Increasing numbers of children are being diagnosed with ASD and their care necessitates frequent interactions with the health care system. Brief interactions with multiple healthcare providers in unfamiliar and unpredictable settings are inherently challenging for ASD children who are characterized by social communication difficulties, high rates of anxiety, sensory sensitivities, and preferences for routine and predictability. Through research into pre-surgical interactions between ASD children and health care providers, Stephanie hopes to learn which factors contribute to patient distress, how to accurately measure it and hopefully how to mitigate the distress whenever possible. Stephanie’s ultimate goal is to develop a better understanding of surgical care for ASD children and their families.
A promising high school student in St. John’s NF, Stephanie took an advanced placement psychology course and was immediately drawn to the field. She was impressed by Dalhousie’s reputation in psychology and neuroscience and stayed to pursue her graduate degree because of the research opportunities available between Dalhousie and the Izaak Walton Killam (IWK) hospital.
Beyond studying, Stephanie is able to develop her clinical skills through practicums and she is a student representative on the Association of Psychologists of Nova Scotia’s Board of Executives, and Advocacy committee. She also enjoys cooking, spending time with her husband and friends, yoga, and watching The West Wing.