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General Information

CAE serves students ages 6-22 with emotional and behavioral challenges, as well as the high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder population.  Interns at CAE receive training and engage in individual, group, family therapy, and crisis management with a diverse caseload and student body.  Interns at CAE receive targeted training in peer supervision, as well as psychoeducational assessment, including the administration and interpretation of psychological testing.


For the approximately 119 students, Connections Academy East has 12 classrooms consisting of 10 students in each classroom.  All classes are led by a Special Education certified teacher and at least one instructional aide, and there are three elementary classrooms, four middle school classrooms, and five high school classrooms.  In other words, approximately 30% of students are ages 6-10, 25% of students are 11-13, and 45% of students are ages 14-22. Although this breakdown changes slightly over the course of the year, approximately 99% of the population are Regular Placement students and 1% are students in the Diagnostic Program.

Teens & Library
Kids Reading Outdoor

Program Specifics:

  • Monday - Friday 7:30am - 3:30pm

  • One evening quarterly for parent/teacher progress reports

  • Training Cohort consists of: Externs, Interns, Post-Docs, and Staff Therapists

  • Individual, Group, & Family Therapy

  • 2 hours of individual supervision/week

  • 2-3 hours of group supervision/week

  • 4-5 hours of didactic training/week

  • Training on the SCERTS model for assessment and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Monthly Family Therapy Seminar and Supervision

  • Monthly Psychiatric Consultation

  • Formal IEP training

  • Exposure to and collaboration with Occupational Therapy, Music Therapy, and Art Therapy

  • Working as a Valued Member of a Multidisciplinary Team

  • Opportunity to provide informal supervision 

  • Option to conduct Animal Assisted Therapy with the onsite Therapy Dog

Contact Info:

Connections Academy East (CAE)

300 S. Waukegan Rd

Lake Forest, IL 60045



Ruth Tompkins, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Site Director


Carlos (CJ) Garcia, Psy.D.

Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Assistant Site Director


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