The mission of the Psychological Services at The Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders is provide state-of-the-art assessments and evidence-based psychological interventions for children, adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Psychological Services are central for understanding the underlying thoughts and emotions that contribute to individual behaviors. Psychological Services are divided into assessments and interventions, which take into account the child’s age, background, and abilities.
Application of age-appropriate assessment procedures are critical for understanding the nature of behavior. Assessment procedures include in-depth clinical, semi-structured interviews and observations (e.g., Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule), which in combination with psychological tests (e.g., IQ, adaptive, and achievement tests) provide a differential diagnosis and a strengths and weaknesses profile. Appropriate assessments take into account the perspective of the child, parents and the social and academic environment (e.g., teacher- or school-reports). Psychological assessments are important for treatment planning and progress monitoring during psychological interventions.
Psychological interventions at the Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders include evidence-based interventions such as cognitive, behavioral, and family therapy. During the intervention, the psychologist works in close collaboration with the parents to provide a continuum of care that extends into the home environment. Psychological interventions are highly tailored to the needs of the child and the family to maximize success in the treatment of psychological problems. The following are examples of psychological interventions provided to children and adolescents with ASD and comorbid disorders:
- Behavior therapy for anxiety (including OCD and Phobias) and associated problems (e.g., sleep disturbances)
- Anger management training
- Stress management and relaxation training
- Comprehensive behavior interventions for Tics and Tourette Syndrome
- Family interventions for disruptive behaviors (e.g., oppositional-defiant behaviors)
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for emotional difficulties
Dr. Jean Gehricke is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor at the UCI Department of Pediatrics. His clinical expertise is in the assessment and treatment of ASD, ADHD and co-occurring problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, and drug abuse. For over 10 years, he worked at the UCI Child Development Center providing comprehensive clinical assessments and cognitive-behavioral interventions, including cognitive-behavioral family therapy, stress management, and relaxation training. In his role as a clinical psychologist, he served school age children, adolescents, and young adults and their families.
At the research level, Dr. Gehricke is well known for his scientific work on the underlying mechanisms of ADHD and drug abuse. He has been the Principal Investigator on numerous research grants funded by the National Institutes of Health, the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Currently, he is expanding this research program by using brain-imaging techniques (i.e., fMRI, Near-Infrared Spectroscopy, and Diffusion Tensor Imaging) to better understand the unique auditory and tactile information processing associated with ASD. Dr. Gehricke supervises over 15 undergraduate and graduate students in his brain imaging and research laboratory.