Andrea I Castillo
- Research Professional
Andrea Castillo works with community organizations to help them better serve people with disabilities and their families, including those in underserved or bilingual communities across Minnesota. As an interventionist for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), she works on the Autism Field-Initiated Innovative Research Studies (FIRST) project, a Maternal & Child Health Bureau program supporting research that advances evidence-based interventions.
“I’m driven to serve the Latinx community by supporting the education and well-being of children and youth,” said Castillo, who was born in Peru and came to the United States at age 13. “I have a deep interest in continually developing the best, most inclusive, practices when working with children with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities.”
Prior to joining ICI, she was a fellow in the Minnesota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (MNLEND) program, helping disseminate information about early intervention.
“When I finished the LEND program, I didn’t want to be done. I felt my calling was to pursue my passion to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families,” she said. “Once I learned about health disparities for children with ASD, I wanted to help create bridges for effective solutions by developing relationships with community partners, families, and researchers. There is so much more to understand about improving the effectiveness of interventions for children with ASD and their families, and I’m thankful to be part of the Institute on Community Integration research team.”
Previously, she was a parent and caregiver empowerment specialist, trainer, and family case manager at Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES), Minnesota’s largest Latino-led nonprofit organization. As a parent leader for the Saint Paul All Ready for Kindergarten program, she performed comparative research analyses of early childhood programs. She also has completed a number of trainings and certifications in social emotional development, identification of developmental delays, and inclusive practices for educators, parents, and professional staff who work with children with neurodevelopmental and other disabilities.