Welcome to the web log in memory of Dr. Eric Schopler (1927-2006), a professor of psychiatry and psychology at UNC-Chapel Hill for more than 40 years and a pioneer in the humane and effective treatment of autism. In an era when parents were blamed for causing what was felt to be a psychological problem, Eric was one of the first to use empirical research to establish the true, neurological basis of autism and its effective treatment--treatment that included parents as co-therapists. His methods have been studied and adopted by autism programs around the world, bringing hope and brighter futures to thousands of families in dozens of countries. In the process, hundreds of people have come to know and admire him and have been privileged to call him "friend." This web log is dedicated to sharing and preserving the memories that these friends, family and colleagues have of this truly unique and great man.

Friday, May 20, 2005

TEACCH Founder Honored For 40 Years in Autism Research

In 1965, child psychologist Eric Schopler conducted ground-breaking research showing that autism is a developmental disorder, not an emotional illness. Schopler subsequently pioneered a treatment program for autistic children, resulting in the establishment of TEACCH — Treatment and Education of Autistic and related Communication-handicapped Children at UNC at Chapel Hill. It was the first state-supported, university-based program serving individuals with autism and their families.

Since it was founded, TEACCH has helped more than 5,000 people with autism and their families throughout North Carolina and indirectly helped tens of thousands around the world.

TEACCH marked this milestone year on May 20, 2005 with a gala at the Fearrington Barn at Fearrington Village. Proceeds from the event were used to endow a research professorship at UNC in Schopler's honor.

Gary Mesibov, TEACCH's director, presented Schopler with an award for his years of leadership and service. "Dr. Schopler is a global leader in the treatment of autism," Mesibov said. "Thousands of individuals with autism and their families are the beneficiaries of his leadership, research and discoveries. We are grateful to him for his hard work, dedication and achievements in this field." The award will be named the Eric Schopler Lifetime Achievement Award and will be given annually to a person in the field of autism research and treatment.

The celebration, "40 Years of Learning for Living," featured gourmet dining, dancing to bluegrass and country swing music and a live auction.


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