This project will develop a new component of the Special education Ph.D. program at the University of North Texas (UNT), which will focus on the preparation of personnel to assume leadership roles in the area of autism research, education, and training. The program will provide intensive, high quality doctoral training to prepare personnel to become recognized leaders in institution of higher education, Federal and State organizations and local education agencies and service centers. This is an interdisciplinary program built on a foundation of mentorship collaboration, and to become effective applied researchers, program developers/evaluators, policy analysts, and university instructors. The program will target both full and part-time students and will provide individualized professional development opportunities to meet each other's unique research, training, and leadership objectives. No fewer than 12 students will be selected to participate in the project throughout the four year program. A special focus of student recruiting will be to attract parents of children with autism to the program. Elements of the program include: (a) required internships and field experiences; (b) curricula focusing on empirically-demonstrated best practices in the area of autism intervention; (c) the development and enhancement of university/school district collaborations; and (d) a strong emphasis on grant writing and management.