We are very excited to announce that Dr. Laurie Stephens from The HELP Group Center in the Los Angeles, California region (this picture is from the HELP Group and Dr. Stephens is the one on the bottom far right) has recently agreed to join TeachTown’s Scientific Advisory Board!
The TeachTown Scientific Advisory Board also includes Dr. Laura Schreibman from UC San Diego, Dr. Connie Kasari from UCLA, Dr. Ilene Schwartz from University of Washington, Dr. Geraldine Dawson from University of Washington, Dr. William Frea & Dr. Ronit Molko from Autism Spectrum Disorders, Dr. Aubyn Stahmer from San Diego Children’s Hospital, Dr. Gary Stobbe from ASTAR, and Dr. Brooke Ingersoll from Lewis and Clark College.
Dr. Stephens is Director of Autism Spectrum Disorders Programs and Director of The Help Group Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder, an outpatient program that provides diagnostic and therapeutic services for children. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Behavior at UCLA. Dr. Stephens oversees the Young Learners Preschool for Autism and has been instrumental in creating integrated and comprehensive education and social skills programs within the Help Group’s specialized day schools for children in the autistic spectrum. She established an intensive social skills summer camp program for children with Asperger’s Disorder, which has an international reach with campers coming from the United Kingdom, El Salvador, Japan, Korea, Mexico and other countries. Dr. Stephens is also the Editor of The Help Group’s Professional Newsletter, the HelpLine.
Before joining The Help Group, Dr. Stephens was a Clinical Instructor of Psychiatry, Director of Child Services and an attending psychologist at the State University of New York, Stony Brook. Dr. Stephens received her BA in Experimental Psychology from the UC San Diego, and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from SUNY Stony Brook. She has worked in the field of autism for more than 20 years, focusing on the early diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders, designing and implementing educational, behavioral and social programming for children of all ages, and as a consultant to numerous school districts on the East Coast. She co-founded the Early Diagnosis Center for Autism in Suffolk County, New York. Dr. Stephens has published and lectured extensively, and appeared as an expert in autism on several news, radio and TV programs. She has served as the autism consultant to TV shows. Recently, Dr. Stephens traveled to Japan to lecture to 300 educators on the best practices in education for students with Asperger’s Disorder. She also served as Program Chair of the Help Group/Semel Institute on Asperger’s Disorder, a four day intensive workshop for educators and clinicians. Her research interests include the differential diagnosis of high-functioning autism and Asperger’s Disorder, and the development of theory of mind skills in this population.
Founded in 1975, The Help Group is the largest, most innovative and comprehensive nonprofit organization of its kind in the United States serving children with special needs related to autism, Asperger’s disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD, mental retardation, abuse and emotional problems. The Help Group’s six specialized day schools offer pre-K through high school programs for more than 1,200 students. The Help Group’s wide range of mental health and therapy services, child abuse, foster family and residential programs extend its each to more than 5,000 children and their families each year. With over 800 staff members, The Help Group’s state-of-the-art schools and programs are located on four major campuses in the Los Angeles area.