Spotlight On… Clinical Psychologists / Neuropsychologists

BY JAIME A.B. WILSON, Ph.D.

Dr. Jaime Wilson is AMPHL’s 2017-2019 President. Read below to hear about his background as well as his plans and vision for AMPHL. This is the second of a two-part feature on Dr. Wilson. The first part can be found here.

Jaime A.B. Wilson, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist / neuropsychologist. As part of the work in his private practice (Wilson Clinical Services, PLLC.), Dr. Wilson conducts comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations. The field of neuropsychology is dedicated to learning about the brain and nervous system.

Understanding the various functions of the brain and nervous system can help address diseases and disorders such as Alzheimer’s, TBI, depression, and addiction.

A clinical picture of cognitive and behavioral functioning is gleaned using neuropsychological evaluation instruments. The results from a comprehensive evaluation can determine diagnoses, provide targeted treatment, and measure progress in helping a patient to regain functioning or develop needed coping skills.       

Following are some questions from AMPHL regarding Dr. Wilson’s academic background, training, experiences, and his vision for AMPHL as our next president.

 
 

In your application for graduate school, did you reveal your hearing loss?  

Yes, I revealed my profound sensorineural hearing loss in the personal statement portion of the application. I tried to reveal my hearing loss in a way that could be viewed as a strength and an attribute worthy of standing out in an extremely competitive application process. What better way to stand out than to highlight a fact that is unique to you?

I also figured that revealing my hearing loss in the application process could serve as a screener of sorts for which programs might be willing to accommodate me. If they rejected me from the get-go, I would simply pursue my studies elsewhere.

 

What resources and accommodations did you use while receiving your training?

In graduate school, American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters were my main accommodation of choice for many of my didactics, case conferences, and grand rounds experiences. On occasion, I used Communication Access Real-Time (CART) services. While CART services has its positives, there are also a few downsides. One of the downsides is that it takes time for the stenographer to program the software to recognize the technical vocabulary used in the classroom. The corrected version of the transcripts—which were usually two hundred or more pages in length—may also take additional time to study.

During the postdoctoral residency fellowship phase of training, I frequently used HIPAA-compliant chat rooms to communicate with colleagues.

 

Do you have any advice regarding resources and accommodations used during your training?

One thing I learned early on is the importance of having the same accommodation provider for a given training experience. Having the same provider allows for him or her to learn the specialized vocabulary along with inherent dynamics.

It is important to provide feedback to the provider or coordinator of services regarding what does and does not work for you. Sometimes the accommodation provider is not a good match, and this information needs to be communicated with the provider or coordinator as soon as possible. Remember, it is your education you are pursuing, and you have a right to the best communication access possible.

 If you have an opportunity to “interview” potential accommodation providers before embarking on the training or vocational journey, this can give you a chance to observe the provider’s communication skills, personality, and overall fit for your needs. Often, when this route is pursued, the provider becomes the “designated” accommodation for the given academic or vocational endeavor.

 

Did you set up your office/clinic/practice with any particular accommodations?

Since the focus of my practice is on d/Deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind individuals, accommodations that are considered generally deaf-friendly are implemented within the clinic. For example, a signing front desk administrative assistant is available to assist patients checking in for appointments.

The most important accommodation device would probably have to be the video phone (VP), with a stable and high-speed Internet connection. The VP is essential not only as a telephone accommodation but as a means of providing distance therapy or other health care services (i.e., telehealth accommodation for patients who live at least 30 miles from the clinic).

Steps were also taken to ensure adequate lighting throughout the clinic. The entire clinic contains transom windows along with linear track lights suspended at least three feet from the ceiling with top and bottom lighting. The transom windows allow light from one office or lobby area to filter through adjoining spaces, ensuring a well-lit area. Other assistive technologies, such as a doorbell light flasher alert are also implemented.

On the occasion that services are provided to hearing individuals, an ASL interpreter may be employed. If there are no ASL interpreters available, lip-reading and—as a last resort—written notes may be used to fill in the gaps.

 

Any funny stories?

