Dr. Elisabeth Sheridan’s interest in Autism research started almost twenty years ago, when she was an undergraduate at Wake Forest University. Her early plans to become a pediatrician shifted to an interest in Clinical Psychology when she started working as a behavioral therapist for a toddler with autism. “The experience showed me the many ways that clinical psychologists make a meaningful difference for individuals with autism and their families." After college, Dr. Sheridan pursued a research assistant position at Vanderbilt University and then a Fulbright research fellowship in Helsinki, Finland to gain more research experience before attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham for her doctorate in Clinical/Medical Psychology. She then sought specialized training in autism and developmental disabilities, completing internship at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine/TEACCH Program and her postdoctoral fellowship at the Emory University School of Medicine/Marcus Autism Center.
Before coming to the Institute, Dr. Sheridan was a faculty member at the Weill Cornell School of Medicine and Clinical Director at the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain (CADB), founded by Dr. Cathy Lord. “During my time at CADB, I was involved in many research efforts, including a study examining the effectiveness of a multifaceted protocol to mobilize community service systems and impact family engagement throughout the process of screening, evaluation, and early intervention.”
“As a scientist-practitioner clinical psychologist, I am passionate about research and clinical initiatives which seek to improve our understanding of the best way to support individuals with autism and their families across the lifespan.” Dr. Sheridan’s primary research interests include the dissemination of evidence-based tools and implementation of best practices for individuals with autism in the broader community. “There are many known barriers and factors that complicate moving evidence-based practices into community settings. Given these challenges, it is important to identify practices that are empirically supported, time-limited, cost effective, and feasible for clinicians.”
After a nation-wide search, Dr. Sheridan joined the AJDAI Team as the Director of the Clinical Core in September of 2020. “During my first year, I have been impressed by the shared passion of the faculty and staff across the Autism Institute to realize the mission of the Institute and I am grateful to have dedicated colleagues who are eager to expand the reach of our work.” She was drawn to the Institute’s unique position as the first Autism research institute to be built around a public health framework. “The AJDAI stood out to me as unique and special in that it was founded using a public health science approach to understand autism and support autistic individuals of all ages.”
In addition to the established role of supporting the work of the Institute's research programs, the Clinical Core is actively working to expand community collaborations in the broader Philadelphia region and beyond. The Clinical Core established a virtual training program in 2021 and now offers virtual Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-Second Edition (ADOS-2) workshops, which have been very well received by attendees from across the country and around the world. Dr. Sheridan is also excited to grow the Clinical Core’s training program with the expertise of the Clinical Core faculty and staff. “Our team will continue to develop new training initiatives and partnerships based on the needs of the community. I look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with agencies seeking support to integrate evidence-based assessment and intervention approaches into their programs.”