Faculty / Staff Resources Student Resources
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Grace Baranek PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA (she/her/hers)

Grace Baranek PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Associate Dean, Chair and Mrs. T.H. Chan Professor of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

CHP 100D
(323) 442-2875
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Grace Baranek is a prolific scholar and internationally renowned expert on sensory features of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She earned her bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of Illinois at the Medical Center and both her master’s and PhD degrees in psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to her 2016 appointment as associate dean and chair of the USC Chan Division, she was a professor and associate chair for research in the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy Department of Allied Health Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Beginning in 2003, Dr. Baranek was the Principal Investigator of the Sensory Experiences Project funded by the National Institute Health (NIH) National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The 10-year study totaling more than $4.5M in NICHD grant funding aimed to explain the developmental course, mechanisms and functional effects of sensory features in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Sensory features are highly prevalent in children with ASD and may impact daily activities, routines and social participation.

During her career, Dr. Baranek has served as either the Principal or Co-Principal Investigator of extramural grants funded by the NIH/NICHD, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Education, the Autism Speaks Foundation, and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). She has been a member of working groups of the National Academy of Science and the NIH to establish guidelines for evidence-based practices for children with ASD.

She has co-authored more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in interdisciplinary publications including Autism Research, Autism, the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and the American Journal of Occupational Therapy (AJOT). She is also the lead author of the First Years Inventory, a screening tool for infants aged 9-15 months who are at risk for a later diagnosis of ASD.

In 2016, Dr. Baranek was a co-recipient of the AOTA Cordelia Myers AJOT Best Article Award and in 2013 she received the American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology Editor’s Award. She has received the American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF) A. Jean Ayres Award and in 2008 she was inducted into the AOTF Academy of Research. She is also a Fellow of the American Occupational Therapy Association. In 2022, she was named a Fellow of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), a recognition of autism researchers who have made significant international impacts.


Selected Publications


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