Graduate student focuses on autism spectrum

Dru Perren, a Youngstown State University Student Success Story, will graduate this spring and speak at commencement.

Dru Perren

Dru Perren graduates this May with a Master of Science in Education. She is one of two featured commencement speakers. Perren’s studies include a focus on clinical mental health counseling with a specialization in counseling children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.

After graduating from Northwest High School in 2005, Perren completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Ursuline College in 2009. As a member of Chi Sigma Iota, Perren was selected as the Most Outstanding Graduate Student in 2011. She has served as a graduate assistant in the Counseling and Special Education Department during her years at YSU.

Perren has presented research at the local, state and national levels on topics ranging from autism and life skills for individuals with disabilities to discrete trial teaching and differential reinforcement.

She completed her clinical mental health counseling internship at Homes for Kids–Child and Family Solutions where she is now employed. She also serves as the assistant director of Camp Sunshine of Aurora, a summer camp for students with disabilities.

Perren has worked as an in-home applied behavior analysis therapist for six years, working with students with autism. After graduation, she plans to continue her work with children and families affected by autism as both a counselor and behavioral therapist.