One of the Thompson Center’s primary missions is to train the next generation of leaders in the field of autism care. One aspect of this training mission is providing a learning environment for students pursuing their doctoral degrees in psychology. By providing these future child psychologists real-world hands-on experience working with patients, the Thompson Center is helping to increase the number of trained autism experts around the country to help provide more resources for more families.
A typical doctoral trainee will spend one year training at most practicum sites before choosing to move on with their career. On occasion, a doctoral trainee may choose to return for a second year of training. Until this year, the Thompson Center has had one graduate trainee return for a third year. However, this year the Thompson Center has four talented graduate trainees returning for an unprecedented third year. This speaks to both the high-quality training opportunities the Thompson Center provides as well as the dedication of these future psychologists to maximize their training to become the best care providers possible. Over the next few weeks, we will meet these four doctoral interns. This week we’ll learn more about Xiaotian “Daisy” Hu.
When did you arrive at the Thompson Center?
I joined the TC as a graduate clinician in Fall 2019.
What is your bio and educational background before the TC?
I was born and raised in a small town in China and earned my bachelor’s and master’s degree in China before coming to the U.S. I earned my bachelor’s degree in Tourism Management at Anhui Normal University, then earned my master’s degree in Management Science at University of Science and Technology in China (USTC). I then joined the Counseling Psychology doctoral program at Mizzou in 2017.
What are your career interests/goals? What do you hope to be doing professionally in 5-10 years?
My long-term goal is to become a pediatric psychologist who can promote the optimal health and well being of children with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families by delivering evidence-based, family-centered, and culturally sensitive care. In 5-10 years, I’m aiming at enhancing autism awareness, promoting specialized training in diagnosing autism, and facilitating career development of people with autism around the world, especially in developing countries.
What created the passion within you to pursue a career in this field?
I first heard about autism in 2017, which means in my previous 26 years of life, I never ever heard about autism. You can imagine how shocked I was towards the giant inequities in autism awareness around the world. There is an estimation that among approximately 70 million people in the world with autism, 85% of them live in developing countries where people with autism often go undiagnosed, stigmatized and marginalized while research and support are dramatically expanding in wealthy parts of the world. I found a strong passion toward bringing evidence-based care towards people with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, contributing to global scientific inquiry of autism, and facilitating systematic change to support career development of people with autism.
Why did you decide to return to the Thompson Center for a third year of training?
Besides my passion in this area, I chose to return for a third year of training mainly because of the high-quality training experiences and supportive environment at the Thompson Center.
How do you think your time at the TC will influence the direction of your career?
My time at the Thompson Center has solidified my interest and passion in the area. At the TC, I gained knowledge in diagnosing neurodevelopmental disorders, skills in delivering family-centered care, and experiences of working in multidisciplinary teams. The high-quality training and strong support that I received at the TC has prepared me to be a pediatric psychologist in the future and gave me the determination in bringing family-centered care to more families around the world.
What is the most valuable thing you have learned while working at the TC so far?
I have learned so much during my time at the TC, but the most valuable thing is the importance of and ways to deliver family-centered care.
What do you hope to learn and/or accomplish in the rest of your time training at the TC?
I will spend another year at the TC before leaving for an internship. This year, my goals include becoming a research-reliable ADOS administrator, conducting autism-related research, and becoming involved in some autism-related programs, such as STRIVE and ECHO Autism.
Any last thoughts about working at the TC?
My time at the TC is one of the most memorable and valuable episodes in my life. I have not only learned knowledge and skills, but also received strong support and validation from everyone.