• Dr. O’Kelley is the Director of the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Clinic at UAB Civitan-Sparks Clinics; she is also involved in psychology and interdisciplinary clinical training as the UAB LEND training director. She currently serves as leader of a state work group focused on Developmental Screening and Surveillance for Autism Spectrum Disorders (Act Early Alabama state team). Her clinical interests include cognitive and diagnostic assessment, individual and group therapy approaches, and school consultation for children with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. Dr. O’Kelley is a certified provider of the PEERS program developed at UCLA (for more information about UAB PEERS email: PEERS@uab.edu).

    Dr. O'Kelley has been involved in research and clinical activities with individuals with ASD and their families for 15 years. She completed her predoctoral internship at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Psychology Internship Training Consortium, and was a LEND postdoctoral fellow at UAB Civitan-Sparks Clinics. From 2006 to 2008, a portion of her postdoctoral fellowship included a position of Program Coordinator for the University of Alabama Autism Spectrum Disorders College Transition and Support program (UA-ACTS), a program she helped develop and implement. Dr. O’Kelley is a member of the International Society for Autism Research and American Psychological Association and is active in the Alabama Autism Providers Network.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title Altmetric
    2022 Pathways From Child Maltreatment to Proactive and Reactive Aggression: The Role of Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Clusters 2022
    2022 Pathways to Suicidal Behavior in Children and Adolescents: Examination of Child Maltreatment and Post-Traumatic Symptoms 2022
    2022 Using “Learn the Signs. Act Early” to Influence the Caregiver and Educator Relationship and Increase Collaboration of Developmental Monitoring in Early Head Start SettingsEarly Childhood Education Journal2022
    2021 Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of the Clinical Utility of the ADOS-2 and the ADI-R in Diagnosing Autism Spectrum Disorders in ChildrenJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.  51:4101-4114. 2021
    2021 An Examination of Post-Traumatic Stress Symptoms and Aggression among Children with a History of Adverse Childhood ExperiencesJournal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment.  43:657-670. 2021
    2021 Testing a Tailored Social-Ecological Model for Autism Spectrum DisordersMaternal and Child Health Journal.  25:956-966. 2021
    2021 Profile of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Tuberous Sclerosis Complex: Results from a Longitudinal, Prospective, Multisite StudyAnnals of Neurology2021
    2020 Epilepsy Risk Prediction Model for Patients With Tuberous Sclerosis ComplexPediatric Neurology.  113:46-50. 2020
    2020 Comorbid Internalizing and Externalizing Symptoms Among Children with ADHD: The Influence of Parental Distress, Parenting Practices, and Child RoutinesChild Psychiatry and Human Development.  51:813-826. 2020
    2020 Pilot Study of Neurodevelopmental Impact of Early Epilepsy Surgery in Tuberous Sclerosis ComplexPediatric Neurology.  109:39-46. 2020
    2020 Examining the sustained use of a cognitive behavioral therapy program for youth with autism spectrum disorder and co-occurring anxietyResearch in Autism Spectrum Disorders.  73. 2020
    2020 Effect of Co-occurring Psychiatric Disorders on Treatment of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and AnxietyJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders2020
    2019 Scalp EEG spikes predict impending epilepsy in TSC infants: A longitudinal observational studyEpilepsia.  60:2428-2436. 2019
    2019 Tuberous Sclerosis Complex Genotypes and Developmental PhenotypePediatric Neurology.  96:58-63. 2019
    2019 Impacting development in infants with tuberous sclerosis complex: Multidisciplinary research collaborationAmerican Psychologist.  74:356-367. 2019
    2019 Predicting Child Behavior: A Comparative Analysis between Autism Spectrum Disorder and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity DisorderJournal of Child and Family Studies.  28:668-683. 2019
    2019 Increased electroencephalography connectivity precedes epileptic spasm onset in infants with tuberous sclerosis complexEpilepsia.  60:1721-1732. 2019
    2018 High vigabatrin dosage is associated with lower risk of infantile spasms relapse among children with tuberous sclerosis complexEpilepsy Research.  148:1-7. 2018
    2018 The Relationship Between Treatment Acceptability and Youth Outcome in Group CBT for Youth with ASD and Anxiety 2018
    2018 Predicting Internalizing and Externalizing Symptoms in Children with ASD: Evaluation of a Contextual Model of Parental FactorsJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.  48:1261-1271. 2018
    2018 Training clinicians to deliver group CBT to manage anxiety in youth with ASD: Results of a multisite trial.Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.  86:205-217. 2018
    2017 Changes in intrinsic local connectivity after reading intervention in children with autismBrain and Language.  175:11-17. 2017
    2017 Presentation and diagnosis of tuberous sclerosis complex in infantsPediatrics.  140. 2017
    2017 Utility of the Autism Observation Scale for Infants in Early Identification of Autism in Tuberous Sclerosis ComplexPediatric Neurology.  75:80-86. 2017
    2017 “Decoding versus comprehension”: Brain responses underlying reading comprehension in children with autismBrain and Language.  169:39-47. 2017
    2017 From word reading to multisentence comprehension: Improvements in brain activity in children with autism after reading interventionNeuroImage: Clinical.  16:303-312. 2017
    2012 Care of the newbornFP essentials.  399. 2012

