Revised: August, 2018


Connections Academy East (CAE) is a private therapeutic day school, founded in 2015.  We serve children and adolescents, ages 6-21, primarily from Lake County who, because of significant special education needs (ED, BD, LD, OHI, TBI, AUT & ID), require an alternative school program that is both educational and therapeutic.  CAE has two programs housed within the same building; one program that serves children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders, including OCD, ADHD, depression, and bipolar disorder, and one program that serves children on the Autism Spectrum.  CAE utilizes educational, family and community connections to promote academic achievement, social/emotional well-being and personal growth.  The Staff Members at CAE employ a variety of methods to help students make academic progress, and develop and/or improve their coping skills, problem-solving and social skills.  By utilizing a combination of respect, humor, empathy, and kindness balanced with firmness (i.e., maintaining high expectations and ensuring that students adhere to rules, boundaries and limitations), Staff Members are able to establish and maintain supportive, nurturing relationships with our students.  In turn, these relationships can help the students be more open to learning the life skills required for long-term success.

When working with children on the Autism Spectrum, CAE utilizes the SCERTS (Social Communication, Emotional Regulation, Transactional Support) educational and therapeutic model to determine the student’s developmental level and areas in need for improvement for their Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). The student’s SCERTS profile provides the basis for use of successful therapeutic interventions to address the developmental challenges that interfere in the areas of: academic learning, socialization skills, emotional regulation, integration of internal and external sensory information, and restricted/perseverative patterns of thinking or interest. The treatment modalities found to be successful for the ASD populations and used at CAE might be: Carol Grey’s Social Stories, Jeb Baker’s Social Skills, Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking paradigms.

The students at CAE engage in an academically challenging curriculum emphasizing group instruction and hands-on activities.  Due to their complex histories, many of the students at CAE have comorbid disorders, thus the Clinical/Therapeutic Staff at CAE utilize a variety of psychological orientations and interventions to address their clinical needs including, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Solution Focused Therapy, Psychodynamic Principals, Family Systems, and Narrative Therapy.  In addition, the Lakota-Sioux Circle of Courage – which teaches the value of belonging, independence, generosity and mastery – is explored to help students develop these essential life skills.  This multi-faceted approach works to assist the students in: overcoming issues at hand; practicing more successful behavioral alternatives; and exploring ways to re-write their negative life stories.  The goal is to work with students to build on their strengths and gifts, and be allies with them in their “fight” against the challenges and obstacles that get in the way of their success.  The therapeutic milieu is based on a positive, nurturing model, where natural, logical consequences for behaviors are frequently utilized.CAE avoids using restrictive and/or punitive methods of behavioral management and does not have an isolated time-out room.  The Behavioral Intervention Specialists, CAE staff, and Doctoral Interns are trained with Non-Violent Crisis Prevention Training (CPI) and use of therapeutic holding (restraint) is only employed as a last resort, when the child is determined to be a danger to him/herself or others.

Ms. Betty Lindquist, Dr. Sol Rappaport, and Ms. Elaina Shannon, the founders of our program, chose to base the mission of CAE on philosophical principles similar to those held at Counseling Connections – their multi-disciplinary group practice which specializes in the therapeutic needs of children, adolescents and families.  The professionals at Counseling Connections have worked closely with the schools, courts and social service agencies of Lake and Northern Cook Counties since 1983.

Connections Academy East offers a comprehensive array of support services, including:

  • Small Group and Individualized Academic Instruction
  • Individual, Group & Family Therapy and Crisis Intervention
  • Psychiatric Consultation and Evaluation
  • Diagnostic Testing & Comprehensive Psychological Assessments
  • Individual and Group Art Therapy
  • Substance Abuse Evaluation and Individual & Group Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy and Speech & Language Evaluations and Services
  • Social/Emotional, Problem-Solving & Coping Skill Building
  • A Comprehensive Behavioral Management Program
  • Daily School Nurse Services
  • Transition & Post-Graduation Preparation

The Clinical Training Program at Connections Academy East is quite extensive, offering three Post-Doctoral Fellowships, three Doctoral Internships, and six Psychotherapeutic Externship/Practicum positions.

Ultimately, the main training goal/objective is to promote professional growth in such a way that, by the end of the training year, student therapists feel confident in their ability to competently provide therapeutic and psychological services in accordance with the highest standards of care.  For specific information regarding Externship, Internship, and Post-Doctoral Fellowship, please refer to the respective job description located on the CAE website.

  • Individual, Group, & Family Therapy, and Crisis Intervention with children, adolescents and their parents/guardians.  Co-leading “Specialty Groups” with experienced staff group leaders (art therapy, music therapy, drug & alcohol education and personal management).
  • Assisting with the facilitation of Monthly Parents’ Support Group meetings.
  • Attending Multidisciplinary Staffings for students; and writing and presenting Treatment Summaries, and occasionally Social Developmental Histories, for these Staffings.
  • Conducting comprehensive psychological assessments for case study evaluations, 3-year re-evaluations, and other assessments as deemed appropriate by the treatment team.
  • 2 hours of Individual, and at least 2 hours of Group Supervision/Didactic/In-service Training per week with at least two Licensed Clinical Psychologists, and opportunities to consult, as needed, with other members of the Clinical Training Staff.The primary focus of this supervision is to explore and develop the psychological services rendered directly by the Intern, as well as supporting their professional development.
  • Monthly consultation meetings with the Medical Director/Consulting Psychiatrist for CAE.
  • Daily Staff Meetings  to discuss the day’s events, problem-solve and develop plans for the future.
  • Institute Days – in-school staff training which cover school-related, community, therapeutic and behavioral topics and interventions; and include mandatory Crisis Prevention Intervention (CPI) training (for which you will receive formal certification).
  • 12 consecutive months – starting mid-August.
  • At least 40 hours per week (7:30am – 3:30pm, Monday – Friday) are required.
    • Please note: some evening work may be required in an effort to be available and accommodating for Family Therapy sessions.
  • Externs complete a minimum of 750 hours of Supervised Clinical Experience, while Interns and Post-Doctoral Fellows complete a minimum of 2,000 hours of Supervised Clinical Experience throughout the year; this time is spent in: Direct Service; Indirect Service; Training and Supervision.
  • Interns and Post-Doctoral Fellows are expected to spend at least 800 hours in direct, face-to-face student service.

