Michael Alessandri, Ph.D.

Professor of Clinical
Executive Director, UM Center for Autism & Related Disabilities
Assistant Chair, Community Outreach And Engagement

(305) 284-6558
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Dr. Michael Alessandri is the Executive Director of the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD). Dr. Alessandri has been a professor at UM since 1996 and has worked with individuals with autism and their families since 1981 in various capacities. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Rochester, and obtained his MS and Ph.D. in Psychology from Rutgers University. At the University of Miami, Dr. Alessandri, in addition to his other roles, also serves as the Department of Psychology’s Assistant Chairman for Community Outreach and Engagement.

Dr. Alessandri has presented, consulted and published internationally on developing appropriate and effective educational programs for students with autism. In addition, he has received numerous research and service grants and several notable awards within the field including the Autism Society of America’s Wendy F. Miller Autism Professional of the Year Award and National Autism Program of the Year for UM-NSU CARD.

Dr. Alessandri has also received numerous other community service awards, including the March of Dimes Community Excellence in Health Care Award (2007), the Health Services Coalition Outstanding Community Leader Award (2009), and the Parent to Parent Excellence in Family Advocacy Award (2010). He was also named one of the Ronald McDonald House's 12 Good Men (2008) and the Dewar's 12 Man of Distinction (2007). In 2012, he was selected by the Children's Trust as the David Lawrence Champion for Children, one of South Florida’s highest honors for community service. In 2016, Dr. Alessandri was named the Visionary Leader of the Year by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce; and in 2017, he was recognized by the Dade County Bar Association with the Fostering Inclusion and Diversity Award.



1992Ph.D. Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
1985B.A. Psychology University of Rochester

Professional Experience

1996 - Faculty, University of Miami
1992 - 1996Assistant Professor, San Jose State University
1993 - 1995Associate Director, Stanford University PDD Clinic
1989 - 1991Lecturer, Princeton University


My career has been spent in academic settings where I have balanced my interests in research, teaching, and community service with a unique content focus on autism spectrum disorders. My current role as clinical professor of psychology and executive director of the University of Miami Center for Autism and Related Disabilities allows me to maintain that balance of building systems of care for individuals on the autism spectrum and their family members while also contributing as a team member to building the evidence-base that supports such care. In terms of my current collaborative scientific contributions, I think they can be broadly conceptualized as belonging to four categories: (1) mobilizing community systems to enhance early screening and deploy effective interventions for young children at risk for autism; (2) evaluating specific behavior analytic instructional procedures for teaching individual learners with autism; (3) assessing educational (school-based) and clinical interventions for individuals with autism; and (4) exploring autism family adaptation and coping.

Representative Publications

Boyd, B.A., Hume, K., McBee, M.T., Alessandri, M., Gutierrez, A., Johnson, L., Sperry, L., & Odom, S.L. (2014). Comparative efficacy of LEAP, TEACCH and non-model-specific special education programs for preschoolers with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 44(2), 366-380.

Ekas, N.V., Timmons, L., Pruitt, M., Ghilain, C.S., & Alessandri, M. (2015). The power of positivity: Predictors of relationship satisfaction for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45. 1997-2007.