Spring Mental Health Symposium

For those Interested in

Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders

All presentations will be done through Zoom Events!

Saturday, March 19, 2022

8:00AM – 1:00PM Pacific Standard Time



How do I Adapt My Evidence-Based Practices to Treat Anxiety and Depression in Autism?

Catherine M. Brock, MA, LPCC – Executive Director

The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Session A

Session B


Session 2A: Social Communication Challenges for Individuals with Autism: Practical Considerations and Strategies for Mental Health Treatment

Session 2B: How Do I Talk About Sexual Development, Dating, and Relationships?


Session 3A: Psychoactive Medications Commonly Prescribed for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Session 3B: Complementary and Integrative Medicine Interventions for Autism Spectrum Disorder


Session 4A: What’s Sensory Integration Got To Do With It? Sensory Integration as a feature of Neurodiversity in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Session 4B: Treating Trauma in Neurodevelopmental Disorders


Session 5A: The Importance of Collaborating with Private and School Providers to Optimize Client Care

Session 5B: Help! I’m stressed out: Finding Your Calm and Building Resilience


1 PM

BONUS: A Word From Self-Advocates: What Helped Me In Therapy

Presentation Descriptions

Presenter: Catherine M. Brock, MA, LPCC – Executive Director at The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders UC Irvine, School of Medicine

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand why adaptations may be needed for individuals with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Recognize at least 3 elements to consider prior to adapting therapeutic interventions.
  • Identify at least 5 ways one could adapt an evidence-based program to meet the needs of an individual with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Instructor Credentials: Cathy Brock is the Executive Director for The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders since September 2014. She was previously the Associate Director of the University of Washington Autism Center in Seattle. She has worked in the field of autism and developmental disorders for over twenty-five years bringing both clinical and management experience. As Executive Director her responsibilities include providing overall management, leadership and vision while coordinating collaborative systems to best meet the needs of the families in our community.

Presenter: Michelle Wahlquist, M.S., CCC-SLP

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will identify 3 learning strengths for individuals with autism that should be considered when planning and implementing mental health treatments.
  • Participants will identify 3 social communication skill deficits that can be addressed during mental health treatments.
  • Participants will identify 3 practical strategies to address social communication challenges within mental health treatments.

Instructor Credentials: Michelle Wahlquist, M.S., CCC-SLP is a licensed speech-language pathologist who joined The Center for Autism team in November 2013. She is the speech and language department division lead, coordinating speech pathology services here at The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders. She provides direct speech therapy services including comprehensive speech and language evaluations, individualized treatment, co-treatment, and collaboration with our multi-disciplinary team. In addition, she oversees program development and parent education. She has a particular interest in the use of play and literature to facilitate the development of language and communication skills. She is committed to helping families and caregivers better understand the speech and language development of their children.

Michelle received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Dramatic Arts from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1999. She graduated with her Master of Science degree in Communicative Disorders from Arizona State University in 2001. She holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech and Hearing Association.

Presenter:  Lindsey Sterling, Ph.D. 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Demonstrate understanding of the clinical and cultural contexts contributing to sexual development and identification in autism.

  • Identify the challenges and complexities related to dating in autism.

  •  Identify ways to support autistic individuals in the development and maintenance of romantic relationships.

Instructor Credentials: Dr. Lindsey Sterling is a licensed Clinical Psychologist specializing in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related developmental disorders. Much of Dr. Sterling’s research and specialized training has focused on understanding and treating comorbid disorders, such as anxiety and depression, among autistic individuals. She has published numerous research papers on the topic of ASD and comorbid anxiety and depression. Dr. Sterling has been working in the field of ASD for over twenty years and is passionate about helping individuals and their families cope with the challenges and recognize and capitalize on the strengths associated with ASD.

Dr. Sterling earned her undergraduate degree in Psychobiology from UCLA and her Masters degree and Ph.D. in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington. She completed her Clinical Internship in Developmental Disabilities at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, where she worked with adults with developmental disabilities and children with a range of psychiatric disorders.

During her Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Department of Psychiatry, UCLA, Dr. Sterling pursued specialized training in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) targeting anxiety in autistic youth. Following her postdoctoral fellowship, Dr. Sterling served on the clinical faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at UCLA and as a Staff Psychologist at the UCLA Child and Adult Neurodevelopmental Clinic. She then served as Interim Assistant Professor and Director of the Autism Center at Claremont McKenna College before serving as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at California State University Long Beach (CSULB). At CSULB, Dr. Sterling directed a research lab investigating depression, anxiety, and factors related to quality of life, including romantic relationships, among autistic adults. Dr. Sterling has also consulted with large companies interested in expanding their hiring program to include neurodiverse populations, including autistic adults, and has helped educate and prepare staff to support neurodiversity in the workplace.

Dr. Sterling has been in private practice since 2013. In 2021, she formed The Sterling Institute for Autism in Long Beach, CA, to serve autistic children, adolescents, and adults, their families, and the neurodiverse community.

