Dr. Sandra B. Vanegas, Ph.D., is a bilingual (English/Spanish) developmental psychologist and a Research Assistant Professor at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work. She also serves as the Clinical Training Director for the Autism Consortium of Texas LEND, and Director of Research for the Texas Center for Disability Studies. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Illinois LEND program at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Loyola University Chicago.
Her work focuses on identifying and addressing disparities that impact children and youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities from racial/ethnic minority and low-resource communities. She leads the Improving Developing Experiences for Autism and developmental disabilities (IDEA) research lab where she conducts culturally informed research with minoritized communities. She is currently the PI for the ASD Screening and Parent Engagement (ASPEN) Intervention Program Study (funded by NIDILRR 2019 – 2023, https://www.aspenprogramtx.org/), the TX-Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (funded by CDC 2023-2026), and the Diverse Language Experiences Project.
Outside of UT, she serves as a co-chair for the Cultural Diversity Committee as part of the International Society for Autism Research, where she guides programs and activities to increase the scope of autism research among and by underrepresented communities.