Cynthia Johnson named Fellow of American Psychological Association

Dr. Cynthia Johnson
Dr. Cynthia Johnson

University of Florida autism researcher Cynthia Johnson, Ph.D., has been awarded fellowship status in the American Psychological Association’s Division 33, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities/Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Johnson, an associate professor of clinical and health psychology in the UF College of Public Health and Health Professions and a member of the Anita Zucker Center for Excellence in Early Childhood Studies, joined the university in January as part of UF’s preeminence initiative, Optimizing Early Childhood Development and Learning. In her research, Johnson has focused on the assessment of behavioral and medication treatments for children with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disorders.

“Dr. Johnson’s research directly impacts the quality of life for young children with autism spectrum disorders and their families,” said Patricia Snyder, Ph.D., the director of the Anita Zucker Center and the David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies at the UF College of Education. “She contributes importantly to our center’s work by fostering interdisciplinary collaboration.”

In the largest autism clinical trial to date, Johnson and her colleagues found that a parent training program can reduce serious behavior problems in children with autism spectrum disorder by nearly 70 percent. The findings were published April 21 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Johnson’s studies have targeted common problems associated with autism spectrum disorder, including disruptive behaviors, sleep disturbances and feeding difficulties. She also is interested in the study of broader dissemination of treatments for children with autism spectrum disorder and the adaptation of interventions for younger children and those who are minimally verbal.

Fellowship in the American Psychological Association is bestowed upon members who have demonstrated unusual and outstanding contributions or performance in the field of psychology. Fellow status requires that a person’s work has had a national impact on psychology science or practice.