Christina Corsello, Ph.D., Manager, Clinical Director
A licensed clinical psychologist, Christina has worked at Rady Children’s since 2005, specializing in the diagnosis and assessment of autism spectrum disorders. She has published training guides on a widely used standardized diagnostic measure, the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2), and has trained professionals worldwide on the use of this measure. Christina has also authored several peer-reviewed publications and book chapters focused on diagnostic measures and assessment. She serves as a consultant on several grants requiring expertise on the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders.
Sarah Denno, M.Ed., Alexa’s PLAYC Director
Sarah received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Diego State University in 2000. She then came to work in the Children’s Toddler School program as an autism education associate in 2001, and from 2003-2004, served as the early childhood coordinator (director) for the program. In 2004, Sarah developed and opened a community school/inclusion program for children with autism spectrum disorders at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center in Phoenix. While there, she earned a master’s degree in special education. Sarah returned to Rady Children’s to serve as a behavior specialist and has since taken on the role of director at Alexa’s PLAYC.
Lauren Brookman-Frazee, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Clinical Psychologist
Lauren is an associate professor in the UC San Diego Department of Psychiatry, an investigator at the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center and the Autism Discovery Institute training director. Her National Institute of Mental Health-funded research is focused on examining the effectiveness and implementation of evidence-based practice strategies for children with autism spectrum disorders in publicly-funded mental health services. Other research interests include early screening and intervention, parent training, research-practice partnerships, clinician training/supervision and parental stress in parents of children with disabilities.
Natacha Akshoomoff, Ph.D., Clinical Neuropsychologist
Natacha is an associate adjunct professor at the UC San Diego Department of Psychiatry and Center for Human Development. She also provides developmental evaluations at the Autism Discovery Institute. Natacha’s training and experiences have focused on clinical assessment of children, particularly children with neurodevelopmental disorders. She has more than 20 years of experience in pediatric clinical neuropsychology, and her current research focuses on neuropsychological development in children born premature, children with an autism spectrum disorder or those at risk of developing one, and children with syndrome-related genetic variations.
Rene Barbieri-Welge, Ph.D.
Rene received her doctorate in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara and completed postdoctoral training in pediatric psychology at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in 1997. She has been a licensed psychologist since 1998 and a licensed speech-language pathologist since 1983. Rene began working at Rady Children’s in 1999. She specializes in the developmental assessment of children ages birth to 5 years with a wide range of developmental issues, including prematurity, prenatal substance exposure, failure to thrive, developmental delay, language delay, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD and Angelman’s syndrome. She also speaks Spanish.
Jennifer Reinehr, Psy.D., Alexa’s PLAYC Program Psychologist
Jennifer has been a licensed psychologist since 2008. She attended Nova Southeastern University’s doctoral program, which provided a specialization in both clinical and school psychology. Prior to her work at Rady Children’s, Jennifer worked in the Broward County public schools as the lead psychologist on a transdisciplinary evaluation team assessing young children transitioning into special education services. She has an expertise in developmental assessment and development of intervention plans that address the developmental and behavioral needs of children and their families.
Mary Baker-Ericzén, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
Mary is a clinical psychologist and research scientist at Rady Children’s, as well as an adjunct faculty member at the UC San Diego Department of Psychiatry and University of San Diego School of Leadership and Educational Sciences. Her training and experiences have focused on clinical assessment and intervention for children and young adults with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit disorder, emotional disorders, depression and disruptive behavior problems. Her current research focuses on parent and child factors in child mental health, maternal depression, family empowerment models, community services research, and cognitive and behavioral interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
Amy Drahota, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
Amy earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2008. She is a clinical psychologist at the Autism Discovery Institute and an assistant research professor in the Department of Psychology at San Diego State University. Her training and experiences have focused on intervention for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and co-occurring emotional problems, such as anxiety, and disruptive behavior problems. Her current research focuses on working closely with community agencies serving children with autism spectrum disorders to implement evidence-based practices and to modify interventions to be used effectively in community settings.
