About Dr. Johnson
Dr. Russ Johnson has been a licensed psychologist and nationally certified school psychologist for over 30 years. He consulted, worked and taught in schools and hospitals. He held adjunct faculty positions at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and the School of Rehabilitation Science and Technology also at the University of Pittsburgh. In addition, he served as Chief of Pediatric Psychology and Coordinator of Behavioral Medicine at The Mercy Hospital of Pittsburgh. For 15 years he was the consulting psychologist to Shady Side Academy Senior School. Early training at McLean Hospital at Harvard University led to a Ph.D in Psychology from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. During his graduate work he was a Visiting Researcher at the Boys Town Center for the Study of Youth Development.
During his career Dr. Johnson maintained an active evaluation and psychotherapy practice with adults, adolescents and children on the autism spectrum as well as neuro-typical children, adolescents, adults and families. He developed original assessment instruments and adapted other instruments to enhance the personal and work outcomes and quality of life for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other social differences.
Through his work with clients and their families, Dr. Johnson recognized that verbal adolescents and adults with ASD are under served since most ASD services and products are oriented toward children. To address the special needs of this under served group, Dr. Johnson and his associates developed the ICONz Program consisting of the ICONz Social Concept Cues and the ICONz Curricula, a set of specialized products and services that enhance the development of life skills, particularly social skills in those with ASD, neuro-differences and social deficits.
Working with clients, it quickly becomes clear that when one member of a family has ASD, everyone in the family is affected. Therefore, the ICONz Program reflects a “systems” approach to working with individuals and their families whenever it is clinically appropriate. Dr. Johnson and colleagues have used the ICONz Program in independent practice, in community organizations and public schools. In addition to clinical work, continued training and research in improving the ICONz Program remain important goals.
Various elements of the ICONz Program have been used by Dr. Johnson and his associates at the Katz Graduate School of Business at the University of Pittsburgh, the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School, the Rehabilitation Counseling program at the School of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh, the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and Parents in Toto Resource Center—all with notable success.