Amy Laurent, Ph.D., OTR/L is a developmental psychologist and a registered pediatric occupational therapist. Currently in private practice, Amy specializes in the education of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and related developmental disabilities. The majority of Amy’s work involves collaborating with and supporting early intervention teams, school teams, and families. Her consultative services focus on the creation of educational programs and environments that facilitate children’s active engagement and learning at home, in schools, and throughout their communities. The SCERTS Model, of which she is a coauthor, along with differentiated instruction and developmental theory guide her practice.
Amy is an adjunct faculty member for the Department of Psychology at the University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI. She teaches courses focused on Developmental Psychology. Previously, she has served as an adjunct faculty member for the Communication Disorders Department at Emerson College and at the University of Rhode Island. In these roles, she developed graduate courses focused on preparing clinicians to meet the needs of children with autism, as well as the needs of their families.
Amy’s current research interests involve examining the relationship between characteristics of young children diagnosed with Autism and strategies used by parents to support them within the context of natural routines and play. Her publications focus on social communication and emotional regulation in individuals diagnosed with ASD. She frequently lectures and provides training throughout the United States and internationally on the SCERTS Model, and other topics related to therapeutic and educational intervention for children with ASD.
Amy conducts assessments using the SCERTS Assessment Process (SAP), at the request of families, school systems, and/or agencies. The SAP is a curriculum-based assessment designed to identify areas of strength, as well as areas of need in a child’s developmental profile. Specifically, a child’s social communicative and emotional regulatory abilities are assessed through direct observations of the child in his home, school, and community environments. The SAP also assesses the effectiveness of the interactive and educational supports provided by the child’s communicative partners. By observing both the child and the child’s partners, a greater understanding of factors that lead to the child’s social competence and success can be achieved.
In addition to documenting a child’s current developmental profile in relation to social communication and emotional regulation skills, the SAP is used to develop meaningful and motivating educational goals which are designed increase a child’s confidence and competence in their daily lives. Recommendations for interpersonal supports and learning supports (e.g., visual supports and activity modifications) designed to be employed by the child’s partners throughout day in an effort to facilitate the child’s development are also generated.
Two different formats are utilized to accomplish assessments.
-The first format is offered for local clients. This format involves the use of caregiver questionnaires, interviews with family members and educational staff, and direct observation of the child in at least two different environments (e.g., home, school, community). At the completion of the assessment, a comprehensive written report is provided to document the child’s current developmental profile in each of the areas assessed and to provide recommendations for goals/objectives that may be included in the child’s IEP/IFSP. A follow up meeting to review the assessment results and report may be scheduled at the request on the client.
-The second format is offered for clients at a distance. This format involves the use of caregiver questionnaires, interviews with family members and educational staff, and video-based observations of the child. Video footage for this assessment is typically gathered by the family or educational team members following specified guidelines and sent to Amy for review. At the completion of the assessment, a comprehensive written report is provided to document current performance levels in each of the areas assessed and to provide recommendations for goals/objectives that may be included in the child’s IEP/IFSP. A follow up meeting to review the assessment results and report may be scheduled at the request of the client. This may be done via phone or video conferencing (e.g., SKYPE).