The Thompson Center takes pride in fulfilling its three-part mission of autism treatment, research and training on a daily basis. One of the highest priorities in fulfilling this mission is the training of psychology interns and post-doctoral fellows. This practice not only helps increase the number of patients Thompson Center providers can diagnose and treat, but it also helps fill the huge need for trained autism specialists around the country.
Over the next few weeks, the Thompson Center will highlight a few of our outgoing trainees to see how training at the Thompson Center has helped direct their career paths. Next up is Dr. Danielle Bond, who spent several years learning at the Thompson Center, most recently as a post-doctoral fellow. As a fellow, Dr. Bond participated in the Thompson Center’s autism diagnostic and assessment clinics, as well as neuropsychology clinics. Her main responsibilities included leading diagnostic interviews, administering and scoring ADOS-2 assessments, providing feedback to families, and writing reports. She also supervised interns and graduate students.
I initially worked at the TC as a Student Research Assistant in the Research Core from 2012-2013. After graduating from MU, I took a full-time position in the Research Core as a Research Lab Technician. I worked in this role until 2014 before attending graduate school. After graduate school, I came back to the TC for my internship year in 2018 and stayed on for a year-long post-doctoral fellowship, which ends August 2020.
I grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Chesterfield, attending St. Joseph’s Academy for high school. I went to Mizzou for my undergraduate degree and then earned a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Saint Louis University.
I will be returning to St. Louis and working in a pediatric neuropsychology private practice. I’m currently pregnant and due in October, so I will start my new position sometime in January 2021. In my role as Neuropsychology Post-Doctoral Fellow, I will be continuing my training and completing the second year of my postdoctoral training in pediatric neuropsychology. In my role, I will complete pediatric neuropsychological evaluations for children and adolescents under the supervision of a licensed neuropsychologist, and I will also continue other aspects of training requirements (e.g., attending didactics/educational seminars).
I have a brother who was adopted from Romania. Following years of evaluations and opinions, he eventually received an ASD diagnosis. Throughout his life, I have observed his social, emotional, and behavioral difficulties and the stress that my parents underwent in order to receive his ASD diagnosis. However, I have also observed significant improvements in his social, emotional, and behavioral functioning through years of interventions that he received as well as support that my parents received through various organizations such as Regional Center and Easterseals. All of these experiences inspired me to pursue work with families of children with neurodevelopmental disorders, and especially contributed to my desire to conduct diagnostic and neuropsychological evaluations within this patient population.
My time at the TC before graduate school solidified my interest in pursuing a career in clinical psychology conducting pediatric evaluations (both neuropsychological and ASD-specific diagnostic evaluations). Although I worked in the Research Core, I was able to observe many clinics. Through these experiences, I developed a greater appreciation and understanding for the integration of research and clinical practice. In graduate school, I pursued clinical training in pediatric neuropsychology and my research complimented my clinical interests. For example, my research generally involved investigating neurocognitive abilities within pediatric neurodevelopmental and neuropsychological conditions, such as ASD, ADHD, and epilepsy. I plan to continue participating in and utilizing research that informs my clinical practice in the future. My training during internship and post-doctoral fellowship continued to support my goal of working as a pediatric neuropsychologist with an emphasis in neurodevelopmental/ASD-specific evaluation. During this time, I attained ADOS-2 research reliability, which has enhanced my ASD diagnostic skills.
I have learned so much from working at the TC, but one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is the importance of patient and family-centered care. Although we see many families during time-restricted clinic blocks, I’ve learned how to provide individualized patient care within these time limitations. For example, I’ve learned how to discuss clinical diagnoses and neuropsychological test results with patients and families in different ways, and I’ve also learned how to tailor recommendations to fit the needs of the patient and family.
I’ve absolutely loved my time working at the TC both before and after graduate school! I will really miss the TC and everyone who works there!