The Center for Autism Education Research at Shrub Oak was created to explore, analyze, and call attention to a wide range of salient topics pertaining to quality education of autistic students, at Shrub Oak, and globally. Led by Dr. Caitlin Sweetapple, Shrub Oak Director of Research, the Center conducts an ongoing critical review of pertinent autism education research to ensure programmatic alignment, improvement, and best practices with our students. Additionally, the Center aims to develop and conduct cutting edge, novel research in the field of autism education. Our ultimate goal is to shed light on best practices that provide autistic students with a safe, welcoming, and productive educational experience.  


The Shrub Oak International School (SOIS) IRB is an administrative body established to protect the rights and welfare of human research subjects (students, staff, parents, etc.) recruited to participate in research affiliated with SOIS.  

The IRB is responsible for reviewing proposed research projects involving human participants prior to their participation recruitment and study commencement. The IRB has the authority to approve, disapprove, require modifications, and monitor all research activities that fall under its jurisdiction.  

The administrative body is comprised of individuals with varying experience, expertise, and background to ensure a complete review of all studies submitted to the IRB. All IRB members have the professional experience necessary to provide an appropriate ethical review. The body includes nine voting members comprised of a chairperson, six voting members with various backgrounds, one scientist voting member, and one voting member who is not affiliated with SOIS. 

If you are interested in conducting research at SOIS, please email Dr. Caitlin Sweetapple, Director of Research, at for further information.  


Thomas Jefferson University


Shrub Oak is proud to partner with Thomas Jefferson University Synesthetic Research and Design Lab at the College of Architecture and the Built Environment and the Jefferson Center for Autism and Neurodiversity. Our partnership includes research to create a more inclusive educational space for neurodiverse learners.



Shrub Oak is officially a SMARTlab Hub! SMARTlab promotes user-driven, transdisciplinary research, leveraging Creative Technology Innovations for social change. In addition, Shrub Oak participates in SMARTlab’s practice-based PhD, bringing novel research to our organization.

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