A.J. Schwichtenberg, PhD

Research Interests

Developmental trajectories in early childhood, at risk development, developmental disabilities (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder), sleep health, social-emotional development


In 1995 I met Adam, a young boy with autism, and worked on his home-based intervention team. Teaching Adam was my first experience with autism and his developmental trajectory shaped much of the education, training, and clinical experience I pursued as an undergraduate at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. During the time I worked with Adam and his family, I received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Communications and developed my skills in the areas of autism treatment, inclusion practices, and family stress and coping. My passion for autism was sparked by Adam and grew with each family I worked with. After graduation, I longed to continue helping families and expand my understanding of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), so I pursued a graduate degree under the mentorship of Dr. Betty Black at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Shortly after my arrival in WI, Dr. Black passed away and unfortunately she was the only faculty member actively working in the area of autism. I was able to complete my Master's thesis, which addressed the roles of intervention intensity in maternal stress and well-being in families raising a child with ASD.

While at the University of Wisconsin, I was fortunate to obtain a position with Dr. Julie Poehlmann at the start of her longitudinal study of self-regulation in children at risk for developmental disabilities. My dissertation was an extension of this study. My dissertation, which was funded by a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F31) from NICHD, was a prospective longitudinal study that followed infants born preterm from hospital discharge to 24 months post-term. This study focused on the dynamic nature of parent-child relations and the development of sleep in this at risk population. Although this project and my dissertation were fulfilling and rewarding experiences, I wanted to work with families raising children with ASD again and sought postdoctoral opportunities to return to ASD research.

I was delighted when I secured a postdoctoral training position at the M.I.N.D. Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelopmental Disorders) at the University of California, Davis. The Autism Research Training Program (ARTP) provided a rich curriculum of developmentally-based training in epidemiology, genetics, brain development, neuroimaging, neurophysiology, neurotoxicology, immunology, and the early identification and treatment of ASD. Mentored by Sally Ozonoff, Ph.D., my ARTP research included applying my knowledge of early parent-child relations to children at risk for ASD (infant siblings of children with ASD) within an ongoing prospective longitudinal study. My training at the M.I.N.D. with Drs. Thomas Anders and Beth Goodlin-Jones also expanded my knowledge of sleep assessment and my understanding of sleep in ASD.

Building on the wide breadth of training provided at the M.I.N.D. Institute, I received a career transition award from the NIMH (K99/R00) which combined my interests in autism and sleep development. I joined the Purdue team at the start of 2013 and my current research at Purdue includes: early ASD identification, sleep development in ASD, dyadic interactions in families raising children with ASD, sleep and at-risk development, and improving sleep assessment methods. Please feel free to contact me to learn more.

In 2016, I joined the Purdue Autism Cluster and serve as a Co-Director. I am proud to report we are now the Purdue Autism Research Center (PARC) and I have been honored to serve as one of the Co-Founders.

In the News

WXIN (Fox Indianapolis)
Think 4 Hours of Sleep is Enough, Purdue Sleep Experts Say Think Again
WBAA, Indiana Public Radio
Purdue Autism Research Center Expands, Allows for Additional Federal Funding
Purdue News
Collaboration Expected to Expand with New Autism Research Center at Purdue
Pediatric Sleep Council
Purdue Study Seeks to Improve Early Diagnosis of Autism Using Sleep Pattern
WBAA, Indiana Public Radio
Purdue Study Seeks to Improve Early Diagnosis of Autism

Current Studies

Family Routines Intervention

We are actively enrolling young children and their mothers to participate in a free social communication intervention with the Developmental Studies Laboratory at Purdue University!

In this parent-mediated intervention, families are provided with supportive strategies to foster their child’s social development during everyday family routines (e.g., feeding, diaper changes, indoor play). Each treatment session/week focuses on one routine and how to facilitate social communication development.

For more information, view the flyer here.

Selected Publications

  • Abel, E. A., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Mannin1, R., & Marceau, K. (in press). Brief report: A gene enrichment approach applied to sleep and autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., Abel2, E., Keys2, E., & Honaker, S. (in press). Diversity in pediatric behavioral sleep intervention studies. Sleep Medicine Reviews.

  • Young, G. S., Constantino, J., Dvorak, S., Belding, A., Gangi3, D., Hill, A., Hill., M., Miller, M., Parikh, C., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Solis, E., & Ozonoff, S. (in press). A video-based measure to identify autism risk in infancy. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

  • Kellerman, A. M., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Tonnsen, B. L., Posada, G., & Lane, S. P. (2019). Dyadic interactions in children exhibiting the broader autism phenotype: Is the BAP distinguishable from typical development? Autism Research, 12, 469-481.

