IAR - Clinical & Community Programs

In addition to conducting high level research, members of the IAR are committed to serving the community and individuals with autism and related developmental disorders through provision of effective intervention and treatment programs, as well as consultation with parents, educators, and clinical providers. The following is a list of programs currently being offered by members of the IAR. Some of these involve community-based programming and others involve programs that are part of a research study.


summerMAX 2023 

The comprehensive summer social development program (summerMAX) for 7-12 year old autistic children without intellectual disability (ID) will be conducted 5 days a week for 5 weeks during the summer at Canisius University.  The program will run from 8:50 to 4:10 each day. The focus of the summer program is to teach social skills and provide multiple opportunities to practice the skills.  Specifically the program addresses 4 main areas that are problems for autistic children without ID: social skills, interest expansion, interpretation of non-literal language (idioms), and face and affect recognition.  Each day is divided up into five 70 minute treatment cycles.  The first 25 minutes of each 70 minute cycle consist of instruction that includes role play and modeling.  After the instruction period, the children participate in a 45 minute therapeutic activity in which they practice the skills they were just taught in a cooperative group activity.  

summerMAX has been running since the summer of 2003. We have conducted three randomized clinical trials that have shown the program is effective.  While summerMAX is a treatment program, the kids report that they view it as a summer camp.  The children go swimming twice a week and on end-of-the-week field trips.  All the clinicians who work in summerMAX are college students who are given extensive training in how to implement the manualized treatments.  All clinicians must demonstrate competence in implementing the protocol before they can work in the program.

The 2023 summerMAX program will be conducted Monday through Friday (8:50 AM-4:10 PM), over 5 weeks from June 26, 2023 through July 28, 2023.  

The program is open to families of 7-12 year old autistic children without ID that have participated in IAR programs (summerMAX, schoolMAX, or MAXout) in prior years as well as children we have not served before if there are openings.   

To apply or for further information, please contact the IAR at @email or 716-888-2800. 

If your child has not participated in IAR programs and you would like to apply, please submit the following information to the IAR:

  • Documentation of Diagnosis/Prior Evaluation reports (psychological, psychiatric, and/or speech and language reports)
  • Family Information Form (required) – please print, complete, and submit
  • Most recent IEP or 504 Plan (if child receives special education services)

Submit via mail, email, or fax to:

Institute for Autism Research
Canisius University
2001 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14208
Fax Number: (716) 888-8540
Email: @email

WNY Sibshop

The WNY Sibshop at Canisius University is a program dedicated to the common concerns and challenges faced by the siblings of individuals with developmental disorders. Having a family member with a serious developmental disorder can have a profound effect on the lives of the whole family. The Sibshop is designed to increase opportunities for peer support and information for the siblings of such individuals. The program also works to increase overall understanding of ways that parents and health providers can better relate to and address sibling issues. Ultimately, the affected children will benefit from this effort, as understanding and ways of coping are achieved by their siblings. Trained staff an environment where the siblings feel safe and comfortable and are free to openly talk about their relationships with their brothers and sisters. The program includes games, discussions, and bonding experiences for the siblings who attend. This is a time for them to be the focus of attention and feel special.

Plans are underway to conduct a Sibshop Session during the 2021-2022 school year although this will be dependent upon what COVID restrictions are in place at that time. 

To register and/or learn more information about the Sibshop program contact Susan K. Putnam, PhD, WNY Sibshop Director, at @email or (716) 574-9217.