Episode 3 of the MHDD Mental Health Crossroads podcast, Dr. Verity Rodrigues discusses how hard it is for organizations, providers, and autistic individuals themselves to realize that people with autism can also experience mental health challenges like anxiety or depression. This leads to other challenges with diagnosis and treatment. Advocates and researchers are only recently bringing attention to these issues.

Dr. Rodrigues is an educational consultant and clinical psychologist at Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD), at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dr. Rodrigues came to the field of special education or disability disciplines after earning undergraduate degrees in Anthropology and International Studies, with a focus on Mesoamerican history. In this episode she shares her own personal experiences with mental health and impactful early experiences in her personal life and early schooling. These experiences informed her decision to pursue higher education degrees, both a master’s and a PhD. School and clinical psychology seemed like a great fit because she wanted to be in an environment where children spend a lot of time and she could make an impact.

Some of the tools Dr. Rodrigues has help create include a free online learning portal to help more people access toolkits about autism and mental health (register with an email), resources for educators, on-site intensive trainings and other professional development, web-modules, and information about community-based services.

To learn more about the work Dr. Rodrigues is involved you can listen to the full episode here, read a transcript of the episode, and visit the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center Learning Portal  and TRIAD website.

Remember to subscribe to the MHDD Crossroads Podcast and follow us on social media – @mhddcenter – for updates on upcoming content, resources, and podcast episodes. You can also visit our website and subscribe to our newsletter www.mhddcenter.org

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