Karen Neary

PhD Psychology alumna; Child Development Specialist & Autism Consultant, Karen Neary Autism and Behaviour Services

Karen Neary“All throughout school, I was trying to decide the academic or applied track. I enjoyed research but felt that based on my personal experience, I wanted to help families that had a child with a developmental disability.”

Dr. Karen R. Neary is a BA, MASc, and PhD alumna (2011) of the Department of Psychology at UWaterloo. She is now an Autism and Behaviour Consultant in Waterloo Region. “I found that researchers were conducting excellent studies, but the interventionists were not seeing them.”

Karen assesses children with developmental disabilities and then creates individualized programs and behavior plans that are delivered in a one-on-one setting. She also runs parent support groups to help families learn how to navigate the system, access services in community, etc. “I have a child with autism so I know the challenges of raising a child with different needs and I wanted to help other parents.”

After graduation, she began working for a large multi-disciplinary centre as a Behaviour Consultant and, soon after, a Clinical Lead. After working for the agency for just over a year, Karen decided to open her own practice. “I learned a lot about child development during my time at UWaterloo and this has helped me to write successful programs for children with autism. I spend a lot of time analyzing data from the programs and making adjustments to help maximize a child’s potential. I’m able to draw from my education in statistics and data analysis, which has helped me in many ways.”

Karen hopes to teach Applied Behaviour Analysis at the university or college level, while continuing to run her company. She would also like to be more involved with research, assisting with studies and applying the findings to a clinical setting. She advises current students to “figure out what your passion is. You will love what you do if it is important and meaningful to you.”

University of Waterloo

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