#114: Diagnosing Autism: An Interview with Developmental Pediatrician Dr. Cheryl Tierney
For almost 20 years, Dr. Cheryl Tierney has been diagnosing patients by taking information from parents and talking to teachers, early intervention providers, and school personnel. As she works on a diagnosis for a child, she’s looking for more than just a delay in their development. She wants to see if the child has deficits in their social-emotional reciprocity, which may look like:
- Social sensitivity
- Repetitive behavior
Dr. Tierney knows that sleep problems affect the whole household, and that’s why she works with a family until a child’s behavior sleep disorder is improved or she can diagnose a medical sleep condition that needs intervention. She worked with Dr. Ferber years ago, and she’s familiar with his original work, and not the telephone-style version that many parents read about in magazines. Both of us agree that the “Cry it out” method just doesn’t address the child’s root sleep problem and that positive reinforcement yields far happier children and parents.
As an advocate for positive ABA therapy, Dr. Tierney thinks that the more we understand behavior and what motivates behavior, the more we can help change people’s behavior in a positive way. Dr. Tierney shares some of her favorite chapters and ideas from my newest book. If you’d like early access to Turn Autism Around: An Action Guide for Parents of Young Children with Early Signs of Autism, sign up for the book launch on my website Turn Autism Around. I’ve included book resources and assessment tools for every pre-order.
Cheryl Tierney-Aves, MD, MPH is a Board-Certified behavior and developmental pediatrician who has been in practice since 2002. She is a native of Brooklyn, New York and completed medical school at Tufts University in Boston. Her pediatric residency was at Levine Children’s Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. She completed Fellowships in Health Services Research and Developmental Pediatrics in 2002. After 8 years on the faculty at Tuft’s Baystate Children’s Hospital, she was recruited to Penn State Children’s Hospital in 2010. Dr. Tierney-Aves is a Professor of Pediatrics in the Department of Developmental Medicine. She is an active member of The Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (SDBP) including its Advocacy Committee. Dr. Tierney is the President and founder of the ABA in PA Initiative which is a grassroots advocacy group whose mission is to improve access and quality of ABA services in Pennsylvania. Her practice specializes in speech and language disorders to include autism and childhood apraxia of speech as well as pediatric behavioral sleep disorders.
- Why doctors must factor in the presence of comorbidities when they make an autism diagnosis.
- How Dr. Tierney makes a diagnosis using telehealth, and the special form she uses to assess her patients.
- The connection between sleep disorders and autism is so strong that Dr. Tierney does a lot of anticipatory guidance for her patients.
Attend a FREE Workshop!
— Turn Autism Around
— MaryBarbera.com/workshop(Sign up for a free workshop online for parents and professionals)
— #030: Autism and Sleep: How to Improve Sleep for Children with Autism
— How to Resolve Autism Sleep Issues in Children
— #090: Apraxia and Autism: What is Apraxia of Speech | Interview with Tamara Kasper
— What is the ADOS Test?
— How to Recognize Early Signs of Autism in Toddlers Using MCHAT
— #035: Autism Diagnosis, Waiting Lists & Early Language Development with Dr. James Coplan
— How is Autism Diagnosed? Testing & Treatment Recommendations with Dr. James Coplan