About the Director

Leann Smith DaWaltLeann Smith DaWalt, PhD


Waisman Center
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1500 Highland Ave
Rooms S101A
Madison, WI 53705-2280



Leann Smith DaWalt is the Director of the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at the Waisman Center.

She earned a doctoral degree in developmental psychology from the University of Notre Dame in 2006. Then, DaWalt started working at the Waisman Center as a fellow with Marsha Mailick, PhD, and Jan Greenberg, PhD. In 2008, she became a Waisman Center researcher in the Lifespan Family Research Program. Her research focuses on:

  • How intellectual and developmental disability affects the family system.
  • How families and communities can support the development of people with disabilities across their lives.

DaWalt is the Principal Investigator (PI) of several intervention studies focused on teens and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She uses the results of long-term research to make timely and effective treatments and services for people with ASD and their families.

Waisman Center Staff Profile