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

Supervisors for Doctoral Interns are licensed psychologists in addition to being Doctoral level-Board Certified Behavioral Analysts. 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.

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 one or more environmental, anatomical, and physiological variables. The Pediatric Feeding Disorders Continuum provides doctoral and postdoctoral training as part of Kennedy Krieger Institute’s APA-accredited training program.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral training opportunities are available within intensive and outpatient settings. For all fellowship opportunities, there is a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration, research and/or clinical program evaluation.

The Pediatric Feeding Disorders Intensive Services offers the opportunity for postdoctoral fellows to clinically manage intensive cases by providing supervision and oversight of one or more patients within a six- to eight-week intensive program. Specifically, the postdoctoral fellow will initially serve as a co-supervisor (along with faculty) of intensive cases with the expectation that the postdoctoral fellow will supervise more independently as they gain experience and confidence in the role of supervisor. The fellow will assume the clinical responsibility for team collaboration with interdisciplinary team members and caregivers throughout the intensive admission. In addition, postdoctoral fellows are strongly encouraged to contribute to program development through involvement with ongoing or independent research and/or program evaluation projects.  

The Pediatric Feeding Disorders Outpatient Services offers the opportunity for postdoctoral fellows to assess and treat children with less severe feeding issues in an outpatient setting. Specifically, caregivers and the child attend one-hour appointments on a weekly or biweekly basis to address specific skill deficits and problem behavior in meals. Caregivers are trained to implement specific strategies to address the feeding-related concerns. Goals commonly targeted include: increasing the variety of foods accepted, increasing the volume consumed, advancing food textures, increasing mealtime independence, improving feeding skills, and reducing inappropriate mealtime behavior (e.g., disruptive behavior, gagging, aggressive behavior, out-of-seat behavior). Research opportunities are also available.