Evaluation is an active, ongoing process throughout the training year.  All evaluations that are required by a trainee’s academic program will be completed by her/his Primary Supervisor.  At the Externship level, evaluations will be completed utilizing the evaluation form from the trainee’s academic program.  At the Internship level, evaluations will be completed utilizing an Internship Evaluation Form developed by the owners and administrators at CAE in addition to any evaluation forms required by their training program.  At the Post-Doctoral Fellowship level, evaluations will be conducted utilizing the standard employee evaluation form.  In addition, the Supervisor and trainees will have an active discussion of the evaluation itself, and the trainee’s areas of strength and weakness (this type of discussion will occur at least 2 times throughout the course of the training year).  Any serious concerns will be discussed with the trainee, the other members of the Clinical Training Staff, and the Director of Training at the trainee’s academic program.  All trainees will receive a copy of the document: Due Process Procedures,for a full explanation of these policies, at the beginning of their training/orientation.

  • Vacation Time ~ Thanksgiving, Winter, Spring and Summer Breaks, all National Holidays and a modified Summer Schedule (3 days per week, for the last 7 weeks of the school year).
  • No pager or on-call duties
  • Free lunch available daily from Organic Life
  • Free Parking
  • Laptop Computer
  • Monthly Allowance for Program/Clinical Supplies

As a Connection’s Academy East Post-Doctoral Fellow, you will be a member of a dynamic Clinical Team:

Ruth Tompkins, Psy.D.
Illinois School of Professional Psychology
Licensed Clinical Psychologist / Senior Psychologist

Charlotte Edwards, Psy.D.
Illinois School of Professional Psychology
Licensed Clinical Psychologist / Auxiliary Supervisor

Sol Rappaport, Ph.D.
DePaul University
Licensed Clinical Psychologist / Founder / Administrator / Auxiliary Supervisor

CJ Garcia, Psy.D.
Adler School of Professional Psychology
Licensed Clinical Psychologist / Assistant Senior Psychologist

Shazia Tayyab, M.D.
King Edward Medical College
Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist / Medical Consultant

Amelia Justice, Psy.D.
Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Program Therapist

Danielle Boggeman, Psy.D.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Danika Prister, ATR
Adler University
Art Therapist

Kayla Meyer, MT-BC
Maryville University
Music Therapist

Crystal Hall, B.S., OTR/L
Concordia University
Occupational Therapist

Kacy Nelson, OTD, MS, OTR/L
Rocky Mountain University
Occupational Therapist

June Klein-Koonin, M.A., CCC/SLP
Northwestern University
Speech & Language Pathologist

Sima Kamenetzky, MS-CCC/SLP
Nova Southeastern University
Speech & Language Pathologist

Margaret Slavich (Psy.D. Candidate)
Argosy University
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Rebecca Dougherty (Psy.D. Candidate
Adler University
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Lindsey Cooley, M.A. (Psy.D. Candidate)
Adler University
Doctoral Intern

Suzanne Snyder, M.A. (Psy.D. Candidate)
Chicago School of Professional Psychology – Washington, DC Campus
Doctoral Intern

Sarah Tuberman, M.A. (Psy.D. Candidate)
California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University
Doctoral Intern

Sarah Goldberg (Psy.D. Candidate)
Roosevelt University
Therapy Extern

Yarone Grabiner, M.A. (Psy.D. Candidate)
ISPP – Argosy University
Therapy Extern

Kara Londergan (Psy.D. Candidate)
Adler University
Therapy Extern

Nicole Miller  (Psy.D. Candidate)
ISPP- Argosy University
Therapy Extern

Hayley Roberts (Psy.D. Candidate)
Adler University
Therapy Extern

Please note, at each level of training, CAE trainees have clearly and consistently designated titles: Post-Doctoral Fellowship = “Fellow” or “Post-Doc”; Doctoral Internship = “Intern”; and Psychotherapeutic Externship = “Extern”.  Additionally, all school staff members are referred to by their formal title (Ms., Mr. and Dr.) to support a climate of respect and more clearly establish boundaries between students and staff.

Students from Doctoral level Clinical Psychology training programs, who have met all the requirements of their program for application for this training rotation, must submit the following materials by November 15th prior to their Internship year:

  • Cover Letter outlining professional goals and interests, and how this Internship site

meets those criteria

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Completed AAPI
  • All Graduate School Transcripts

This information must be forwarded through the AAPI Online Portal to:

Ruth Tompkins, Psy.D.
Clinical Director & Director of Clinical Training


APPLICATION NOTE:  Please do not send any application materials under separate cover – all materials should be sent together through AAPI Online.

If you have any further questions, please contact Dr. Tompkins at:


Phone: (224) 544-5920 ~ Ext. 101

Connections Academy East abides by the APPIC policy that no person at this training facility will solicit, accept or use any ranking-related information from any Internship applicant.

The Doctoral Internship at Connections Academy East fulfills the licensure requirements for “Doctoral Supervised Practice” as established by the State of Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.