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 Clinic at Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine is training 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.

Logistically, Fellows will have a full year of training in the Pediatric Developmental Disorders Clinic. There will also be opportunities for specializing 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 to implement interventions in the home and community through modeling and coaching.  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 Fellow’s 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. In addition to two hours/week of individual face-to-face supervision, Fellows are actively involved in at least two hours/week of group supervision, clinical skills development seminars, and/or peer review.  Fellows 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 provide presentations to groups such Autism and Down syndrome 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. Fellows participate in Executive Function Clinic morning and noon rounds every Wednesday (8:15 – 9:00 AM; 12:00-1:00 PM). 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 morning and noon rounds but spends the rest of the day writing the report of the last evaluation.

Fellows receive group supervision during morning and noon rounds, and one hour of individual supervision is scheduled every other week. Individual supervision takes place on the Fellow’s writing day. 

Minor rotation- Interdisciplinary activities and supervisory training

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.  Within this minor rotation, there are also opportunities to participate in interdisciplinary research efforts with the other disciplines.

Additionally, Fellows will have the opportunity to practice supervisory skills and receive supervision on these skills which will be conducted with Doctoral Interns.  Activities will include:  co-treatment of clients with Interns, participation in co-supervision with Licensed Psychologists, direct observation of Interns’ clinical sessions, and provision of feedback.  Guidance on supervisory skills will also be given by Licensed Psychologists via live or recorded sessions.


Minor rotation: Clinical Outcomes Research 

Fellows will aid in projects to assess and improve treatment outcomes. General tasks include data collection, management, and analysis, as well as performance improvement initiatives with clinical programs to improve their outcomes. Fellows will gain experience in utilizing administrative and clinical data to assess factors impacting behavioral treatment for medium-to-large clinical populations, as well as 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.