Dr. Melissa Smith is a clinical psychologist trained in individual, group and family therapy for children, adolescents and adults, as well as comprehensive psychological and psycho-educational evaluations. She joins us from Monument Academy Public Charter boarding school, where she developed the well-being program for the school. In this role, she oversaw a team of clinicians, a psychiatrist, and outside service providers in the delivery of well-being interventions for middle school youth in or at risk of being in foster care. She also developed universal and tertiary well-being programs, including mindfulness and yoga activities for youth, while also creating crisis intervention procedures for clinicians, teachers and other staff. In addition, she provided therapy and conducted assessments for children at the school.
Dr. Smith received her PhD from the Catholic University of America, with a concentration in Children, Families and Cultures. She has worked in multiple school and outpatient settings, including The Kennedy Krieger Institute; The University of Maryland Parent Consultation Clinic; Kimberly Brooks, PhD & Associates; The Milton Hershey School and the Washington Jesuit Academy, treating children with developmental disabilities as well as those exposed to traumatic life experiences.
In her new role, Dr. Smith hopes to bring new visibility to the Testing, Tutoring and Counseling Department, while also highlighting the amazing expertise of the individuals who work here. She’s looking forward to fulfilling TLC’s mission of improving lives and expanding possibilities for individuals with special needs and serving the community.
Dr. Kristin Olsen is a clinical psychologist who has been licensed in the state of Maryland (License # 04107) since July, 2005. In terms of training, she received her doctoral degree from the University of Virginia. In her education and clinical experiences at the University of Virginia Curry Programs in Clinical and School Psychology, she received extensive training in counseling with children, adolescents and families, as well as in the assessment and diagnosis of learning disabilities and attention disorders. This included coursework and clinical experiences specifically related to learning disabilities and ADHD, cognitive and academic assessments, evaluations conducted under supervision at the program clinic, and a year-long practicum in the schools. Dr. Olsen’s predoctoral internship was at the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. During this full time training year, she conducted a number of evaluations in various settings related to diagnosing and making recommendations related to learning disabilities and ADHD. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Children’s National Medical Center, in the Child Development Program, conducting evaluations of young children and receiving further training in neurodevelopmental disabilities such as autism. Dr. Olsen has now been working as a psychologist at The Treatment and Learning Centers since 2005 and has conducted over two hundred evaluations of children, adolescents, and adults with learning or attention difficulties, as well as social or emotional concerns, often needing to diagnose learning disorders and make appropriate recommendations for home, school, and testing accommodations. Throughout her time working at TLC, she has continued her education in the areas of learning disabilities, attention and executive functioning concerns, anxiety and autism by attending a number of conferences and workshops, as well as reviewing the latest research.
Dr. Sarah Towne has been licensed in Maryland (License #: 04834) since July, 2010. In terms of training, she received her doctoral degree in 2008 from Argosy University in Arlington, Virginia. Her clinical training included coursework in therapies and assessment, with a specific focus on children and families. Her clinical experiences included an externship at in the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Children’s National Medical Center, a one-year internship at the Watson Institute in Sewickley, Pennsylvania specializing in the assessment and therapeutic treatment of children with Autism Spectrum disorders, and a two-year post-doctoral residency at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland. In the first year of her post-doctoral residency program, she engaged in specialized training in the neuropsychology department conducting psychological assessments for learning disabilities, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, intellectual disability, and mood/anxiety related issues for children and young adults (ages 4-21). In her second year of residency, she trained at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) Program and became proficient in the administration and interpretation of assessment measures often utilized with young children with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders, including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), Bayley Scales 3rd Edition, Differential Abilities Scales (DAS), and Vineland Adaptive Scales, 2nd Edition. In her work here at TLC, Dr. Towne conducts psycho educational and developmental evaluations of children, adolescents, and adults with learning, attentional, and social difficulties. She also sees children, adolescents, and young adults for counseling. Dr. Towne has taught graduate level course work at The Chicago School in Washington, DC, instructing doctoral candidates in the areas of intellectual assessment and developmental disabilities, and is currently the primary supervisor for our graduate externship program.
Donna Cruickshank, LCSW-C, Therapist
Donna Cruickshank, LCSW-C is a seasoned therapist who graduated with her M.S.W. from Catholic University in 1982. Since then, she has maintained a private practice specializing in women’s issues across the life span. Her experience includes working in clinics with adolescents and adults who have a dual diagnosis as well as school-based mental health programs in elementary schools. Although trained in traditional psychodynamic psychotherapy, she is versed in Motivational Interviewing and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Additionally, she works part-time with the Treatment and Learning Centers, Outcomes Services. There, she conducts social skills workshops for the consumers and advises staff regarding trauma and mental health issues.
Dorothy Lange has a Master of Science in Education degree from the University of Southern California with a specialty in learning disabilities. She completed her student teaching at the Southern California Diagnostic School which served students with severe language learning disabilities. She has had over twenty-five years experience working as a learning disabilities specialist and educational diagnostician for school systems in California and Virginia. In her role as the educational diagnostician for the Treatment and Learning Centers she is responsible for administering educational evaluations, writing diagnostic reports and making educational recommendations for students from kindergarten through adult ages. In addition, as the Tutoring Supervisor she matches tutoring clients with an appropriate tutor with follow-up to insure that the match has been successful. She also reviews the written goals and progress reports completed by the tutors and consults with them to provide recommendations for instructional programs, accommodations and strategies. Throughout her career she has continued to update her skills by taking university courses, attending conferences, and receiving in-service training. She has teacher certification in general education, the special education areas of learning disabilities and severely handicapped, as well as reading.