I was first drawn to the autism field much by coincidence. A summer job doing therapy with a non-verbal child with autism quickly turned into a lifelong passion and career in the field of autism research and treatment. I became particularly interested in assessment, parent training, and evaluation of children with autism during my clinical training in the Neuropsychology Department of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. It was in this position that I quickly realized the need for collaboration between experts in the field of early intervention and diagnosis of children with autism.
My focus and research is centered around early diagnosis, developmental assessment, community outreach, language acquisition processes, and parent training for children with autism. My current research is testing a new way to teach persistence in social initiations to children with autism by integrating video modeling and advances in portable technology. The results of this study have been very favorable and I intend to expand this intervention to teach other complex social skills to children with autism by capitalizing on advances in technology. My research emphasizes the importance of using inherently motivating methods to teach children with autism such as visual teaching strategies.
Research and applied application in the areas of:
- Clinical Assessment and Diagnosis of Children with Autism
- Parent Training
- Autism Interventions at the individual, family, school, and community level
- Policy formulation and implementation on autism related issues
- Evaluation of autism interventions and treatment plans
My research looks at multiple areas of a child’s functioning, which requires the involvement of professionals with different areas of expertise (i.e. pediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, speech and language pathologists). An interdisciplinary format also encourages discussion among the clinicians involved, with the beneficial effects of creating a more complex and accurate view of the child.