Autism Evaluation & Diagnosis Deserves the Highest Level of Confidence
We have a diverse team of highly skilled professionals that provide the greatest level of accuracy and insight.
Our Autism Evaluation Team Is Your Missing Piece!
Meet Dr. Kennedy. An incredible psychologist with a passion for working with families and helping kids become their best. Dr. Kennedy is working with the Shandy Clinic to diagnose children with developmental disorders so that they can quickly get the treatment they need and THRIVE!
Dr. Alison Kennedy
Dr. Alison Kennedy, Clinical Psychologist, is part of our Shandy Clinic team. Alison received her Master’s degree in Psychology from Pepperdine University and her Doctorate of Psychology in forensic psychology from Alliant International University in Los Angeles. She completed a 2-year post-doctorate training program in neuropsychology/neuropsychological assessment.
Over the past 6 years, Alison has provided diagnostic assessments across various populations and settings. She has extensive experience working with children and adults with developmental disabilities. She is trained in the administration of the ADOS-2 and the ADI-R, which are considered the gold standard measures to diagnose autism.
Alison was born and raised in Colorado Springs and is now raising her own family here. Alison’s husband is a CSPD officer and a member of the Colorado Army National Guard. They have two young boys that keep them extra busy!
Dr. Kate Deer
Kate Deer, Psy.D. Clinical Psychologist, is a licensed clinical psychologist, having earned her doctorate from the University of Hartford in 2012. She specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families.
Throughout her career, she has worked in various treatment settings, providing therapy and psychological assessments for children/teens presenting with a wide variety of behavioral health issues, neurodevelopmental challenges, complex trauma histories, and juvenile justice involvement.
Her passion is providing comprehensive psychological evaluations with the goal of clarifying presenting concerns and, just as importantly, a child and family’s unique strengths to best inform diagnosis and treatment. Most recently, Kate led an Autism Spectrum Disorder evaluation program, providing comprehensive, multi-disciplinary evaluations for children presenting with symptoms suggestive of Autism.
When not working, Kate enjoys exploring her new home, as she just moved to Colorado from the East coast! You might ﬁnd her running or hiking, or cooking something delicious!
Dr. Cara Vaccarello
Dr. Vaccarello is a licensed clinical psychologist and nationally certified school psychologist who recently moved with her family from Chicago. After completing her undergraduate degree at Northwestern University, Dr. Vaccarello received her Ph.D. in educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Vaccarello has had the fortunate opportunity to work alongside families of individuals with neurodevelopmental differences within clinical, educational, residential, and hospital-based settings.
Through her clinical positions at Rush University (Rush NeuroBehavioral Center) and the University of Illinois-Chicago (The Autism Program of Illinois), her work has consistently included a strong focus on evidence-based assessment of neurodevelopmental differences, treatment planning, and advocacy.
She has expertise in evaluating a broad range of presenting concerns, including autism spectrum disorder, learning disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and intellectual disabilities. Dr. Vaccarello is research-trained on the gold-standard assessments for evaluating autism spectrum disorder: the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R) and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2). She values working collaboratively with families to obtain a comprehensive profile of each child and create a clear plan toward effective services.
In her spare time, you’ll likely catch her experimenting with baked good recipes, finding her zen at yoga, or exploring with her husband and rambunctious chocolate lab.
Dr. Elizabeth Burleson
Dr. Elizabeth Burleson is a licensed clinical psychologist specializing in child/adolescent and pediatric psychology. After completing her undergraduate degree at Bucknell University, she earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Burleson completed her residency/internship at Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware and her postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric psychology at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri.
Throughout her career, Dr. Burleson has focused on evidence-based treatment and assessment. Additionally, she has expertise in multidisciplinary consultation as well as inpatient and outpatient treatment for children experiencing challenges with adjustment, management, and adherence. Prior to moving to Colorado, Dr. Burleson was practicing pediatric psychologist at a children’s hospital. She is trained in the gold-standard tools for assessment and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder: the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, 2nd Edition (ADOS-2) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R).
Outside of work, Dr. Burleson enjoys exploring the area with her husband, crafting, and trying out new recipes.
Dr. Raquel Confer
Raquel Confer, PsyD is a licensed clinical psychologist and earned her doctorate from Rosemead School of Psychology in La Mirada, CA. She completed a post-doctorate training program at the Neurodevelopment Center of Colorado in Fort Collins, CO. She specializes in working with children, adolescents, and families.
Raquel has worked with children and adolescents presenting with a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe and persistent mental illness. She has treated individuals across the lifespan in outpatient and inpatient settings, providing neurodevelopmental evaluations and psychotherapeutic treatment. The simple, yet immeasurably complex mind of the child has always fascinated her and instilled a deep passion for helping them navigate their medical, developmental, and psychological conditions. One way of doing so, which she has found to be exceedingly rewarding, is by helping parents grasp the intricacies of their children in a more sophisticated way and subsequently developing strategies to effect lasting growth and change. Above all, she has found that instilling hope and walking alongside children and their parents/caregivers during their, at times, the painful journey has been the most rewarding aspect of her work.
In her free time, Raquel enjoys practicing yoga, hiking, and visiting with family and friends.