The Pediatric Developmental Disorders (PDD) clinic, within the Department of Behavioral Psychology, offers postdoctoral fellowship training through the larger Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine training program that also includes our APA-accredited doctoral internship program.

The goal of this fellowship in the Pediatric Developmental Disorders (PDD) Clinic at Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine is to enhance training for future psychologists in behavioral assessment and intervention for toddlers, children, and adolescents with diagnosed or suspected neurodevelopmental disorders who also have challenging behaviors.  Fellows will receive training in assessment and intervention via didactic instruction and supervised and independent practice. Fellows will develop a broad array of relevant clinical skills which will prepare them to apply for jobs within the field of neurodevelopmental disorders.

Qualified candidates for the PDD fellowship program will have received their doctoral degrees in School, Counseling, or Clinical Psychology and have successfully completed an APA-accredited internship program.

Logistically, Fellows will have a full year of training in the Pediatric Developmental Disorders Clinic. They will also participate in a minor rotation described below.  Positions in each minor rotation are limited and will be determined by candidate interests, availability, and training background.

Clinical Experiences:

Behavioral Psychology Department – Pediatric Developmental Disorders Clinic. 

Throughout the year, Fellows will receive training in behavioral assessment and intervention.  Fellows will assume the role as primary therapists for their clients and families.  They will assess and develop multiple component function-based interventions to decrease problem behavior and increase appropriate replacement behavior.  Sessions are conducted to teach parents/caregivers through modeling and coaching to implement interventions in the home and community.  Family barriers to treatment are assessed, and methods to overcome obstacles are utilized. To promote ongoing collaboration through the weeks, parents receive daily text prompts to record data electronically, which is then automatically graphed for the Fellows’ review at any time.   While the emphasis of intervention is on parent training, children may also be treated individually (with parent assistance) to increase functional communication skills or to address internalizing problems, such as anxiety and inflexibility via modified cognitive behavioral strategies. There are also opportunities for group skills training utilizing curriculum such as Superheroes, PEERS, and Unstuck & On Target. Our latest addition to social skills training has been to integrate social skills into an after school soccer group. Group training experiences also include parenting behavioral skills training and support designed to meet the needs of families in which Spanish is their primary language.

Fellows are provided with two hours/week of individual face-to-face supervision, and two hours/week of group supervision. They also participate in clinical skills development seminars and peer reviews.  Fellows may also provide periodic consultation with schools and engage in interdisciplinary communications within and outside of the Institute (e.g., Developmental Pediatricians and Psychiatrists).  Community outreach activities are included in which Fellows present to groups such Autism and Down syndrome parent support groups.  Financial support is provided to attend professional conferences and outside trainings.

Fellows in the PDD clinic will have 17 patient contact hours per week with PDD clients.  However, based on minor rotation training, appropriate reductions to patient contact expectations will be made.

Minor rotation - Neuropsychology Department – Executive Function Clinic

Fellows participate in two full psychological evaluations per month for five consecutive months through the Executive Function Clinic, which is housed within the Neuropsychology Department. Individuals seen in the Executive Function Clinic often have known or suspected developmental or medical conditions that can be associated with executive dysfunction. During the 5-month minor rotation, fellows spend every Wednesday in the Neuropsychology Department alternating between evaluation days and report writing days. On evaluation days, the Fellow presents the case during rounds including the presenting problem/reason for referral, relevant background information, differential diagnostic considerations, and the proposed testing plan. Fellows participate in all aspects of the evaluation including interviews with the patient and family, test administration and scoring, feedback session with the family, and report writing. On writing days, the Fellow attends rounds but spends the rest of the day writing the report of the last evaluation.

In addition to supervision received from the PDD clinic, Fellows receive group and individual supervision related to their neuropsychology training.

Minor rotation- Pediatric Interdisciplinary Clinic

Fellows will participate in two days of interdisciplinary experiences each month and will conduct behavioral evaluations with an emphasis on developmental functioning.  Summaries will be presented during the Interdisciplinary Meetings with recommendations provided by the Fellow.  The interdisciplinary team consists of Developmental Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Speech Pathology, Neuropsychology, Occupational Therapy, and Genetics.   Each discipline will also be presenting findings and recommendations for care.  Children who receive treatment in the Preschool Interdisciplinary Clinic are usually followed until they are 6 years of age. 

Minor rotation: Clinical Outcomes Research 

Fellows will assist in research projects to assess and improve treatment outcomes for our patients. For example, prior project has included assessing outcome equivalence between onsite and telehealth behavioral sessions.  Data collection, management, and analysis may be utilized to in order to support improvement initiatives within clinical programs.  Fellows will gain experience in utilizing administrative and clinical data to assess factors impacting behavioral treatment for medium-to-large clinical populations.  They may also utilize analytical methods for health services and comparative effectiveness research. There may be academic products stemming from these efforts in which fellows may be part of, depending on their contributions and degree of involvement.