Sarah Ethridge currently works as a Postbaccalaureate IRTA at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and a social coach for the CAAT PEERS® Program. Her interest in psychological research stems from her prior work as a Youth Ambassador for Tourette syndrome and her undergraduate education in neuroscience at Davidson College. At NIMH, Ms. Ethridge contributes to research projects investigating the behavioral phenotypes of rare genetic disorders associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID), such as fragile x syndrome, Williams syndrome and Batten disease. Additionally, she has gained invaluable clinical experience consulting with clinicians to plan neurodevelopmental assessment batteries and record neurodevelopmental assessments for later review. Through this work, she has developed graduate study interests in the etiology, assessment, and evidence-based treatment of social communication deficits associated with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ASD and ID.
Currently, Ms. Ethridge is applying to doctoral programs in clinical psychology, through which she can further investigate the neural mechanisms underlying social communication deficits in ASD and ID as well as evidence-based assessments and treatments. She hopes to gain training in clinical child psychology and developmental neuropsychology to arm herself with the skillset necessary to assess and treat social communication impairments in individuals with ASD and concurrent ID. Long-term, her goals include working in an academic healthcare system developing and validating assessment instruments measuring social communication in individuals with ID, who constitute an under-researched clinical cohort.