PCOM Psychology Professor Publishes Book on Autism
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PCOM Psychology Professor Publishes Book on Autism

April 2, 2018

Dr. Jessica Kendorski, PhDOne theme of this year’s National Autism Awareness Month is “a new perspective”—one that encourages friends and collaborators to actively engage, and foster acceptance and improvement.

In her recently published first book, Childhood Autism Spectrum Disorder: Evidence-Based Assessment and Intervention, Jessica Kendorski, PhD, associate professor of psychology and director of the MS Program in School Psychology at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM), offers a practical perspective designed to promote parental engagement, and improvement of skills in practitioners.

There was a need for a practitioner-based book that could serve as one-stop-shop for finding current, evidence-based approaches for intervention planning for children with autism,” said Dr. Kendorski.  “This is a practical tool, something that I would give my students—those who are school social workers, school psychologists or clinical psychologists.

Dr. Kendorski says that behavior analysis is the gold standard when it comes to planning interventions for children with autism. “The research has found that early, intensive behavior analysis is key for intervention planning,” she said. Behavior analysis seeks to understand the environmental influences on a child’s behavior and alter them in a way that promotes success and wellbeing. The focus, says Dr. Kendorski, “is to empower children with autism to reach their full potential.

In addition to focusing on practitioners, this book also gives resources for parents, too: checklists that they can review so they know exactly what should be included in their child’s intervention plan.

As a parent, you can look at those checklists, arm yourself with some knowledge of best practices, and then meet with the school with some idea of what could or should be included in a comprehensive plan for your child,” she said.

Finally, because there are a myriad of systems that are affected by autism—the gastroenterological system, the neurobehavioral system, the sensory system—Dr. Kendorski said she wanted her book to offer an interdisciplinary approach for practitioners to create an effective intervention plan.

“The needs of children with autism span across so many aspects of the mind and body, but individuals who treat those needs rarely communicate with each other,” she says. “In the book, we talk about the best ways to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, and best practices for how to implement it.

Dr. Kendorski’s coauthor on this book was Amanda Guld Fisher, PhD, of Temple University.

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Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration. PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.

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