Current Environment:

Sarah Spence | Medical Services

Programs & Services


  • English

Sarah Spence | Education

Undergraduate School


Harvard Radcliffe College

1984, Boston, MA

Graduate School

PhD, Behavioral Neuroscience

University of California at Los Angeles, Department of Psychology

1992, Los Angeles, CA

Medical School

University of California at San Francisco

1995, San Francisco, CA



University of California at Los Angeles

1997, Los Angeles, CA



University of California at Los Angeles

1998, Los Angeles, CA


Pediatric Neurology

Unviersity of California at Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA

Sarah Spence | Certifications

  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (Child and Adolescent Neurology)

Sarah Spence | Professional History

Dr Spence’s clinical and research activities have been focused on children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and related disorders.  She was recruited to BCH in 2010 and has led a multi-disciplinary effort to form the Autism Spectrum Center at BCH, of which she is co-director.

As a child neurologist with doctoral training in cognitive neuroscience, her research interests have always been at the interface between brain and behavior.  She credits her ASD expertise to the experience of doing home visits for the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE), a large autism genebank.  She spent 6 years as the medical director of the UCLA Autism Evaluation Clinic and then 4 years at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) doing clinical research.  At Boston Children’s she is combining her interests and expertise in clinical care, clinical research, and teaching with a primary focus on improving the lives of children with autism spectrum disorders and their families.   

She has lectured extensively nationally and internationally on ASD.  She has also worked on the DSM-5 Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Workgroup and worked with various foundations and professional groups including Cure Autism Now, Autism Speaks, AGRE, the Autism Treatment Network, the Dup 15q Alliance, the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.

Sarah Spence | Media

Parentcast Podcast

Dr. Sarah Spence is featured: How is each person with autism unique?

Sarah Spence | Publications

With a degree in cognitive neuroscience I have always been interested in the connection between the brain and behavior. I just did not know early on that it would take the form of young brains and their behavior. I fell in love with pediatrics as my first rotation in medical school and never looked back. There is no better job than to be able to come to work and “play with your patients!” In neurology/neuroscience we do not always get to fix things or solve the puzzles we are faced with. But working with children and their families to really explain things and help them through what can sometimes be a difficult journey is an incredibly rewarding privilege.

My personal life is dedicated to my own family. When I get to take some time off I love to sleep more, read books, spend time with friends … and it is best if all those things are done while on our sailboat.