Not too long ago, a defense attorney requested a forensic evaluation for an individual who was imprisoned for murder and was awaiting sentencing. On the date of the evaluation, I collected my instruments and drove over to the correctional facility.

As expected, my belongings and I were searched for any dangerous items. “Are we good? Okay, shall we start?” I thought. Nope, I was herded into a tiny closet-type room with locked doors and an intercom. “Oh great,” I again thought to myself, “I—the deaf guy—am in a room with an intercom.” Apparently, instructions were being given for further screening. The voices over the intercom seemed to continue interminably.

All I could do was stand there feeling quite foolish. Although I told the security officers I was deaf, they somehow didn’t apply that fact.

Suddenly I was escorted into another room where the murderer was sitting. Then, for safety reasons, the doors mechanically slammed shut behind me and the deadbolts latched. The individual stared coldly at me. I couldn’t help but pray, “Please don’t let him decide to beat me up. There’s no way out of here, and I can’t use the intercom to call for help.”

While I know surveillance cameras were rolling, I vowed I was going to be more faithful about going to the gym.

 

Congratulations on becoming AMPHL’s President-Elect! What do you envision doing for AMPHL once you assume your role as AMPHL President after the 2017 Rochester Conference?

Thank you! We have had incredible leaders and board members who have brought AMPHL to where it is today. Those who have gone before us have planted the seeds of opportunity that make it possible for our current board to do things that would otherwise not be feasible.

As an example, consider the evolution of the AMPHL website. Wow! No—really—W-O-W!

The website has gone through many revisions. Having an elegant website serves as not only a lighthouse for health care professionals with hearing losses looking for safe harbor but as an all-important vehicle to disseminate critical information. As an educational resource, it provides answers to questions that administration at academic institutions, hospitals, and health care clinics have regarding what once was thought to be impossible—that those with hearing losses can not only survive in a health care field, but flourish.

It is from the lighthouse of the AMPHL website that my two overarching goals as President arise:

  •    To explore creative means of generating revenue to allow AMPHL to continue to sustain its mission and,

  •   Plan, prepare, and advertise for the 2019 AMPHL Conference.

Regarding the first goal, our current AMPHL President, Mike McKee, MD, has already put into motion the critical next steps of using the AMPHL website as a means of generating revenue. The success of any organization is dependent on having sufficient funds to sustain itself. AMPHL—with its manifold activities—is no exception.

My hope is that our new board of amazing individuals will be able to continue what President McKee and the recent board envisioned—to have a rolling banner display on the website that provides revenue on an ongoing basis. I hope to make it a priority that we, as a board, roll up our sleeves and reach out to companies that might be considered a good fit to advertise on the site.

In addition to website banner ads, I’d like to explore other means of generating revenue for AMPHL. One consideration is to research pursuing low-risk, long-term investment opportunities. If anyone has ideas for generating funding, please reach out to us! We are all open and willing to hear your thoughts.

The second big agenda item is to ensure that AMPHL continues the tradition of hosting successful conferences. I believe that every conference should always try to improve on the prior conference. With all the hard work and time that the current conference committee has put into planning for the upcoming joint AMPHL and RIT-NTID conference in June 2017, outdoing this conference is likely to be near-impossible to pull off. All the pieces appear to be in place for a remarkable conference in Rochester!

I hope you can sense the enthusiasm I have for AMPHL. The organization we have is beyond amazing. I am honored and humbled to be a part of such an incredible group of bright and talented people.

It is a privilege to represent AMPHL not only as its President but in all capacities that affiliation allows, whether this is as a member, board member, or on the executive committee. Without each of your individual contributions, AMPHL would cease to exist as the lighthouse to the safe harbor that it is.

 

Any last words of wisdom or advice?

If you are pursuing advanced or specialized education in a field that you love, be persistent through the difficulties that will beset you as an individual with a hearing loss.

If you run into barriers attaining your educational goals, reach out to AMPHL. We are all here to assist and cheer you on. There are many resources to which AMPHL can point you. Come to one of the AMPHL conferences and meet us. There is no greater networking resource for students or professionals with hearing losses working in the health care fields.

 

I can be reached at the following email: wcs@WilsonClinical.com