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Center on Human Development and Disability
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Heather Carmichael Olson, Ph.D.

Faculty, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
Research Affiliate, Center on Human Development and Disability
quiddity@uw.edu
206-685-0964, 206-987-1995
University of Washington
Box 358855
Seattle, WA 98195-8855

Dr. Carmichael-Olson

Dr. Carmichael Olson’s general research interests center on (1) the impact of parental substance abuse on children's development and (2) identifying best practices for assessment and intervention with prenatally alcohol-/drug-affected children and their families. She has focused on the underserved group of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), who typically have challenging neurodevelopmental disabilities and behavior problems.  Research has included descriptive studies of the long-term effects of alcohol and cocaine on child outcome. Carmichael Olson was also involved in creating comprehensive services for alcohol/drug treatment and family support for seriously chemically dependent women with young children.  The treatment center created in this project continues in operation as a non-profit, self-sustaining community agency.

Carmichael Olson’s research is aimed toward developing practical FASD assessment and intervention methods, including behavioral consultation intervention for families raising school-aged children with FASD and concerning behavior problems. Carmichael Olson and colleagues are currently involved in multiple research projects: descriptive study of clinical data on children with FASD, birth to 8 years; descriptive neuroimaging, neuropsychological, and spectroscopy study of several groups of children aged 8 to 16 years with FASD and matched controls; and a pilot study of what appears to be a high prevalence of sleep disorders among children and adolescents with FASD. Carmichael Olson also provides clinical services to families raising children with FASD. These clinical experiences, which allow her to learn from families, inform her research efforts.


University of Washington • Center on Human Development and Disability • Box 357920 • Seattle WA 98195-7920 USA • 206-543-7701 •chdd@uw.edu