The Jaswal Lab at the University of Virginia is committed to building a world where autistic people are valued, supported, included, and welcomed.


To conduct meaningful, useful, and interesting autism research, inspired and informed by autistic people, their families, and the community.


  • Investigate the cognitive and social processes underlying communication and social interaction to better understand and support autistic individuals
  • Model diversity and acceptance by providing opportunities for members of the community to access and contribute to autism research as collaborators, rather than just as participants
  • Translate research findings into effective, innovative, and useful models to enhance the lives of children and adults with autism
  • Disseminate knowledge to inform practices, improve supports, and guide services for individuals with autism and their caregivers
  • Train future generations of researchers and practitioners to become leaders in the field of autism


Excellence in the Field of Autism Research. Conduct high-quality and rigorous research that asks important questions and employs innovative methods.

Presume Competence. Recognize that all individuals are capable of learning, participating, and communicating.

Inclusion and Respect. Ensure that the people who are most affected by the research have a voice in it by seeking out and embracing the perspectives of autistic collaborators.

Ethics and Professionalism. Abide by high principles of ethical and professional conduct during all aspects of research, training, service, and dissemination of information.


The Jaswal Lab (formerly known as the Child Language & Learning Lab) opened at the University of Virginia in 2003. For about 15 years, we addressed questions about typical child development. We studied how children learn about the world, as well as how they reason about themselves and other people. Dr. Jaswal, his students, and colleagues conducted studies to better understand word learning, categorization, memory development, and social cognition. 

An opportunity to learn more about the science and lived experience of autism steered the lab in a new direction. We currently work with a diverse group of colleagues and collaborators to investigate communication and social interaction in autism. To learn more about our research, visit our Research page.