Clinical psychology and clinical neuropsychology students are invited to apply for an externship at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD). Depending on the rotation, the positions offer supervised training in evaluation, consultation and treatment of toddlers, children, adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. Children who come to our clinic present with problems including behavioral difficulties and social and communication deficits consistent with autism spectrum disorders. The children may also have comorbid psychiatric conditions, medical conditions, underlying neurological disorders and other genetic disorders.
A typical training week would include one clinic day during which the extern will be directly evaluating a child or adolescent and scoring completed test instruments. The second training day allows for supervision, report writing and didactics. Externs with an interest in treatment may be involved in these services on one or both clinic days, and could potentially participate in shorter assessments to allow for more involvement in treatment services. These options are dependent on locations/supervisors.
The patient population at Children’s National Hospital is culturally diverse, providing trainees with the opportunity to work with families from a variety of backgrounds. Externs learn to evaluate and treat children with autism spectrum disorders, along with a range of comorbid conditions, including ADHD, learning disabilities, epilepsy, genetic and neurological conditions, anxiety, depression, OCD and other psychiatric comorbidities. Referral questions most often relate to the child’s profile of cognitive strengths and weaknesses, diagnostic concerns, and educational and therapeutic program planning. Much of our service includes multidisciplinary interactions, particularly with speech/language pathology, psychiatry and developmental pediatrics.
The Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders is part of the Division of Neuropsychology, under the direction of Gerard Gioia, M.D. CASD is directed by Lauren Kenworthy, Ph.D., and includes seven faculty neuropsychologists, three clinical psychologists, one child psychiatrist, two speech/language pathologists, two postdoctoral fellows, as well as multiple pre-doctoral interns and externs. Our faculty and fellows are involved in grant-funded clinical research, and our team contributed numerous publications last year within high impact, peer-reviewed journals. Our faculty members are leaders in the field, serving as chair and committee members, grant reviewers 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 legislative advocacy.