Complex development disorders I - Autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability

Our research aims at improving the diagnostics of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in children and adolescents and the establishment of more effective therapies. Due to differences in cognition, affect and perception, people with intellectual disabilities and/or ASD often display behaviors that pose a challenge for caregivers in terms of providing support and finding good solutions for difficult situations. Our work group therefore also has the goal of developing additional tools of support for caregivers to address difficult situations.


In a randomised controlled multicenter study and its follow-up over four years, funded by the German Research Council (DFG), the efficacy of early intensive interventions (‚A-FFIP‘) in children with ASD aged 2-5 years is evaluated. A-FFIP therapy was established at the department for child and adolescent psychiatry in Frankfurt Main, and Würzburg is one of four child psychiatric sites participating in this RCT. Even though a pilot study already indicated improvement of autistic core symptoms applying A-FFIP,  a broader evidence base would considerably improve therapy options for children with ASD.

For more information on A-FFIP  


In a randomised controlled multicenter study - embedded in the research network ‚ASD-Net‘ funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research – we examine the effects of concomitant oxytocin administration on an ASD-specific social skills training.Searching for ‘signals or biomarkers of ASD’, we apply molecular techniques, transcranial ultrasound as well as methods from fear research. Biomarkers might be valuable tools to support an earlier diagnosis of ASD and to establish a more personalized therapy.

For more information on ASD-Net 


The aim of the publicly funded ProVIA project (Problem behavior – Toward a better understanding and prevention in Intellectual developmental disorder and Autism Spectrum Disorder), is to develop an app that assists caregivers of children and adolescents with intellectual disabilities or ASD in determining the multifactorial causes of problem behavior. The app will additionally provide strategies for preventing and dealing with problem behavior. The interdisciplinary collaboration between the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy, the Chair of Special Education IV – Education for People with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities, and the Chair of Medical Informatics at the University of Würzburg aims at developing a practical tool for a wide range of problem behavior, thereby reducing the need for freedom-restricting measures and overall daily stress for children and caregivers.

Research Team


PD Dr. med. Regina Taurines
Dr. rer. nat Julia Geißler


Prof. Dr. med. Marcel Romanos
in cooperation with Prof. Dr. phil. Christoph Ratz, Chair of Special Education IV – Education for People with Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities at the University of Würzburg

Clinical Team:

Psychologists, social pedagogues and skilled workers:
Hanna Buchholz, Sonderpädagogin StEx
Alena Burlein, psycholgist B.Sc
Dipl.-Soz.päd. Patricia Dengler
Lisa Haber M.Sc.
Louise Haslam M.Sc.
Christin Heim M.Sc.
Dipl.-Heilpäd. Anke Leben
Dipl.-Psych. Corina Otte
Antonia Stanean M.Sc. 

Student assistants:
Friederike Feithen
Lisa Gierer
Valerie Jaklin
Laura Mazurowski B.Sc.
Marie-Pierre Minten

Selected Publications

Geissler J, Werner E, Dworschak W, Romanos M, Ratz C (2021)
German Law Reform Does Not Reduce the Prevalence of Coercive Measures in Residential Institutions for Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Frontiers Psychiatry 2021 Oct 28; 12: 7658300
Go to publication 

Geissler J, Werner E, Dworschak W, Romanos M, Ratz C (2021)
Freiheitsentziehende Maßnahmen in bayerischen Heimeinrichtungen für Kinder, Jugendliche und junge Volljährige mit Intelligenzminderung.
Zeitschrift für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie und Psychotherapie 2021 Jul; 49(4), 273-283
Go to publication

Kitzerow J, Hackbusch M, Jensen K, Kieser M, Noterdaeme M, Fröhlich U, Taurines R,  Geißler J, Wolff N, Roessner V, Bast N, Teufel K, Kim Z, Freitag CM (2020)
Study protocol of the multi-centre, randomised controlled trial of the Frankfurt Early Intervention Programme A-FFIP versus early intervention as usual for toddlers and preschool children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (A-FFIP study).
Trials 2020 Feb 24; 21: 217
Go to publication 

Werling AM, Grünblatt E, Oneda B, Bobrowski E, Gundelfinger R, Taurines R, Romanos M, Rauch A, Walitza S. (2019)
High-resolution chromosomal microarray analysis for copy-number variations in high functioning autism reveals large aberration typical for intellectual disability.
Journal of Neural Transmission (Vienna) 2020 Jan; 127(1): 81-94
Go to publication

Freitag CM, Jensen K, Elsuni L, Sachse M, Herpertz-Dahlmann B, Schulte-Rüther M, Hänig S, von Gontard A, Poustka L, Schad-Hansjosten T, Wenzl C, Sinzig J, Taurines R, Geißler J, Kieser M, Cholemkery H (2016)
Group-based cognitive behavioural psychotherapy for children and adolescents with ASD: the randomized, multicentre, controlled SOSTA-net trial.
The Journal of Child Psychology and  Psychiatry 2016 May; 57(5): 596-605
Go to publicaton 

Taurines R, Schwenck C, Lyttwin B, Schecklmann M, Jans T, Reefschläger L, Geissler J, Gerlach M, Romanos M. (2014)
Oxytocin plasma concentrations in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: correlation with autistic symptomatology.
ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders 2014 Sep; 6(3): 231-9
Go to publication 

Taurines R, Segura M, Schecklmann M, Albantakis L, Grünblatt E, Walitza S, Jans T, Lyttwin B, Haberhausen M, Theisen FM, Martin B, Briegel W, Thome J, Schwenck C, Romanos M, Gerlach M. (2014)
Altered peripheral BDNF mRNA expression and BDNF protein concentrations in blood of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder.
Journal of Neural Transmission (Vienna). 2014 Sep; 121(9): 1117-28
Go to publication


Portraitfoto von PD Dr. med. Regina Taurines

PD Dr. med.
Regina Taurines

Stellvertretende Direktorin

+49 931 201-78010

Portraitfoto von Dr. rer.nat. Julia Geissler

Dr. rer. nat.
Julia Geißler

Studienleitung ProVIA

Anke Leben

Dipl. Heilpädagogin (FH)



Klinik und Poliklinik für KJPPP
Poliklinik und Privatambulanz
+49 931 201-78600

Zentrale Dienstnummer & Dienstarzt
+49 931 201-78888

Pforte Zentrum für Psychische Gesundheit
+49 931 201-76050

Sekretariat Tagesklinik
+49 931 250-8040

Prof. Dr. Marcel Romanos
+49 931 201-78000

Stellvertretende Direktion
PD Dr. Regina Taurines
+49 931 201-78010


Direktion / Prof. Dr. Marcel Romanos

PD Dr. Regina Taurines


+49 931 201-78040

+49 931 201-78620


Klinik und Poliklinik für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie, Psychosomatik und Psychotherapie des Universitätsklinikums | Margarete-Höppel-Platz 1 | 97080 Würzburg | Deutschland