The Pediatric Developmental Disorders (PDD) clinic in the Behavioral Psychology Department offers doctoral training as a part of Kennedy Krieger Institute’s and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s APA-accredited Doctoral Internship Program.  

Our goal is to provide advanced training experiences in empirically based approaches to the assessment and treatment of challenging behaviors among toddlers, school aged children, and adolescents diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disorders such as Intellectual Disabilities, Developmental Delays, and/or genetic conditions (e.g., Down syndrome, Fragile X, Williams syndrome).

Training in assessment and intervention typically includes behaviorally-based methods such as functional assessment methodology to address the multiple factors that might influence behaviors. Interns will assume the role as primary therapists for their clients and families.  They will generate hypotheses related to function and subsequently develop multiple component function-based interventions. Interventions are aimed at decreasing the rates of problem behaviors while increasing appropriate replacement behaviors.  In-clinic sessions teach parents and caregivers how to implement treatments in the home and community through modeling and coaching. Familial barriers to treatment are assessed and methods to overcome obstacles are utilized in therapy.  While the primary emphasis of intervention is on effective parent training, children may also be treated individually (with parent assistance) to increase functional communication skills or to address internalizing problems, such as anxiety, inflexibility, and anger control deficits via modified cognitive behavioral therapy strategies. 

Parents, the clinicians, and, if possible, the clients collaboratively create measurable clinical goals.  In addition to data on directly observed behaviors occurring in clinic sessions, treatment progress is evaluated using daily electronic parent report, which is then automatically graphed for therapists’ regular review.

Our Doctoral Internship program aims to prepare professionals to function as psychologists in a wide range of settings including medical centers, hospitals, specialized schools and facilities working within multi-disciplinary teams, and private practices. Qualified candidates for the PDD Internship program will be from APA-accredited doctoral programs and will have extensive experiences in areas such as the following: 

  • Supervised practica working with children with developmental delays/disabilities including Autism and Intellectual Disabilities
  • Developing and implementing interventions for problem behaviors in the home/community
  • Conducting Functional Behavior Assessments in home, school or community settings
  • Developing and implementing Behavior Intervention Plans
  • Conducting functional analyses
  • Parent training with a focus on decreasing challenging behaviors
  • Functional communication training
  • Consultations with teachers to assess and intervene on challenging behaviors within the classroom
  • Utilizing modified Cognitive Behavioral Strategies to address internalizing disorders among children with high functioning ASD
  • Working with children and families from culturally diverse backgrounds

Interns receive at least two hours per week of individual supervision. In addition, they participate in at least two hours per week of group supervision, as well as clinical skill development seminars, and journal club/research meetings. Support is provided to attend professional conferences. Supervision from a doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst is available.