    Research Overview

  • Dr. O'Kelley's research interests include cognitive and behavioral phenotypes of individuals with ASD (previous collaborative and independent studies have included evaluating implicit learning, central coherence, and theory of mind paradigms), screening and early identification (i.e., evaluating validity of screening tools), sibling and family functioning (i.e., the broader autism phenotype and behavioral difficulties in siblings of children with ASD), group social skills interventions, and issues across the lifespan for individuals with ASD. She actively collaborates with investigators within Psychology, throughout UAB, and across the country on funded research projects. She supervises a number of student/trainee projects as a co-director (along with Kristi Guest) of the ASD Database Group at the UAB LEND evaluating clinical data obtained regarding children referred for ASD assessment.

    Cognitive and behavioral phenotypes of children and adults with ASD, ASD treatment-outcome, family functioning in ASD and other developmental disabilities, screening and interdisciplinary diagnosis of ASD
  • Investigator On

  • Alabama Regional Autism Center  awarded by ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH
  • Alabama Regional Autism Center  awarded by ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH
  • Early Biomarkers of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Infants with Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (Fixed Costs)  awarded by CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL (BOSTON)
  • MCH Leadership in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities  awarded by Health Resources and Services Administration/DHHS
  • Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders  awarded by Health Resources and Services Administration/DHHS
  • PPHF 2013: OSTL TS Partnerships-CBA of the Public Health System  awarded by ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY CENTERS ON DISABILITIES
  • Sirolimus TSC Epilepsy Prevention Study (STEPS)  awarded by CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL MEDICAL CENTER (CINCINNATI)
  • Stopping TSC Onset and Progression 2: Epilepsy Prevention in TSC Infants (STAGE 2)  awarded by CINCINNATI CHILDREN'S HOSPITAL
  • The Effectiveness and Feasibility of a School-Based Social Skills Intervention for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders  awarded by Organization for Autism Research
  • The Efficacy Of A Visualizing Reading Intervention On Improving The Brain's Reading Network In Children With Autism  awarded by National Institute on Deafness & Other Communication Disorders/NIH/DHHS
  • UAB Regional Autism Network (RAN)  awarded by ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH
  • UAB Regional Autism Network (RAN)  awarded by ALABAMA DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH
  • UCEDD: Alabama Center for Developmental Disabilities, Education, Research and Service  awarded by Administration on Developmental Disabilities/ACF/DHHS
  • Education And Training

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology, University of Alabama 2006
  • Full Name

  • Sarah O'Kelley