Ember Lee, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
Ember earned her doctorate in child clinical psychology from Auburn University in 2009. She now provides both evaluation and treatment at the Autism Discovery Institute and is a senior research associate for Rady Children’s in its Child and Adolescent Services Research Center. Clinically, Ember has worked with children, adolescents, and their families who have developmental, behavioral and emotional difficulties. Her research interests include translating evidence-based practices into group settings for the autism community, the influence of parent-child interactions on children’s behavior, parent training, and evidenced-based practices for disruptive behavior disorders in children and adolescents.
Melanie Weinfeld, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist
Melanie completed her doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Texas at Austin in 2007. She has provided assessment and intervention services to children in school, clinical and research settings for the past 20 years. Melanie has expertise in the identification of children with developmental delays, especially those at risk for autism spectrum disorders. Additionally, she provides behavioral and cognitive therapies for children and adolescents. In her work at the Autism Discovery Institute and Rady Children’s Developmental Evaluation Clinic, she is committed to providing families with the information and resources they need to enable their child to reach his or her full potential.
Allison Jobin, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Behavioral Specialist
Allison received her doctorate in psychology from the University of California, San Diego and is also a board-certified behavior analyst. She has had the pleasure of working with children with autism spectrum disorders and their families since 2002. Her clinical experience includes the development, implementation and supervision of evidence-based interventions in a variety of settings. Her research has focused on how to best match or adapt intervention approaches to individual child and family needs. At the Autism Discovery Institute, Allison is committed to making a difference in the lives of individuals affected by autism through clinical research and practice.
Colleen McNish-Heider, M.S., Behavioral Specialist
Colleen earned her master’s degree in educational counseling from National University. She has been implementing home- and school-based behavioral interventions for children with autism and other developmental disorders since 1999. Her clinical experience includes the implementation and development of early intervention programs for children with autism spectrum disorders in addition to training therapists in a variety of research-based approaches.
Chelsea Mc Cawley, M.Sc., BCBA
Chelsea has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from San Diego State University and a master’s degree in applied positive psychology from the University of East London. Her post-graduate research focused on the application of strengths in young children with autism spectrum disorders, which fueled further interest in promoting well-being in children with autism and providing clinical intervention. Additionally, Chelsea provided in-home support for children with autism in Ireland and Australia. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two dogs, riding her bike and exploring San Diego.
Eliza Harley, Ph.D
Eliza is a clinical psychologist at the Autism Discovery Institute and Developmental Evaluation Clinic at Rady Children’s. Her clinical interests include infant/early childhood mental health, modifying evidence-based practices for children with developmental disabilities, and Latino mental health. Her current research focuses on modifying evidence-based practices for children with autism, and cultural considerations in the design and facilitation of parent support groups for Latino parents of children with recent at-risk identification or autism diagnosis.
Colby Chlebowski, Ph.D.
Colby Chlebowski, Ph.D., is an assistant clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry at UC San Diego and a licensed clinical psychologist at the Autism Discovery Institute. She received her doctorate in child clinical psychology from the University of Connecticut and completed her postdoctoral training at UC San Diego and the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center at Rady Children’s. Dr. Chlebowski’s clinical expertise is in the identification and assessment of children at risk-for autism spectrum disorders, as well as intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders and co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety and disruptive behavior problems. Her current research interests include adapting evidence-based interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders served in community settings.
Nora Camacho, M.A., BCBA
Nora graduated from Providence College, where she earned a bachelor’s in education. She went on to earn a master’s degree from San Diego State University in special education, with an emphasis in autism, as well as a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Alliant University. Nora became a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA) in 2010. She worked as a supervisor for in-home applied behavior analysis therapy programs for nine years prior to joining our team. Nora is passionate about improving the lives of children and adults with disabilities while also supporting their families.
Bonnie Corbin, Administrative Associate
Bonnie has been a part of the Autism Discovery Institute since its inception. Then known as the Children’s Autism Intervention Center, Bonnie held roles ranging from scheduling, assisting in the Toddler School and taking care of the daily business transactions. With the expansion to the Autism Discovery Institute, Bonnie now focuses more on the business operations but may still be found interacting with families at the front desk or handling a variety of tasks.