Autism & Learning

with Dr. Melanie Hsu and Dr. Cassandra Sanchez

Autism & Learning

Episode 21, Season 4 | June 19, 2024

Show Notes

Join our guest host, Natalie Tamburello, Community Engagement Manager at CHC, as she discusses the unique challenges and strengths that students with Autism navigate while learning in school. She is joined by two of our expert CHC Licensed Psychologists, Dr. Melanie Hsu and Dr. Cassandra Sanchez. They share how the social challenges associated with Autism can pose barriers to learning when in a highly stimulating environment like a school classroom. Listen in to gain a deeper understanding of these unique challenges and learn how to leverage their strengths to support the learning journey.

Guest Info

Dr. Hsu attended the University of Washington for her undergraduate degree in Psychology. After working for a year as a residential treatment counselor and in a genetics lab, she attended the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology at Palo Alto University to obtain her PhD in Clinical Psychology with emphases in Child & Family and Health Psychology. Dr. Hsu’s passion for working with children and families with Autism Spectrum Disorder and developmental disabilities started during a practicum at Children’s Hospital Oakland at the Children’s Hospital Autism Intervention (CHAI). She completed her postdoctoral residency at the Kaiser Permanente Autism Spectrum Disorder Center in San Jose. She worked there for four years in diagnoses, research, supervision, and training. Dr. Hsu currently continues to work part-time at the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research with the Autism Research Project (ARP) as the clinical lead for several research studies, including SEED (Study to Explore Early Development), EARLI (Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation), ECHO (Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes) in the ELEGANT (Early Life Exposures and Child Growth, Adiposity, and Neurodevelopment) and ASD-ER (Autism Spectrum Disorder Enriched Risk) cohorts, PETALS (Pregnancy Environment and Lifestyle Study), and ELM (Early Life Exposures and Development).

Cassandra Sanchez headshot

Dr. Sanchez is a bilingual, bicultural Assessment Psychologist who is passionate about therapeutic assessment to support children and their families in better understanding the child’s challenges, unique strengths and potential. She strongly believes that the therapeutic process should be healing in and of itself and strives to connect with children and their families throughout each session. Dr. Sanchez pulls in cultural humility, Spanish language expertise, interdisciplinary consultation and trauma-informed conceptualization to be able to support every family by honoring their intersecting identities. Dr. Sanchez completed pre-doctoral clinical training specializing in assessment for children ages birth to 5 with developmental disabilities at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General through the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She then completed her APA-accredited Psychology Predoctoral Internship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) through the University of Southern California (USC) where she gained specialized training in trauma-focused assessment and therapy. To conclude her training, Dr. Sanchez completed a 2-year APA-accredited Postdoctoral Fellowship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles with an emphasis in Early Childhood Mental Health. Dr. Sanchez is highly trained in both assessment and therapy with young children, ages birth to 5, and their families. She has specialized in autism and developmental assessment and teaches and supervises PhD, PsyD, and MD interns and residents at UCSF in comprehensive and therapeutic early childhood assessment. Dr. Sanchez is experienced in DIR/Floortime and Child Parent Psychotherapy (CPP) for infants and toddlers, Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), mindfulness modalities, Trauma-Focused CBT (TF-CBT), Making Friends and Staying Safe child abuse prevention group therapy, and Incredible Years (IY) child and parent group therapy.