Kawena Begay, Ph.D., NCSP, is a psychologist at the UW Autism Center. She received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Luther College (Iowa), specializing in Early Childhood and Special Education. She earned her M.Ed. and Ph.D. in School Psychology from the University of Washington. Kawena completed graduate practicum training at UW Autism Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital, and predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at UW Autism Center. Kawena’s research focuses on effective teaching and counseling strategies for children from diverse backgrounds as well as best practices for ASD identification and treatment across different racial and ethnic groups. Kawena works on several research studies at the UW Autism Center and also provides clinical services.
Prior to receiving her doctorate, Kawena taught grades Pre-K through 12 in several different states, including on the Navajo Reservation in New Mexico and in rural Hawai’i at a Hawaiian Immersion school. She has also worked as a K-12 School Counselor in a Hawaiian Immersion school. A Nationally Certified School Psychologist, Kawena served grades Pre-K through 12 as a School Psychologist in both Washington and Hawai’i. She worked to improve identification services and use of culturally appropriate assessment procedures in the schools by providing additional training and consultation for district staff members.