  • Miller, M., Iosif, A., Young, G. S., Bell, L. J., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Hutman, T., & Ozonoff, S. (2019). The dysregulation profile in preschoolers with a family history of autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry, 60, 516-523.

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., Kellerman2, A., Miller, M., Young, G., & Ozonoff, S. (2019). Mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder: Play behaviors with infant siblings and social responsiveness. Autism, 23, 821-833.

  • Abel, E. A., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Brodhead, M., & Christ, S. (2018). Sleep and challenging behaviors in children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 48, 3871-3884.

  • Choe, J., Montserrat, D., Schwichtenberg, A. J., & Delp, E. (2018). Sleep analysis using motion and head detection. Proceedings of the IEEE Southwest Symposium on Image Analysis and Interpretation, USA, 29-32.

  • Gangi, D. N., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Iosif, A. M., Young, G. S., & Ozonoff, S. (2018). Gaze to faces across interactive contexts in infants at heightened risk for autism. Autism, 22, 763-768.

  • Honaker, S., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Kreps, T., & Mindell, J. (2018). Real world implementation of infant behavioral sleep interventions: Results of a parental survey. Journal of Pediatrics, 199, 106-111.

  • Ozonoff, S., Gangi, D., Hanzel, E., Hill, A., Hill, M., Miller, M., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Steinfeld, M., & Iosif, A. (2018). Onset patterns in autism: Variation across informants, methods, and timing. Autism Research, 11, 788-797. Advance online publication. doi:10.1002/aur.1943

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., Choe, J., Kellerman, A., Abel, E. A., & Delp, E. (2018). Pediatric videosomnography: Is automated sleep scoring possible? Frontiers in Pediatrics, 6, 158.

  • Seidl, A., Cristia, A., Soderstrom, M., Ko, E., Abel, E. A., Kellerman, A., & Schwichtenberg, A. J. (2018). Infant-mother acoustic synchrony relates to autism risk status. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 1-12. doi:10.1044/2018_JSLHR-S-17-0287

  • Gangi, D. N., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Iosif, A. M., Young, G. S., & Ozonoff, S. (2017). Gaze to faces across interactive contexts in infants at heightened risk for autism. Autism. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/1362361317704421

  • Kranz, S., Brauchla, M., Campbell, W. W., Mattes, R. D., & Schwichtenberg, A. J. (2017). High protein and high dietary fiber breakfasts result in equal feelings of fullness and better diet quality in low-income preschoolers compared to their usual breakfast. Journal of Nutrition, 147, 445-452. doi:10.3945/jn.116.234153

  • Miller, M., Iosif, A. M., Hill, M., Young, G. S., Schwichtenberg, A. J., & Ozonoff, S. (2017). Response to name infants developing autism spectrum disorder: A prospective study. Journal of Pediatrics, 183, 141-146. doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2016.12.071

  • Chung, D., Choe, J., O’Haire, M., Schwichtenberg, A. J., & Delp, E. J. (2016). Improving video-based heart rate estimation.Proceedings of the IS & T International Symposium on Electronic Imaging, USA, 1-6. doi:10.2352/ISSN.2470-1173.2016.19.COIMG-159

  • Esbensen, A. J., & Schwichtenberg, A. J. (2016). Sleep in neurodevelopmental disorders. International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities, 51, 153-191. doi:10.1016/bs.irrdd.2016.07.00

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., Christ, S., Abel, E. A., & Poehlmann-Tynan, J. A. (2016). Circadian sleep patterns in toddlers born preterm: Longitudinal associations with developmental and health concerns. Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 37, 358-369.

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., Hensle, T., Honaker, S., Miller, M., & Ozonoff, S. (2016). Sibling sleep – What can it tell us about parental sleep reports in the context of autism? Clinical Practice in Pediatric Psychology, 4(2), 137-152.

  • Choe, J., Chung, D., Schwichtenberg, A. J., & Delp, E. J. (2015). Improving video-based resting heart rate estimation: A comparison of two methods. Proceedings of the IEEE 58th International Midwest Symposium on Circuits and Systems, 377-380.

  • Poehlmann, J., Gerstein, E., Burnson, C., Weymouth, L., Bolt, D., Maleck, S., & Schwichtenberg, A. J. (2015). Risk and resilience in preterm children at age 6. Development and Psychopathy, 27(3), 843-858.

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., & Malow, B. (2015). Melatonin treatment in children with developmental disabilities. In J. Herman & M. Hirshkowitz (Eds.), Sleep Medicine and Psychiatric Illness, 10(2), 181-187.

