Clinical Services: Supporting Excellence at the SALT Center

Roxana Samaniego, PH.D., Director of Clinical Services

In 1989, Stephen Covey authored the classic book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. In it, he asserts that living a “principle-centered” life enables us to be more effective interpersonally, and for organizations, principles should guide decision making. At the SALT Center, we focus on embodying the principle of excellence in our work with students as we help them find their own paths to excellence in their college journey and beyond. In our experience, two critical things are needed in this search for excellence: self-advocacy and a growth mindset.

Two people sitting across a table in conversation

Self-advocacy has often been described as the result of one’s knowledge of self, a knowledge of one’s rights, and the exercise of the communication skills necessary to get one’s needs met. The Clinical Services team helps students to strengthen their communication as it is a foundational skill that underlies almost every goal our students envision. Guided by their therapists, students are supported in crafting individualized goals to help them become more effective in their emotional, social, or academic lives. We also focus on mental health support through the transition into college, developing a deeper understanding of their learning or psychological symptoms, identifying values, and improving communication in relationships.

Similarly, when we embody a growth mindset, we must believe that we can develop the flexibility and persistence skills needed to meet our goals. This is often more salient for students at the SALT Center as they must persist despite the challenges of living and working as neurodivergent individuals in a neurotypical world. Within Clinical Services, we focus on social and emotional wellbeing through program wide initiatives, individualized support, and additional studentcentered services. We also discuss the barriers to growth in a safe and respectful environment. Pursuing excellence as a principle also enables us to learn about lifelong wellness and self-care and the importance of accessing available resources.

To further our goals of whole-student support and striving for excellence, we are incredibly pleased to announce that the Assessment of Behavior and Learning for Excellence (ABLE) Clinic has joined the SALT Center’s Clinical Services team. For many years, this clinic operated within the College of Medicine to benefit the broader community. Under the direction of psychologist Dr. Christina Vasquez, the experienced ABLE Clinic team provides comprehensive psychological, neuropsychological, psychoeducational, and vocational evaluations for the University and greater Tucson community.

The ABLE Clinic promotes lifelong excellence by starting people on their journey towards increased self-awareness of their strengths and needs for appropriate levels of support, all of which are vital for self-advocacy and a growth mindset. With the ABLE Clinic as a part of the SALT Center, we will be able to further our own quest for excellence by eventually expanding and enhancing our clinical offerings to help all students at the SALT Center develop a greater awareness and understanding of their learning profiles.

To learn more about the ABLE Clinic visit