Laura B. Silverman, Ph.D.

Laura B. Silverman, Ph.D.

Contact Information

University of Rochester Medical Center
School of Medicine and Dentistry
601 Elmwood Ave, Box 671
Rochester, NY 14642

Office: (585) 275-5962
Administrative: (585) 275-0355
Fax: (585) 275-3366

Research Bio

I have two primary research interests: 1) characterizing features of verbal and non-verbal communication in individuals with autism; and 2) defining diagnostic features of autism in special populations.

The focus of my work on verbal and nonverbal communication includes examining how well individuals with autism understand gestural communication, and how these skills relate their ability to navigate in the social world. I am also interested in identifying underlying cognitive processes that impede communication for people with autism. In particular, I have conducted research on cross-modal integration of gesture and speech in individuals with autism. The overarching goal of this research is to define areas of communicative strengths and weaknesses, identify possible explanations for these weaknesses, and create interventions to support improved communication in autism.

My interest in diagnosis includes examining behavioral features of individuals in special populations and those with co-morbid mental health conditions, in order to increase the accurate diagnosis of autism in individuals with more complex developmental and psychiatric profiles. This research is also designed to decrease the misdiagnosis of autism in individuals who present with significant social and communicative difficulties of a non-autistic etiology. Current work includes a project designed to increase the accuracy of diagnostic information conveyed to families when their child is first diagnosed with autism. The goals of this study include improving patient-practitioner communication, increasing treatment compliance, and improving treatment outcomes for children with autism.

Awards & Honors (Local)

Dissertation Award - Best Behavioral Dissertation | International Meeting For Autism Research (IMFAR) 2008 - 2008
Helen and Vincent Nowlis Award for Excellence in Teaching | Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology | University of Rochester 2003 - 2003
Cum Laude in Psychology | Vassar College 1996

Recent Journal Articles

Silverman LB, Bennetto L, Campana E, Tanenhaus MK. "Speech and gesture integration in high-functioning autism." Cognition. 2010; 115: 380-393.
Silverman, L.B.; Minshew, N.J.; Bennetto, L. "Semantic processing and verbal recall in adults with autism." Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society. 2002; 8: 235.

Current Appointments

Assistant Professor - Department of Pediatrics, Neurodevelopmental & Behavioral Pediatrics (SMD) - Primary


PhD | Clinical Psychology | University of Rochester2007
MA | Clinical Psychology | University of Rochester2002
BA | Psychology | Vassar College1996

Post-Doctoral Training & Residency

Fellowship in Developmental Disabilities at Strong Memorial Hospital- GME Office09/01/2006 - 06/30/2008