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15 Questions with ACES: Dr. Kasey M. Black, Ph.D.

15 QUESTIONS WITH ACES: DR. KASEY M. BLACK, PH.D.

Interview Conducted by Kyrus Keenan Westcott

A Certified School Psychologist, Dr. Kasey M. Black is an expert in working with children with school-related academic and behavioral difficulties, including specific learning disabilities, autism-spectrum disorders, and attentional concerns. We have asked her 15 frequently asked questions in her field of expertise, both professional and personal. As a result, we are hoping that you will have better understanding of her field, and that you will also have a better understanding of our staff here at ACES.

QUESTION 1: How long have you been a psychologist?

Dr. Black: I have been working as a school psychologist for six years.

QUESTION 2: Where did you study psychology?

Dr. Black: I majored in psychology and minored in education as an undergraduate student at Haverford College and then earned my Master’s and Doctorate degrees in school psychology at Penn State (main campus).

QUESTION 3: What made you decide that psychology was something you wanted to do?

Dr. Black: I took a college course in psychology at the local community college during the summer between my junior and senior high school years to see if I liked it because they didn’t offer anything like that at my high school. After the first class, I was completely hooked!

QUESTION 4: You work mostly with children. Why did you choose to focus on children as opposed to adults?

Dr. Black: I am a school psychologist, so my work concerns learning disabilities, giftedness, autism, and other disorders that affect learning. These issues are very commonly first addressed in children, but there is the rare occasion that we will have an adult with a question regarding whether such an issue exists and had been overlooked during his or her childhood. Therefore, my work primarily concerns children by default, but I also work with some adults on occasion.

QUESTION 5: If a parent feels as though their child’s learning skills are regressing, what should they do?

Dr. Black: The first step would be to talk with the teacher to see if any environmental variables may be contributing. Also, the child’s teacher typically can help the parent determine some initial interventions. However, if such interventions do not appear to change the trajectory of the student’s learning, a conversation with a school psychologist would be warranted.

QUESTION 6: You specialize in working with children with autism. How common is autism among children in this country?

Dr. Black: According to the most recent statistics from the CDC, 1 in 88 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.

QUESTION Question 7: What causes autism?

Dr. Black: Very controversial question… The most recent research shows that a combination of genetic and environmental influences is the most likely cause of autism. Previous allegations of certain vaccines and foods being the cause of autism have largely been debunked.

QUESTION 8: What does it mean when a child is “on the spectrum”?

Dr. Black: Autism is short for autism-spectrum disorders, which include difficulties with social communication, stereotyped mannerisms, and certain behavioral patterns.

QUESTION 9: If a child is diagnosed with autism, can they still attend school?

Dr. Black: Absolutely! Because autism is a spectrum, some students may be very high functioning. In fact, many prominent figures in our society are said to have some type of autism spectrum disorder. In the event that your child is low functioning, most schools today have certain programs that serve the behavioral and academic needs of all students.

QUESTION 10: Can autism be cured?

Dr. Black: While there is no cure for autism, we can teach students methods of coping with their weaknesses. I like to think of children with autism as students whose social skills are not learned naturally; rather, we have to directly teach them how to interact socially. Once taught, especially for those who are taught at a young age, many such autistic characteristics can subside and occur less frequently.

QUESTION 11: What is your favorite book?

Dr. Black: “Of Mice & Men” by John Steinbeck

QUESTION 12: If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Dr. Black: I recently returned from vacationing in Italy with my family, and it was fabulous! Great food, beautiful architecture, and such history!

QUESTION 13: What do you like to do in your free time?

Dr. Black: Read, go running, cook, or just hang out with my family.

QUESTION 14: What advice would you give aspiring child psychologists?

Dr. Black: My advice would be to explore all of the different types of psychology with children available. Many people are unaware of the field of school psychology, which is unfortunate. Seeking out local school psychologists and other types of psychologists to learn about what they do on a daily basis may be helpful for aspiring psychologists to determine the direction of their education.

QUESTION 15: How do you like working at ACES Psychology?

Dr. Black: I absolutely LOVE our ACES family! Each staff member is incredibly friendly, respectful, and helpful. There is not another group of professionals with whom I would rather work!

ACES is a comprehensive Psychology and Psychiatry practice located in Doylestown and Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Founded by Dr. John Shanken-Kaye, Ph.D., ACES specializes in the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and adults throughout the life-span. Since 1989, Dr. Shanken-Kaye has sought and retained professionals in psychology and counseling, neuropsychology, forensics, school psychology, psychiatry and group and family psychology to build what is now acknowledged to be the premier mental health practice in the Bucks and Montgomery County region.

For appointment booking information with Dr. Kasey M. Black or any of the other psychologists in our practice, feel free to call us at 215-345-7868 or visit our official website at http://www.PsychologyACES.com today.

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