Presenter: Peter Chung, DBP

Learning Objectives:

  • Name four classes of medications commonly prescribed for individuals with autism spectrum disorder.
  • List five target behaviors for which medications can be helpful.
  • Describe common side effects of medications that can affect daily performance.

Instructor Credentials: Dr. Peter Jinwu Chung is a board-certified UC Irvine Health pediatrician who specializes in developmental and behavioral pediatric medicine at The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders. His clinical interests include medical education, quality improvement, deaf culture, assistive technology, narrative medicine and video games for therapeutic application.

Dr. Chung earned his medical degree at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York City. He completed his internship, residency, chief residency and fellowship at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in Los Angeles. He also trained at UCLA’s Tarjan Center and at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles as part of the California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (CA-LEND) program.

Presenter: Lilian Au, ND, MPH 

Learning Objectives: 

  • Develop understanding of integrative medicine and preventive health interventions in the treatment of pediatric patients with ASD.
  • Understand use of integrative health modalities and evidence–based treatments for supportive therapy in pediatric patients with ASD.
  • Identify indications for appropriate referral and resources for provider and patient/parent education.

Instructor Credentials: Lilian Au is a licensed naturopathic practitioner with integrative family practice experience. She specializes in maternal, child and adolescent health. She provides wellness care for infants, children and adults, and treats a variety of acute illnesses and chronic conditions with traditional and natural therapies.

Au earned her naturopathic medicine degree from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in Tempe, Ariz. She completed a naturopathic residency in family medicine at National University of Natural Medicine in Portland, Ore., and received a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley, where she trained in the maternal child health leadership program. Her post-graduate research work at Sutter Health California Pacific Medical Center and UC Berkeley focused on pediatric developmental screenings at early care and education centers.

Au is passionate about preventive care, patient empowerment and whole-family health. Her clinical interests include allergies, ADHD and neurodevelopment, asthma, fertility, hormone imbalance, reproductive and stress hormones, anxiety and depression, community medicine, pediatric and women’s health. Her research interests include the effects of environmental and nutritional factors on maternal and child health outcomes. 

Presenter: Aja Roley, OTD, OTR/L

Learning Objectives: 

  • Describe the sensory features and characteristics common in Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • Understand the patterns of sensory integration dysfunction and their impact on behavior, wellness and participation.
  • Describe a data-driven and evidenced-based method for evaluation, treatment, and tracking of outcomes of sensory integration difficulties among the Autism Spectrum Disorder population.

Instructor Credentials: Dr. Aja Roley is a licensed Occupational Therapist who received her Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California (USC) and her Occupational Therapy Doctorate from Thomas Jefferson University (TJU). Her doctoral work focused on access and promotion of advanced clinical reasoning, mentorship, and post-professional training in Ayres Sensory Integration® (ASI) via online and multimedia platforms. She has an advanced practice certificate in neuroscience from TJU. Dr. Roley is the clinical director and owner of Centerpointe for Children, a pediatric private practice in Irvine, California. She specializes in the evaluation and intervention of infants, children, and young adults with learning and behavior difficulties, developmental delays, autism, attention deficit disorder, feeding and toileting difficulties, anxiety disorders, and visual impairment. She utilizes both ASI and DIRFloortime® in her play-based and child and family centered therapeutic approach. Dr. Roley has extensive experience teaching, collaborating, and consulting with families and educational and multidisciplinary teams. She is an instructor for the non-profit organization, Collaboration for Leadership in Ayres Sensory Integration (CLASI), teaching certification courses both domestically and internationally. She volunteers her time as a site coordinator for normative data collection for the Evaluation of Ayres Sensory Integration (EASI). Dr. Roley is passionate, playful, and thoughtful in her work and strives to improve the quality of life for families and infuse health promoting fun into daily routines. 

Presenter: Lydia Kim, PsyD and Marie Johnson, PsyD  

Learning Objectives: 

  • Review prevalence of trauma for children with developmental disabilities.
  • Participants will gain a deeper awareness of the impact of trauma responses among children with developmental disabilities and how to tend to these responses.
  • Participants will identify at least 2 strategies to address trauma responses in children with Developmental Disabilities.

Instructor Credentials: Dr. Lydia Kim is a licensed bilingual and bicultural clinical psychologist who earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from the Univeristy of California- Los Angeles and her doctorate in psychology from Rutgers University. She completed her post-doctroal fellowship through the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in trauma care. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of psychology at the Univeristy of La Verne adn a volunteer Assistant Clinical Professor at the University of California- Los Angeles. She currently practices psychology as the Clinical Psychologist Lead of Research and Psychological Assessment at the Child and Family Development Center at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.

Dr. Johnson is a licensed psychologist who earned her undergraduate degree in psychology from Loyola Univeristy of Chicago and her doctorate in psychology from James Madison Univeristy. She completed her post-doctroal fellowship through the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles in trauma care. She is currently practicing psychology within the Youth Development Program at Providence Saint John’s Health Center.

