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Bridging the ASD and Mental Health Services Gap

Wednesday, July 10, 2024
1:00 PM - 2:30 PM (EDT)

Hosted on Zoom

Event Details


Research indicates that individuals with ASD are more likely to experience mental health conditions or disorders than those without autism. In fact, the Autism Research Institute reports that nearly 78% of children with autism have at least one mental health diagnosis, while almost 50% have two or more diagnoses. Despite this, there is a shortage of experienced practitioners available to address the co-occurrence of mental health conditions. This panel will share additional data, their experiences, and strategies to address this challenge. In this session, presenters will explore ways to bridge the service gap for autistic individuals with comorbid mental health concerns. Panelists will share statistics, discuss current challenges, and brainstorm strategies to address these challenges. An interdisciplinary discussion of the role of BCBAs, psychologists, and others when serving individuals with multiple diagnoses and when and how to refer for behavioral health services will also be explored.

Learning Objectives

  1. Participants will cite the current prevalence rates of co-occurring ASD and mental health conditions and the leading diagnoses.

  2. Participants will describe the ethics and considerations surrounding operating within the limits of their certification, license, or scope of practice.
  3. Participants will generate strategies for using a multi-disciplinary approach to treatment. 
  4. Participants will list steps to take to support and expand the service delivery for those with co-occurring conditions. 

This webinar offers 1.5 BACB Learning CEU.

APA Continuing Education credits provided by Easterseals Southern California is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Easterseals Southern California maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

This webinar offers 1.5 APA CE


  • CASP Members - free
  • non-members - $20


Paula Pompa-Craven

Rick Gutierrez

Allyson Moore

Becca Tagg

Presenter Bios and Credentials

Dr. Paula Pompa-Craven, Psy.D, is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in assessment and diagnosis of autism and other developmental disabilities. She has been with Easterseals Southern California (ESSC) since 1995 and supported several different service lines before becoming Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer of ESSC’s Autism Therapy Services. In that role, Paula supervises a staff of over 1,400 which provides applied behavior analysis, speech, physical and occupational therapy services to over 16,000 individuals with autism and their families annually.

 Paula earned her Doctor of Psychology and master’s degree at Pepperdine University and her bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA. Paula was media trained through National Easterseals and has served as an Autism Network Spokesperson. She has contributed her expertise through research and article publications, conference and university presentations, meetings, trainings and workshops. She has also participated in radio, television and newspaper interviews. Paula was presented the Pepperdine University’s Wave of Service award and was Pepperdine’s Graduate School of Education and Psychology’s Alumni Awardee and Commencement speaker.

 Paula believes that early diagnosis and treatment are key to success for people with autism and that these individuals may have a better chance at living a quality life if their autism is identified and supported in their formative years. Her research publication and areas of interest surround outcomes, assessment and staff retention. She speaks frequently to share that message and additional learning with a wider population and is passionate about bringing services to diverse and underserved communities.

Rick Gutierrez is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a licensed psychologist. He has a Doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology as well as a Masters in Psychology with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis. He has over 20 years of applied experience working in the clinical, community, and school settings. He has provided numerous workshops on Applied Behavior Analysis across Europe, Asia, Africa, North and South America. Further, he has provided international consultation to clinics serving individuals diagnosed with a developmental disability around the globe.  

Currently, Dr. Gutierrez is the Vice President of Operations and Clinical Strategy for Easterseals Southern California Autism Services. He is responsible for the oversight of the intake, contracting, new development, and network provider services provided by Easterseals Southern California. Dr. Gutierrez has extensive experience in staff training, employee retention, employee engagement, as well  as the treatment of individuals diagnosed with autism and other developmental disabilities. He is an emotional intelligence trainer. He has published research in The Analysis of Verbal Behavior. His research interests are in social skills, verbal behavior, problem behavior, and organizational behavior management.

Allyson Moore, MS, BCBA, LMFT, CCTP, is the Chief Professional Standards Officer for the Center for Applied Behavior Analysis (CABA). Allyson serves as Past President for the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA), and she serves on the ABA Coding Coalition as principal representative of APBA. She is a member of the Council of Autism Service Providers (CASP) special interest groups of Documentation, Multispecialty Practices, and California Advocacy.  She serves as co-chair of CASP's Client Outcomes SIG and as a SME for Autism Commission on Quality (ACQ) Standards Committee Workgroup on Clinical Outcomes. In addition to her certification as a behavior analyst, she is also a licensed marriage and family therapist and certified clinical trauma professional. Allyson has extensive experience serving individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other neurodevelopmental and mental disorders, as well as working in coordination and collaboration with primary caregivers, stakeholders, and other related public and private agencies.

Dr. Becca is the Executive Director of Del Mar Center for Behavioral Health, a multidisciplinary clinic in southeastern North Carolina. She has formal training in school psychology, clinical psychology, clinical psychopharmacology, and behavior analysis. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings such as schools, hospitals, outpatient settings, as well as consulting with organizations. Her clinical practice focuses on psychological testing, training future behavior analysts and psychologists, maternal mental health, and treatment of trauma and anxiety-based disorders.