Clinical Externships in Autism

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Graduate students in clinical psychology or school psychology may apply for unpaid externship training with the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Children’s National. Externs have the opportunity to participate in one or more of the clinical services offered at CASD, including: 

  • Neuropsychological evaluation of school-age children and adolescents with known or suspected autism spectrum disorder and comorbid neurological or psychological disorders (e.g., seizures, learning disabilities, ADHD). Externs learn to administer neuropsychological tests, including measures of intelligence, attention, executive function, language, visual processing, learning and memory, social cognition, fine motor abilities, and emotional adjustment. Externs are taught to interpret test data, formulate diagnoses, assist with report writing, and participate in parent feedback conferences. Externs have the opportunity to participate in multi-disciplinary team evaluations and related team meetings and case presentations. 
  • Developmental evaluation of children and adolescents with known or suspected autism spectrum disorder. These evaluations generally focus on younger children and those with complex developmental delays or intellectual disabilities. Externs learn to administer developmental tests, including measures of intelligence, attention, language, social cognition, visual-motor abilities, and emotional adjustment. Externs are taught to interpret test data, formulate diagnoses, assist with report writing, and participate in parent feedback conferences.
  • Early diagnosis evaluations of young children with suspected autism spectrum disorder. These evaluations focus on rapid, early diagnosis of very young children with suspected ASD through a multidisciplinary evaluation by a psychologist and speech/language pathologist. Externs learn to conduct parent interviews of development and behavior in young children and to participate in structured observation and assessment of ASD. Externs are taught to interpret test data, formulate diagnoses, assist with report writing, and participate in parent feedback conferences
  • Therapy and treatment of children and adolescents with ASD. Externs may have the opportunity to provide individual, dyadic, or group therapy to children and adolescents with ASD and/or to provide parent training. This service focuses primarily on providing cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other evidence-based therapies to children and adolescents with ASD and comorbid conditions (e.g., anxiety, depression). 

Enrollment in a doctoral program in clinical or school psychology is required. This advanced externship is most appropriate for students who have completed coursework in assessment and therapy and have prior experience with children. Prior experience with autism spectrum disorder and/or related disabilities is preferred. 

Externships are typically 12 months (September-August), two days per week. All applicants are screened and interviewed through the Clinical Externship Program in Pediatric Neuropsychology of the Division of Neuropsychology. Please contact Dr. Christopher Vaughan (CVaughan@childrensnational.org) for information about the application process and deadlines.