Presenters: Jeanne Carriere, PhD and Karryn Naranjo, MA, BCBA

Learning Objectives: 

  • Participants will briefly review the focus and range of services and supports provided through private Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) services and school-based Individualized Education Programs (IEP).
  • Participants will understand the importance of interagency collaboration to improve the quality and consistency of services for our clients.
  • Participants will learn specific strategies on how to access critical information and collaborate with school based teams and outside service providers to coordinate a clients care.

Instructor Credentials: Jeanne Anne Carriere, PhD, is a Licensed Educational Psychologist with over 25 years of experience working within the public school system.  She is the Director of the Families and Schools Together (F.A.S.T.) The program, a collaboration between The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Chapman University’s Attallah College of Educational Studies. As part of FAST, Dr. Carriere works closely with our Education and Training initiatives. She provides our Special Education Basics, a series of parent education classes focused on helping parents understand and learn to successfully navigate the Special Education system. Jeanne Anne also provides professional development for school-based and clinical/medical professionals on the differences between school-based and clinic-based services, comprehensive Autism Spectrum Disorder evaluations, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2,  and working collaboratively with families. Dr. Carriere conducts Psychoeducational Evaluations and consults with school districts regarding Special Education services. Jeanne Anne is an Assistant Clinical Professor for the Chapman University School Psychology program. She teaches graduate classes and supervises school psychology fieldwork students. Her professional interests include effective report writing, comprehensive autism assessment, and support for parents’ understanding and involvement in their child’s special education program. She has presented her research at the state, national and international level and published the book Writing Useful, Accessible, and Legally Defensible Psychoeducational Reports (Wiley, 2014).

Instructor Credentials: Karryn has worked creating and implementing behavior programs for kids with special needs in different setting: school, in home and clinic base. Behavior Intervention Division Lead, The Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders University of California, Irvine Born in Pereira, Colombia Karryn has been fascinated in understanding human behavior since she was young. She moved to Madrid, Spain at the age of ten, where she studied for many years. She completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (UAM) in Spain, where she started to work with kids with Autism.  Karryn, then, spent several years between Spain, England, and Greece trying to find a deeper understanding of human behavior from a multicultural perspective.  In 2013 she completed her Master’s on Human Behavior at the Therapeutic Institute of Madrid (ITEMA) in Spain. After she concluded her Maters studies, she moved to California, where she continued to work with kids with Autism. In 2016 she graduated from Chapman University and obtained her certification as a BCBA in 2017.  In the field of Autism Karryn has worked creating and implementing behavior programs for kids with special needs in different setting: school, in home and clinic base.

Presenter: Stephanie Cariker, L.C.S.W.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the importance of our own mental and emotional well-being.
  • Understand the theory behind stress and anxiety.
  • Identify two coping strategies to use in daily life.

Instructor Credentials: Stephanie Cariker, ACSW, is an Associate Clinical Social Worker trained in EMDR and Certified as an Individual and Group Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Facilitator. Stephanie is also a Certified Level 1 Personality Dimensions® Facilitator and a Certified Art4Healing® Facilitator.

Stephanie is informed in Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Mindfulness and has been initiated in the Shoden level of the Reiki method of energy healing. Stephanie began working for Hoag in 2012 as a case manager and currently provides psychotherapy in both English and Spanish to children, adolescents, adults, older adults, couples and families. Stephanie has a passion for serving vulnerable and under-served populations and strives to build strong interpersonal relationships in order to help individuals transform and bring about lasting personal change.

Presenter: Matthew Kenslow

About The Session: Matthew will share his experiences participating in various treatments related to Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Instructor Credentials: Matthew received a diagnosis of “Asperger’s Syndrome” around six years old, which was a mild form of Autism. His mission is to teach others from a firsthand perspective of how autistic people interpret things differently than the rest of the world. In doing so, he became the author of Juggling the Issues: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome and a YouTuber, and is teaching the world that anybody can do what they set their hearts and minds to do – despite a disability. Simultaneously, he never allowed the diagnosis to stop him, insofar of earning an Associate’s in Chemistry and a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry. He aspires to be a middle school math and science teacher, and is a student teacher at his local NMUSD middle school. 


When you register for the presentation, you will be provided the Zoom meeting ID and passcode.

Cost: The cost of this session is included in the overall conference fee. 

Statement of Need: These monthly case consults are being held for UC Irvine physicians to provide greater awareness of the importance of using moral and ethical thinking in medical care. 

Target Audience: All physicians and other clinicians involved in the treatment of patients. Open to all faculty, staff and students. 

Faculty/Course Directors/Planners Disclosure: Since this session is an ethics article review, no conflicts for speakers or planners exist. 

Credit Designation Statement: The University of California, Irvine School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

ADA Statement: In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, we will make every reasonable effort to accommodate your request. For any special requests, please contact us via phone at 949-267-0444 or email at CenterTraining1@hs.uci.edu before the meeting dates.  

The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CAND) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CAND maintains responsibility for this program and its content. 

The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CAND) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CAND maintains responsibility for this program and its content.