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Pediatric Feeding Disorders Doctoral Training in Professional Psychology

Over the past two decades, the Department of Behavioral Psychology, in conjunction with an interdisciplinary team, has offered inpatient, day treatment, and outpatient services for children with feeding disorders. The medical and behavioral diagnoses of children referred to the program vary widely, including children whose mealtime behavior is a result of behavioral mismanagement and children who refuse food as a result of numerous anatomical or physiological disorders. The Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program provides doctoral training as part of Kennedy Krieger Institute’s APA-accredited training program.

Interns who are accepted to the program participate in all levels of service throughout a six-month rotation. Emphasis is placed on learning how to apply the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) in clinical care of patients as well as caregiver training. Interns will learn how to assess feeding difficulties through an interdisciplinary outpatient clinic; collect, graph, and interpret behavioral data, and use these data to inform treatment planning using single-case treatment designs within a 6-8 week intensive treatment model; and work closely with feeding patients, their caregivers, and interdisciplinary team members.  Following a period of orientation, interns assume the role of the primary therapist for three intensive cases throughout the 6-month rotation. The intern develops and conducts behavioral assessments and treatment procedures, trains staff and caregivers in protocol implementation, works closely with the interdisciplinary team, and reports in weekly interdisciplinary rounds. Interns also have the opportunity to participate in the treatment of patients in the outpatient program where patients are seen weekly or biweekly and the goal is to provide recommendations that advance feeding skills that can also be implemented and practiced in the home setting by caregivers. Opportunities to participate in research projects and present data at conferences are also available.