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Alum Spotlight

[pictured alum: Robin Hauge, PhD]


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Infant and Early Childhood Development Alums

Dana Johnson PhD, MS, OTR/L

Dana Johnson, PhD, MS, OTR/L

Founder of Invictus Academy Tampa Bay

Owner of Interplay Therapy Center Dana is an Occupational Therapist, an ACTS (Accessing Communication Through Spelling) practitioner and mentor for S2C (Spelling to Communicate). Dana is also on the executive leadership cadre of I-ASC (International Association for Spelling as Communication), a non-profit organization to support the non-speaking community through education, advocacy, research and training. Dana has been working with the non-speaking community for almost 15 years focusing her work on building purposeful motor skills through exercise and fitness. She coaches parents and caregivers both locally and internationally in addition to speaking at conferences to a variety of professionals who specialize in autism and other motor and sensory differences.

Cheryl Andrea Rock, PhD

Cheryl Andrea Rock, PhD

Principal of the Derrick Smith school and vocational Centre

Past Co-Director and Co-Founder of Sunshine Early Stimulation Centre, both in Barbados. Derrick Smith School supports students aged 11 years and up who have special needs using the DIR framework, Non-traditional and traditional educational practices and current interdisciplinary practices. Dr. Rock’s PhD interest focused on Mental Time Travel – The underlying process of using past experience in the present to plan for the future.

Joleen R. Fernald, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL

Joleen R. Fernald, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL

Owner of Joleen R. Fernald Pediatric Therapy Services

Board certified in Child Language from the American Speech Language Hearing Association, I utilize a holistic developmental framework when working with children and their families.

“Completing my PhD was one of the greatest accomplishments of my career. I come from a family where many didn’t complete high school, so finishing my doctorate in a field I am passionate about was an incredible achievement.”

Robin Hauge, PhD

Robin Hauge, PhD

Co-Founder of Wellspring Educational Services

Co-Founder of Wellspring Educational Services, a school for children with special needs including ASD. Wellspring serves children and families, preschool through high school using the DIR framework. Adjunct professor teaching Graduate class in Child Language Disorders at Cal State East Bay.

Carrie Alvarado, PhD, OTR

Carrie Alvarado, PhD, OTR

Chief Operating Officer for Autism Community Network (ACN)

Dr. Alvarado serves as the Chief Operating Officer for Autism Community Network (ACN), located in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Alvarado is also the creator and director of two clinical programs at ACN. One of these is the Earliest Connections Clinic, a diagnostic program geared toward early identification and therapeutic intervention for high-risk infants and toddlers (prematurity, trauma/neglect, siblings of children on the spectrum). Additionally, Carrie leads the DIRFloortime/ PACT (Pediatric Autism Communication Therapy) Hands-on Family Empowerment program- an intensive intervention program supporting families impacted by autism through dyadic coaching using both in-vivo and reflective video feedback modalities.

Dr. Alvarado’s primary research interests are in Sensoriaffective Integration and attachment, clinical use of reflective video feedback, and in optimizing parent-mediated interventions. She completed her dissertation on establishing preliminary validity of a new clinical assessment and coaching tool, the Sensoriaffective Interactional Attunement Scale (SAIAS) geared toward promoting enhanced use of sensoriaffective signaling between caregivers and their children. Carrie is also currently engaged in development of another scale, (not yet named), focused on evaluating the presence, sophistication and sequencing of themes of emotional intelligence in child-led symbolic dyadic play measuring joint attention skills.

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