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Dr. Ted Carr, Leading Autism Reseacher Killed by Drunk Driver

Author: DJF
Written On: Mon, 22 Jun 2009

Edward G. Carr, 1947-2009

Dr. Edward "Ted" Gary Carr, professor of psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, died 20 June 2009 in an automobile accident. Professor Carr, who was known as “Ted” to friends and colleagues, conducted foundational studies about the functions that self-injurious behaviors served and contributed substantially to the development and refinement of methods known as “positive behavioral supports.” In addition, he assessed the benefits of teaching sign language to children with serious language problems such as Autism.
Professor Carr completed a doctoral degree at the University of California San Diego in 1973, worked briefly at the University of California Los Angeles, and then joined the faculty at Stony Brook where, in 2000, he was accorded the honor of an appointment as Leading Professor. During his tenure at Stony Brook he authored or co-authored scores of articles, chapters, monographs, and books, mentored many students, worked with organizations in the US and abroad, and founded and directed the Research & Training Center on Positive Behavior Support for Autism & Developmental Disabilities. His many publications include the books Communication-Based Intervention for Problem Behavior and How to Teach Sign Language to Developmentally Disabled Children.
Early in his career, Professor Carr began examining alternative explanations for self-injurious behavior among individuals with Autism, publishing “The Motivation of Self-injurious Behavior: A Review of Some Hypotheses” in the prestigious journal, Psychological Bulletin in 1977. Over the ensuing years he and colleagues increased the understanding of how self-injurious and other problem behavior might operate on the children’s environments, in effect serving a communicative function. He and others used this knowledge to develop and refine the procedures of functional behavior assessment. The work on humane means of reducing problem behaviors led Professor Carr and others to promote the methods of positive behavioral supports. Dr. Carr served on the Professional Advisory Board of the Autism Society of America. His wife, Dr. Ilene Wasserman was also killed in the tragic accident. They are survived by their 20 year old son.