Autism and Your Child

What is autism?

What causes autism?

How is autism diagnosed?

If my child has autism, does it mean that he or she is mentally retarded?

Outreach & Policy

Dr. Pegeen Cronin is a clinical psychologist, who specializes in diagnostic evaluations, consultations, program evaluations, and advocacy on behalf of individuals with developmental disabilities, and specifically autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Cronin conducts evaluations consistent with best practice guidelines, including use of autism-specific measures, for individuals who range in age from early childhood through adulthood. Typically these individuals present with a variety of developmental, cognitive, behavioral, or emotional issues, necessitating a comprehensive evaluation that provides clarification of what might be attributed to a delay in development or other diagnostic issues such as depression, anxiety, inattention, or/and hyperactivity.

The clinical report that results from the diagnostic evaluation is comprehensive in that it not only provides a detailed description of the assessment findings and substantiates the diagnosis, it also provides critical information to the reader and advocates for the individual and his/her family. The report is intended as a guide or "road map," and when necessary it is the basis for advocacy on the family's behalf to obtain educational or community-based services.

Thus, Dr. Cronin has participated in meetings for a student's Individual Education Plan, Fair Hearings, and provided Expert Testimony.

Dr. Cronin presented to California's Blue Ribbon Commission on autism and engaged in discussions with legislators and families on the proposed bills, some of which have now been signed into law. As a result the state has now established the California Senate Select Committee on Autism & Related Disorders, Chaired by Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, and identified the need for working groups throughout the state to participate.

Dr. Cronin has appreciated the opportunity to participate on the volunteer board of directors for Chapel Haven West (Tucson, Arizona; www.chapelhavenwest.com). This is a two year program for young adults with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum who have graduated from high school. The first class graduated in 2010 and the program remains enrolled to capacity. It has been a privilege to participate in this program’s mission as it is now developing community supports that serve both students and individuals with developmental disabilities as the program recognizes the significant need in the community for support across the lifespan for individuals with developmental disabilities.