Our Story

Susan Sherkow, MD founded the Sherkow Center for Child Development and Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2009 as a nonprofit to promote the optimal development of children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Sherkow integrates her practice of child and adolescent psychiatry and psychoanalysis with a neurodevelopmental perspective to offer innovative effective treatments for children with autism spectrum and other developmental differences.

The Sherkow Center was created to provide intensive individualized psychotherapies for children with autism. At the Sherkow Center, the therapeutic relationship is the intervention. We consider each child’s unique development and relationships to their parents. We attend to their deepest wishes, fears and anxieties. We help them understand their emotions, and help their thinking brains connect to their emotional brains. In so doing, we strengthen their self-esteem. We help them develop their capacities to communicate and relate to others. With relationships at the core of our approach, we help children with autism better accept themselves and connect with the ones they love.

The Sherkow Center Method:

The Sherkow Center provides intensive individualized psychotherapies to help children with autism spectrum and other developmental differences.

We recognize that early genetic and neurobiologic issues make the formation of parent-child bonds challenging, and thereby contribute to anxiety, frustration and maladaptive behaviors. Our multi-focused interventions are directed at all aspects of the child and the parent-child relationship. We thereby seek to foster the conditions at home, at school, and in the social milieu that will optimize each child’s emotional and behavioral growth.

At the Sherkow Center, the therapeutic relationship is the intervention. We consider each child’s unique development. We attend to the child’s deepest wishes, fears and anxieties. We get to know how they relate to each of their family members. We continually work to understand each child’s unique story.

This deep relational approach is what sets us apart. Most importantly, our method enables us to make meaning out of the child’s seemingly meaningless words and behaviors. We use this understanding to connect the child’s thinking brain with their emotional brain. We then help the child connect their thoughts and emotions with their intentions, a vital step towards feeling in control. It diminishes anxiety. Because the parents can better understand their child, it decreases the parent’s anxiety. With less anxiety in the parent-child relationship, parents more confidently and effectively care for their child.

At the Sherkow Center, with relationships at the core of our approach, we help children accept themselves and connect with the ones they love.

Who we treat:

  • People of all ages from infancy through adulthood who have autism spectrum disorder and other developmental differences

Our services:

  • Individual psychotherapy and psychoanalysis
  • Parent-infant psychotherapy
  • Spark youth group for children to socialize with neurotypical peers
  • Customized individual and group services for children, adolescents, parents, and families
  • Developmental, cognitive and autism diagnostic observation schedule (ADOS) evaluations
  • In-school observations and school consultations
  • Training for educators and mental health professionals

What Parents Say:

Good evening, my name is Tracy Nixon and my son Andrew and I have been working with Dr. Sherkow and The Sherkow Center for almost exactly 3 years now and I am excited to begin working together again after the August break. You’ve just heard Dr. Sherkow talk about how she works extensively with children with autism and the science behind autism. But of course, as a parent, as a mommy, what I wanted most of all, was the ability to mother my son confidently and effectively. I had gotten my arms around the reality that my son’s brain worked differently and in many ways not as well or efficiently as did other children’s. But I didn’t understand why he seemed so miserable and unhappy. My inability to be the mother I needed to be was crushing me and quite simply it was scaring my son.

When Andrew and I started working with Dr. Sherkow, we were a broken unit. He was barely functioning at school, spending more time out of the first grade classroom than in because he couldn’t be calm and safe with the group. I mothered him ineffectively by meting out a slew of disciplinary consequences that had very little positive effect. Andrew had a full range of intervention services: OT PT Speech and ABA. While these services were helpful to some degree, they didn’t help my son or me out of our misery. But, I began to recognize that my son’s misery looked familiar to me. I have a close relative with bipolar disorder and Andrew’s misery reminded me of her anguish at difficult times in her life. I began to question the behavior modification approach used by all the therapeutic interventions that my son was receiving. I finally concluded that if I didn’t believe that my son was intentionally trying to create his own misery with his difficult behaviors, then there could be a psychological explanation. And if that was the case, then we as a unit could get help.

I initially consulted another pediatric mental health organization that told me that Andrew’s expressive language was too under developed for him to benefit from psychoanalysis. Of course, they were wrong. Dr. Sherkow had been working with very young children with and without autism for many years. Fortunately, through that powerful Mommy Mafia referral network, Andrew and I began working with Dr. Sherkow and 3 very important changes began to happen: she helped him identify and articulate his fears; she advocated for him at school and she taught me, and my family, how to communicate with Andrew so that he regained his confidence in me.

Dr. Sherkow showed me that Andrew’s difficult behaviors were the manifestation of significant anxiety. She taught me to acknowledge his fears, assure him that he would be ok and that I would be there to take care of him. Dr. Sherkow then helped me to get his school on board and change the way they worked with him. He went from feeling unsafe and unwelcome at school to confident and fully accepted. Now, Andrew has begun to take command of his emotions and more effectively communicate his needs to me and others. His participation in SPARK, the social group at the Sherkow Center, has been a boon to his self-esteem.

Dr. Sherkow knew that for Andrew to have a positive view of himself in this world, he needed to know he could rely on me. She helped me be the confident mother Andrew needed and now we’re on track. Thank you Dr. Sherkow for restoring my motherhood and helping my son.”

— Tracy Nixon

…  I usually assume Ruby’s profound enthusiasm for SPARK must speak for itself, but we so appreciate Dr. Sherkow and everyone involved with SPARK for their understanding, intelligence, commitment, enthusiasm, energy and thoughtfulness with every session.

Through Dr. Sherkow’s psychoanalytic approach, Ruby’s ability to understand her emotions, express herself and participate more with those around her has blossomed. We will always be grateful.”

— Sarah Clarke