Discover SPARK

Webinar: When Autism and Depression Come Together

Date Published: October 27, 2021

View this recorded webinar co-hosted by SPARK & ADAA (Anxiety & Depression Association of America).

You will hear from a clinician, a researcher, and a social worker with autism who will speak to the prevalence, assessment, diagnosis, treatment options, and experiences for those with co-occurring autism and depression.  Please note that the presentation does not focus on suicide.

Webinar Speakers

Shuting Zheng, Ph.D., B.C.B.A., is a postdoctoral scholar at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. Her research interest has developed around profiling developmental heterogeneity in autism and identifying novel treatment targets to promote treatment individualization, with a focus on mental health. Dr. Zheng currently leads a longitudinal study with a cohort of SPARK young adults with autism to examine the effects of depression services and life circumstances on symptoms over time. Besides her research efforts, she is also a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) and has been an active member of the UCSF Center for ASD and NDDs clinic team.

Rebecca Sachs, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist specializing in the assessment and treatment of individuals with OCD and Anxiety or individuals on the Autism spectrum who also experience difficult co-occurring disorders. Board Certified in CBT and an expert in the top-recommended treatments for OCD and related disorders, Anxiety Disorders, and school refusal, Dr. Sachs is a sought after clinician and speaker on topics related to the treatment of OCD, Anxiety, and Autism Spectrum Disorders, and how to optimally treat individuals with co-occurring disorders. She was recognized as a rising star by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), receiving their Career Development Leadership Award in 2015.

Dena Gassner, M.S.W., is an adjunct faculty member at Towson University and is a PhD candidate at Adelphi University. Recently appointed to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) which is a body that reviews current autism research for the President’s Cabinet, she is also the co-chair of the Autistic Researcher Committee (ARC) for the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) and a national board member for The Arc US. She is extensively networked and published including her most recent contribution, Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism and has provided training events to the United Nations, in Russia, England, Copenhagen, and other places.

Webinar Resources

  • Presentation Slides (PDF)
  • Living Well on the Spectrum: How to Use Your Strengths to Meet the Challenges of Asperger Syndrome/High-Functioning Autism by Valerie L. Gaus
  • Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism edited by Barb Cook and Michelle Garnett