As a pediatric psychologist, I work with students who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), especially those with behavioral concerns. I do this in the community or school setting. I also provide teachers with training to improve the outcomes for students with ASD.
I was inspired to work with individuals with ASD when I was in graduate school. I worked under a pediatric neuropsychologist who conducted evaluations of children with ASD. I was immediately drawn to the complexity of this condition and fascinated by the interaction between brain and behavior. I could see the children we evaluated for who they were, despite their ASD, and I wanted others to see this, too. I always said if I weren’t a child psychologist, I would have been a kindergarten teacher. Now I get to combine the best of both worlds by helping unique kids succeed in school.
In my practice, I believe that what you can do is more important than what you can’t do. My care philosophy is very person-centered. Every family copes differently with chronic medical or mental health issues, and I try to help them see that they can use their own strengths to create a good quality of life for their child and family. The same goes for my work in classrooms, where I try to really listen to teachers and help them find solutions that are realistic for their students, classroom, school.
When I’m not at work, I love to spend time with my husband and two children traveling and doing outdoor activities like hiking and biking. Although I’m not a risk-taker, I enjoy trying new things like surfing and zip-lining. My favorite food is ice cream!