My approach to care emphasizes the patient’s and family’s strengths, and I work collaboratively with them to meet them where they are.
Shelli Deskins, PhD



I am a pediatric psychologist who specializes in helping children with developmental disabilities. I see children who have mild to moderate behavioral concerns on an outpatient basis, and I also have experience providing inpatient services for children with more severe behavioral issues. My approach to care emphasizes the patient’s and family’s strengths, and I work collaboratively with them to meet them where they are.

As an undergraduate, I conducted in-home applied behavior analysis (ABA) programming for children who were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This inspired me to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology at Auburn University, where I also began working with children who had experienced trauma. I then pursued an internship at Oklahoma Heath Sciences Center’s Center for Child Abuse and Neglect. My clinical work has centered around these two populations.

In my outpatient practice, I see children with developmental disabilities who have a variety of behavioral concerns, including moderate aggression and milder self-injurious behavior. I see children and their caregivers together, as adult involvement is essential. My approach to treatment is predominantly behavior analytic, and essential components to my model of care involve function-based assessment and intervention, parent training and education, skill building, modeling and in vivo coaching.

I also am trained in parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TF-CBT). I collaborate frequently with other providers on your child’s team, including physicians, nurse practitioners, occupational therapists and speech-language in order to provide the best possible care.

In addition to helping patients and families, I’m involved in research. I conduct cognitive assessments for participants in a study of fetal care,

Prior to coming to Cincinnati Children’s, I was the director of the first center-based ABA program in the state of Kentucky for over six years. For two years, I served as the vice chair to Kentucky’s inaugural behavior analyst licensing board and subsequently served as its chair for an additional two years.

When I’m not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends. I’m also interested in nutrition and fitness. Families frequently inquire about my accent, as I am originally from eastern Kentucky.

Services and Specialties

Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics

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