-old children remains essential, despite a federal task force deciding there is insufficient evidence to recommend it.