PEDIATRIC ASSESSMENTS: WHAT MAKES US UNIQUE
Our entire team is committed to supporting families by using a collaborative and empathetic approach to examining the “whole child,” which means we not only look at academic struggles, we identify social and emotional factors that affect daily functioning. We utilize an evidence- and strength-based approach to assessment, which means that we don’t only look at “the struggle,” we identify a child’s unique strengths.
Our clinical team has specialized and extensive training in child and adolescent development, neuropsychology, and clinical psychology. We provide high-level, individualized and comprehensive evaluations, and our psychoeducational and neuropsychological assessment reports are easy for parents and educators to understand; all reports include a detailed and individualized treatment plan that is specific to the child’s environment.
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Professional License/Credentialing Information
- Licensed Psychologist (Clinical), State of California – PSY 18249
- Credentialed Health Service Provider in Psychology, National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology
Dr. Karen I. Wilson
Dr. Wilson is a clinical neuropsychologist and the owner of West LA Neuropsychology, PC. Clinical neuropsychology is a specialized discipline of psychology that examines the relationship between brain systems and behavior. Over the last seventeen years, Dr. Wilson’s work has focused on the assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders in children and adolescents, but she also has a great deal of experience evaluating adults. Dr. Wilson began her private practice work when she joined Lorie Humphrey and Associates in 2003. Between 2004 and 2006, she was also a Clinical Psychology Supervisor at the HELP Group in Sherman Oaks, California. In 2010, Dr. Wilson formed her own independent practice.
Dr. Wilson completed her postdoctoral fellowship training in Neuropsychology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital. She completed an APA-accredited predoctoral internship at the University of Florida Health Science Center and received practicum training at the Medical Psychology Clinic at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Wilson is the former Graduate Coordinator and Department Chair of the Psychology Department at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is currently an Assistant Clinical Professor (Voluntary) in the Medical Psychology Assessment Center (MPAC), Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Behavior, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. At UCLA, she supervises cases involving the neuropsychological assessment of children and adults who present with cognitive, learning, and social-emotional difficulties.
Dr. Wilson’s research has included the examination of psychosocial functioning in children with learning disorders and/or AD/HD and psychological functioning in college students with AD/HD. She has received funding from the National Institutes of Health and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. She was also given a certificate of recognition by the California Legislature Assembly for her dedication and commitment to students and the community.
DR. CLAUDIA KERNAN
Dr. Kernan is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist specializing in the assessment of children, adolescents, and young adults. She has over fifteen years of experience conducting neuropsychological assessments in private practice, hospital, and community health settings. Dr. Kernan received her B.A. from Princeton University, where she studied anthropology and psychology, and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from UCLA, where she minored in developmental psychology. She completed her predoctoral internship in pediatric neuropsychology at New York University and her postdoctoral residency in clinical neuropsychology at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, where she is currently a member of the clinical faculty. At UCLA, she serves as the director of the pediatric neuropsychology fellowship program within the medical school, which partners with The Help Group, a non-profit organization serving mental health and educational needs of children throughout the Los Angeles community. As an active research scientist in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, she has published and presented at scientific conferences on topics affecting children and young adults, including attention difficulties, dyslexia and learning differences, traumatic brain injury and concussions, and ethnic identity and multiculturalism in school settings.
Referral concerns that Dr. Kernan frequently addresses include learning differences and a wide range of medical and developmental concerns. She also has extensive experience assessing cognitive abilities for placement in gifted or enriched educational programs. In terms of her practice philosophy, Dr. Kernan is passionate about using the science of neuropsychology to empower youths and families to look “beyond” diagnoses and gain an in-depth understanding of an individual’s unique constellation of cognitive and emotional gifts and challenges. Her customized assessments provide an integrative understanding of cognitive, academic, behavioral, and emotional functioning, providing holistic insight into the person. Dr. Kernan enjoys helping children and young adults “learn about their learning style” and uses a team approach with parents, educators, and intervention specialists to design comprehensive plans for addressing concerns and optimizing development.
A former professional ballet dancer and choreographer, Dr. Kernan is an advocate for the integration of art and science education. She currently serves as an advisory board member for the Entertainment Industry Council, a non-profit organization founded to support the entertainment industry in portraying cutting edge science, mental health, and diversity issues in a socially responsible manner. She has a longstanding interest in the neuroscience of creativity and this perspective informs her clinical practice.
CV available upon request.
Dr. Nicole Michaeli
Dr. Nicole Michaeli is a clinical psychologist and associate at West LA Neuropsychology. Dr. Michaeli conducts comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations of children and emerging adults. She has developed her specialization in assessment through her extensive training in the public sector as well as in private practice. Dr. Michaeli completed an internship at a community based mental health center in Los Angeles where she provided assessments for at-risk urban youth. She was a post-doctoral fellow at the Westside and Harbor Regional Centers, where she acquired training in the identification of autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disabilities, and other developmental disorders. Since 2014, Dr. Michaeli has worked in private practice, helping children with neurocognitive and social-emotional difficulties including learning differences, attention and executive functioning deficits, emotional challenges, and developmental delays. Dr. Michaeli provides parent and educator workshops on various topics within child development.
Dr. Michaeli is also trained as a psychotherapist. She completed a predoctoral internship at the Julia Ann Singer Center of Vista Del Mar Child and Family Services, where she treated children with emotional challenges through play therapy based in object relations theory. Dr. Michaeli provided one-to-one therapy and family therapy using a systems approach. Dr. Michaeli earned a B.A. degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Ph.D. in psychology from the California School of Psychology (CSPP).
Dr. Michaeli’s approach to evaluations is a holistic one, which involves multiple components that are interwoven to create a clear and cohesive picture of the child. During the evaluation process, Dr. Michaeli conducts a careful, in depth investigation of the presenting concerns, developmental history, and she collaborates with parents and providers who understand the students’ struggles. This information is combined with data obtained through one-on-one testing using scientifically validated measures, in order to obtain a profile of strengths and weaknesses and challenges interfering with growth. A detailed treatment plan tailored to the students’ unique profile is provided to hone resources to identified areas of need and allocate supports where they are needed. Dr. Michaeli’s training in psychodynamic theory and therapy affords her the opportunity to conceptualize not only cognitive factors, but also the nuances of social-emotional and psychological functioning in order to achieve an understanding of the child’s inner world. Together, her experience in neuropsychological assessment, personality development and psychosocial functioning help to inform in thoughtful, thorough, and well rounded assessments which enable children and young adults to maximize their potential, achieve their goals, and make the road to success an easier, more attainable one.
Direct line: (310) 919-6860
Teresa Darensbourg, MA is the office manager for West LA Neuropsychology, PC. Teresa has Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology, and she has a special interest in child development. Teresa is a Spanish-English speaker with experience working with children and parents as a behavior therapist, research assistant, social worker’s assistant, project manager, and educational coach. Her Master’s thesis examined intellectual, social and emotional functioning in children diagnosed with AD/HD and learning disabilities. Her interest in studying child psychology grew from wanting to understand the complexity of learning and behavior and how difficulties are connected to the human experience.
Teresa enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, and she hopes to pursue a doctoral degree in the future.
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