(Orange County, October 2015) Albert Miranda, a PsyD in Clinical Psychology student at Argosy University, Orange County, was featured in the Los Angeles Times regarding a 16-week program at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) campus that is helping young adults with autism build better social skills. Albert is helping to conduct the classes with Elina Veytsman, the program's coordinator, and Elizabeth Laugeson, an assistant clinical professor at UCLA’s Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
People with autism often cannot easily read the emotions of others. Tone of voice, facial expression and other verbal and nonverbal cues can be as inaccessible as a foreign language, turning the most ordinary social interactions into minefields. Part of the course covers practicing different scenarios: how to plan a date; how to offer to pay at the end of dinner; how to politely decline spending the night, without reprimanding the person for asking.
The nine students in the class come from diverse backgrounds: black, white and Latino; male and female; some who have finished high school and others who are working on graduate degrees. Some found out only recently that they were on the spectrum; others were diagnosed at a very young age. Each young adult brings a "social coach," usually a parent, who spends the session in a separate room. Their coach will review the students' progress for the week, and report back on homework assignments.
Albert received a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Argosy University, Orange County in 2013. He is currently pursuing a PsyD (Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology, 2016).
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