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Curriculum

Training at Children’s National

We offer two-year, full-time fellowships in pediatric neuropsychology in an academic medical setting. Our training combines clinical, didactic, and research activities to prepare you for a career in clinical-academic neuropsychology. We are a member of the Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology (APPCN) and our program is designed to conform to guidelines set forth by the INS-APA Division 40 Task Force and the Houston Conference on Specialty Education and Training in Clinical Neuropsychology. These positions offer a Major Area of Study in neuropsychology per the taxonomy for education and training in clinical neuropsychology.

The Division of Neuropsychology has its main office at an outpatient facility in Rockville, MD, in the Washington, D.C., metro area. We also provide services at additional locations in DC and suburban Maryland. Fellows work with children and adolescents with complex developmental and medical/ neurological disorders from diverse cultural backgrounds. We are particularly known for expertise in pediatric concussion, autism spectrum disorders, and the effects of medical and developmental disorders on executive functions. Development of assessment tools and research-based treatments are also areas of unique strength. We champion diversity, equity and inclusion, and are deeply committed to training.

Our faculty and postdoctoral fellows are involved in grant funded clinical research, and our team actively publishes in high impact, peer-reviewed journals. Our neuropsychology faculty members are leaders in the field, serving as grant reviewers, chair and committee members, professional organization board members, and panel experts for national and international societies, research consortiums and foundations. This high level of expertise, combined with our location in the Washington, D.C., area, uniquely positions us for involvement in advocacy related to issues such as mild TBI in children and autism spectrum disorders. Several faculty members have attained or are currently pursuing board-certification in neuropsychology (ABPP/ABCN). 

Clinical Experiences 

Approximately 45-65% of overall time is devoted to clinical work. Fellows typically have two “clinic days” per week. A clinic day can follow various formats, such as a full neuropsychological evaluation, a more brief focused evaluation, or a day in concussion clinic seeing multiple new and follow-up patients. Fellows receive the assistance of our well-trained psychometrists, who administer and score a portion of the assessment, and also work with extern assistants (see Didactics and Professional Development Experiences, below). Fellows receive at least two hours of individual supervision per week, plus group supervision, with faculty involvement in cases tailored to the needs of the individual fellow to support growing independence. Fellows are based in our Rockville office, but typically spend some time at other locations in Washington, D.C., and Maryland. At all locations, patients are usually seen on an outpatient basis. There may occasionally be opportunities to provide consultation or brief service on inpatient units (e.g., shadowing a faculty member, seeing an epilepsy patient during admission for pre-surgical EEG or cortical mapping).

Most patients are school-age children through late adolescents, but there are opportunities to see preschoolers according to the fellow’s interests. The Washington, D.C., metro region is very diverse in regard to race, ethnicity, national origin, and language. Referrals include complex neurodevelopmental and medical/neurological disorders.

Fellows develop facility with:

  • Battery selection and administration
  • Focused history taking and process-driven behavioral observations
  • Case formulation
  • Provision of feedback
  • Report writing
  • Work with multidisciplinary teams and cultural competency

Fellows are expected to demonstrate competency for independent practice by the end of postdoc.

Didactic and Professional Development Experiences

Approximately 15-20% of the fellow’s time is devoted to didactics and professional development activities:

  • Weekly didactic/professional development meetings: These meetings rotate each week and include group supervision, research meeting, DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) topics, and meetings with the training director.
  • Neuropsychology Seminar: The weekly neuropsychology seminar series is designed to prepare fellows for professional practice and board certification in neuropsychology. It includes review of major topics in functional neuroanatomy and neuropsychological disorders, as well as legal and ethical issues and fact-finding case seminars.
  • Autism Seminar: fellows on the CASD rotation attend this series of presentations by faculty and guest speakers (2x/mo), and a monthly ADOS training, along with the full CASD multidisciplinary team.
  • Additional opportunities through the larger medical center include:
    • Hospital Grand Rounds
    • Behavioral Medicine Grand Rounds
    • Neuroscience Seminar
    • Neuroradiology Rounds
    • Epilepsy team meeting
    • Brain cutting
    • Observing brain surgery
    • Main hospital campus in Washington DC 6 shadowing a neurologist, etc.
    • Most of these meetings can be attended remotely via video teleconference.
  • Teaching and Supervision Opportunities: The fellow will develop teaching and supervisory skills to prepare for independent practice as a pediatric neuropsychologist within clinical and academic medical settings. Fellows develop their own supervisory skills with psychology externs and psychometrists. Fellows present topics in the neuropsychology and autism seminar series and may be asked to present in other training sessions within the hospital. Fellows also regularly provide community education and outreach at the local level and beyond.

Sample Postdoc Schedule

Applicants often wonder how all the above opportunities come together over a two-year period, and what a typical schedule might look like. The example below is an illustration. Actual schedules will vary depending on program needs and trainee interests. There are opportunities to choose elective rotations in Year 2. For example, fellows might choose a rotation that includes preschool assessments to gain experience with younger ages, and/ or request specific medical populations of interest (Epilepsy, Hematology/Oncology).

Fellows participate in multiple rotations at any given time. Rotations vary in both length (6 months or 12 months) and intensity (e.g., cases weekly or twice a month). The most intense rotations may involve a weekly case/clinic for 12 months. A less intense rotation may be twice-monthly clinic for 6 months. We often use “alternate week” scheduling, so that one case type is on some weeks, and another case type is on the alternate weeks. This allows for variety in a fellow’s case load/training experiences, balances demands on trainee and supervisor time, and helps us ensure coverage for different clinics over the course of a year.

 

Year One

Year Two