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Clinical Training

Externs have the opportunity to be involved in a range of clinical and didactic experiences. This includes involvement in comprehensive psychological and neuropsychological evaluations, rapid diagnostic evaluations and evidence-based treatment. Externs often learn to administer neuropsychological and/or developmental tests, including measures of intelligence, attention, executive function, language, visual processing, learning and memory, social cognition, fine motor abilities, adaptive skills, goldstandard diagnostics and emotional adjustment. Externs are taught to interpret test data, formulate diagnoses and conceptualize each patient’s unique pattern of strengths and weaknesses, assist with report writing and participate in parent feedback conferences when possible. Externs may have the opportunity to participate in evidence-based individual, group and family-based treatment of children-adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), depending on their placement.

The externship is designed for students who are interested in developing advanced skills in the assessment (and treatment depending on the rotation) of children-young adult with ASD and related disabilities. Multidisciplinary teams are an integral part of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder (CASD) services, so externs regularly have opportunities to interact with providers from other disciplines. Externs have the opportunity to participate in the following clinical experiences:

  • Rapid, multidisciplinary diagnostic evaluations for young children (under 5): This service utilizes gold standard diagnostic measures, along with questionnaires and clinical interviewing, to provide same-day diagnostic information and recommendations to families: Externs will gain exposure to the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2 (ADOS-2), as well as use of questionnaire and interview data to formulate diagnoses and provide recommendations.
  • Neuropsychological evaluation: CASD’s neuropsychology program offers comprehensive neuropsychological and diagnostic evaluations for children, adolescents and young adults on the autism spectrum, or suspected of having an autism spectrum disorder. The extern may gain experience with a broad range of neuropsychological assessment tools and standard autism diagnostic measures, report writing and providing feedback and consultation with families.
  • Comprehensive psychological evaluations for young and intellectually disabled children: CASD offers briefer psychological and diagnostic evaluations for children and adolescents with significant developmental delays who are on the autism spectrum, or suspected of having an autism spectrum disorder. The extern may gain experience with a broad range of psychological and developmental assessment tools as well as standard autism diagnostic measures, report writing and providing feedback and consultation with families.
  • Autism diagnostics: Children and adolescents may be seen across a series of visits for a comprehensive, multidisciplinary evaluation or for a standard psychological diagnostic evaluation. Externs have the opportunity to work with the team leader to gain exposure to, and possible training in, autism diagnostic assessments including the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2, as well as comprehensive psychiatric interviewing.
  • Outpatient psychotherapy with children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and their families: Externs most commonly have opportunities to participate in group therapy led by faculty or postdoctoral fellows. Groups generally target executive functioning, social skills and/or transition to adult life. Some externs may have the opportunity to offer individual/family psychotherapy. Common referral issues include executive functioning problems, behavioral problems, anxiety, depression and family difficulties. Treatment often uses cognitive behavior therapy, parent-child interaction therapy, exposure therapy, executive function training, psychoeducation empowerment and parent training techniques.
  • ASD and gender diversity: Externs may also have the opportunity to work with neurodiverse children and adolescents who experience gender diversity or who identify as transgender through assisting with consultations, individual therapy and group therapy.