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Whitney J. Detar, PhD

Antioch University Santa Barbara

Whitney J. Detar, PhD, BCBA-D, received her PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2013, specializing in differential diagnosis and therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Following her interdisciplinary training, she has worked to bridge disciplines and collaborate to enhance practitioner training and disseminate empirically validated practices worldwide. She has taught at several institutions of higher education at various levels, including Antioch Santa Barbara, UCSB, and Cal State Channel Islands, among others, and through various modalities (on-ground, online, & blended) in Clinical and Developmental Psychology, Education, Applied Behavior Analysis and others.

She has experience chairing doctoral dissertation committees and has graduated 15 learners with their PhDs in Psychology the last 4 years alone. She has authored 12 professional publications, served as a peer reviewer for several empirical journals, and conducted trainings across the U.S. and internationally. Her current research interests are broad, from investigating growth mindset in traditional and nontraditional students to social skills interventions for young adults with ASD.

She was a Clinical Supervisor and Researcher at the renowned UCSB Koegel Autism Center. Not only a Doctoral level Board Certified Behavior Analyst, she is also a Certified expert in Pivotal Response Treatment for children with autism and an Authorized Continuing Education Provider, regularly consulting with professionals on nuanced cases. She has published a professional online course with MadeCraft translating psychology research to practice on increasing workplace wellness by being empathetic and is working on another on halting procrastination. She brings to the interim chair role expertise in instructional technology, working with adult learners, experience collaborating across departments and institutions for student success, and a high level of organization and responsiveness.

  • Detar, W.J. & Vernon, T. (2020). Targeting question-asking initiations in college students with ASD. Focus on Autism and other Developmental Disabilities, 35(4), 208-220.
  • Lang, R. Harmon, T., Mclay, L., Phinney, A., Ledbetter-cho, K., Lubarsky, A., Erhard, P., Strong, K., Detar, W.J. & Rispoli (2020). Characteristics and assesssment of pica in individuals with intellectual disability. In Handbook of Dual Diagnosis: Assessment, Diagnosis and Treatment in Persons with Intellectual Disabilities. New York: Springer.
  • Ho, H.Z., Tang, M.C., Detar, W.J., Wang, M. (2014). Support for families of children with disabilities: The role of parent advocacy groups in Taiwan. In Lusa Lo & Diana Hiatt-Michael (Eds.) Promising Practices to Empower Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Families of Children with Disabilities. Information Age Publishing Inc.
  • Koegel, L.K., Detar, W.J., Fox, A., & Koegel, R.L. (2014). Romantic relationships, sexuality, and autism. In F. Volkmar, B. Reichow, & J. McPartland, (Ed.), Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders. New York: Springer.
  • Koegel, R.L., Koegel, L.K., Detar, W.J., Ashbaugh, K. (2014). Behavioral approaches for the treatment of adults with autism spectrum disorders. In K. Haertl (Ed.), Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Strategies for Occupational Therapy. Bethesda: AOTA Press.
  • Koegel, L.K., Koegel, R.L., Miller, A., & Detar, W.J. (2014). Adolescent development in autism: Educational issues and interventions. In F.R. Volkmar, R. Paul, S. Rogers, & K. Pelphrey, (Eds.), Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Fourth Edition. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
  • Koegel, L.K., Ashbaugh, L., Koegel, R.L., Detar, W.J., Regester, A. (2013). Increasing socialization in adults with asperger’s syndrome. Psychology in the Schools, 50(9).
  • Detar, W.J. (2013). Treatment fidelity. In F. Volkmar (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. New York: Springer-Verlag, Inc. Advance online publication:
  • Detar, W.J. (2013). Procedural fidelity. In F. Volkmar (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Autism Spectrum Disorders. New York: Springer-Verlag, Inc. Advance online publication:
  • Smith, W.J., Koegel, L.K., & Koegel, R.L. (2011) Research brief 1: Can children with autism be motivated to engage in academics?. UC Center for Research in Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk. Online publication:
  • Lang, R., Koegel, L., Ashbaugh, K., Regester, A., Ence, W., & Smith, W.J. (2010). Physical exercise and individuals with autism spectrum disorders: A systematic review. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 4(4), 565-576.
  • Lang, R., Smith, W.J., Ence, W., Langthorne, P. (2010) Editorial: Rehabilitation issues for children with Prader-Willi syndrome. Developmental Neurorehabilitation, 13(1), 1-2.
Whitney Detar

Associate Chair,

MA in Clinical Psychology

Core Faculty,

MA in Clinical Psychology


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