  • Ozonoff, S., Young, G. S., Belding, A., Moore Hill, M., Hill, A., Hutman, T., Johnson, S., Miller, M., Rogers, S., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Steinfeld, M., & Iosif, A. (2014). The broader autism phenotype in infancy: When does it emerge? Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescents Psychiatry, 53(4), 398-407.

  • Burnson, C., Poehlmann, J., & Schwichtenberg, A. J. (2013). Effortful control, positive emotional expression, and behavior problems in children born preterm. Infant Behavior and Development, 36, 564-574.

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., Shah, P., & Poehlmann, J. (2013). Sleep and attachment in preterm infants. Infant Mental Health, 34(1), 37-46.

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., Young, G. S., Hutman, T., Iosif, A., Sigman, M., Rogers, S., & Ozonoff, S. (2013). Behavior and sleep problems in children at risk for autism. Autism Research, 6(3), 169-176.

  • Anders, T., Iosif, A., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Tang, K., & Goodlin-Jones, B. (2012). Sleep behavior and daytime functioning: A short-term longitudinal study of three preschool-aged comparison groups. The American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 117(4), 275-290.

  • Poehlmann, J., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Hahn, E., Miller, K., Dilworth-Bart, J., Kaplan, D., & Maleck, S. (2012). Compliance, opposition, and behavior problems in toddlers born preterm or low birthweight. Infant Mental Health, 33(1), 34-44.

  • Anders, T., Iosif, A., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Tang, K., & Goodlin-Jones, B. (2011). Six-month sleep-wake organization and stability in preschool age children with autism. Behavioral Sleep Medicine, 9(2), 92-106.

  • Poehlmann, J., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Shlafer, R., Hahn, E., & Friberg, B. (2011). Emerging self-regulation in high risk infants: Differential susceptibility to parenting? Development and Psychopathology, 23(1), 177-193.

  • Poehlmann, J., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Bolt, D., Hane, A., Burnson, C., & Winters, J. (2011). Infant physiological regulation and maternal risks as predictors of dyadic interaction trajectories in families with a preterm infant. Developmental Psychology, 47(1), 91-105. 

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., Anders, T., Volbrecht, M., & Poehlmann, J. (2011). Daytime sleep and parenting interactions in infants born preterm. Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, 32(1), 8-17.

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., Islof, A., Goodlin-Jones, B., Tang, K., & Anders, T. (2011). Daytime sleep patterns in preschool children with autism, developmental delay, and typical development. The American Journal on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, 116(2), 142-152.

  • Poehlmann, J., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Shah, P., Shlafer, R., Hahn, E., & Maleck, S. (2010). The development of effortful control in children born preterm. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 39(4), 522-536.

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., & Goodlin-Jones, B. (2010). Causes and correlates of frequent nighttime awakenings in early childhood. International Review of Neurobiology, 93, 177-191.

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., Young, G., Sigman, M., Huntman, T., & Ozonoff, S. (2010). Can family affectedness inform infant sibling outcomes of autism spectrum disorders? Journal of the Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 51(9), 1021-1030.

  • Goodlin-Jones, B., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Iosif, A., Tang, K., Liu, J., & Anders, T. (2009). Six-month persistence of sleep problems in young children with autism, developmental delay, and typical development. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 48(8), 847-854.

  • Poehlmann, J., Schwichtenberg, A. J., Dilworth-Bart, J., & Bolt, D. (2009). Predictors of depressive symptom trajectories in mothers of infants born preterm or low birthweight. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(5), 690-704.

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., & Poehlmann, J. (2009). A transactional model of sleep-wake regulation in infants born preterm or low birthweight. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 34(8), 837-849.

  • Schwichtenberg, A. J., & Poehlmann, J. (2007). Applied behaviour analysis: Does intervention intensity relate to family stressors and maternal well-being? Journal of Intellectual Disabilities Research, 51(8), 598-605.


  • Postdoctoral Autism Research Training Program, 2010, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, Davis

  • PhD, 2008, Human Development and Family Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison

  • MS, 2004, Human Development and Family Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison

  • BS, 1997, Psychology and Communications, Hamline University

AJ Schwichtenberg

Associate Professor

Courtesy Appointments:
   Psychological Sciences
   Speech, Language, and Hearing

Past Co-Director:
Purdue Autism Research Center

Faculty Associate:
Center for Families

MS, University of Wisconsin, Madison 
PhD, University of Wisconsin, Madison
ARTP, University of California, Davis
   M.I.N.D Institute

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