Denise was born in Los Angeles, CA and became interested in Child Psychology early in her academic career. She graduated with a B.A. in Women’s Studies and Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park and began an M.A. in Counseling Psychology at Loyola College in Baltimore where she examined social processes and relationships among college undergraduates.
However, it was not until she began working as a behavior therapist for a non-verbal child with autism that Denise realized she had found her calling. In order to prepare Denise for an advanced degree in the field, she gained essential clinical training as an extern in the Neuropsychology Department of Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
Currently, Denise is a doctoral student at Claremont Graduate University with a concentration in Applied Developmental Psychology. She works as a researcher, clinician, and parent trainer at the Claremont Autism Center under the guidance of her research advisor Marjorie Charlop, Ph.D. Denise also works as a program supervisor for home and school programs for children with autism at Pacific Child and Family Associates.
Denise’s core areas of research and career interests have focused on child assessment, social skills development, PECS, parent training, and developing technologically enhanced interventions to teach complex social skills to children with autism. Her Master’s thesis is looking at teaching persistence in social initiations to high functioning children with autism using an iTouch, a novel intervention to help teach complex social skills to this population.
Denise is an active member of the Parent Professional Partnership Special Interest Group, CalABA, and ABAI. She is currently working on completing her dissertation and research publications for a number of autism journals.
In her spare time, Denise enjoys her other passions: long distance running and cycling. She also loves to travel and is pursuing international work in the autism field to better understand the challenges of children with autism and their families in other countries.