Center for Children with Special Needs

Neuropsychology Psychology

Goals and Objectives of the Neuropsychology Advanced Practicum 

Currently supervised by Jenifer Walkowiak, PhD, the key goal of the Neuropsychology Advanced Practicum is to assist advanced graduate students in learning how to complete comprehensive multidisciplinary and neuropsychological evaluations of school-aged children and adolescents who are experiencing a wide range of psychological, neurodevelopmental and medical difficulties. Referral concerns for this clinic include: attention and organization problems, learning difficulties, language disorders, developmental disabilities and cognitive challenges related to a medical condition or brain injury, as well as a wide variety of psychiatrically-complex and emotional/behavioral concerns. 

During the initial part of the advanced practicum, neuropsychology students meet and draft individual learning goals and objectives. Previously outlined goals include:

  • Learn and become proficient in the administration of a range of neuropsychological test instruments
  • Learn which measures are used for what particular area of concern, and why other measures are less desirable for certain population and for testing certain areas of concern
  • Learn how to interview patients with a wide range of individual and overlapping neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders
  • Learn about individualized education plans (IEP), 504 plans, the appropriateness of school services for various disorders and difficulties
  • Learn about the pharmacological approach to managing children’s behaviors and social-emotional challenges
  • Learn how to interpret the measures beyond the scores
  • Learn how to integrate the testing data into a pattern of strengths and weaknesses
  • Learn about how and when to diagnose various neurodevelopmental disorder and internalizing disorders
  • Learn to conceptualize a patient’s presenting struggles based on results from their neuropsychological evaluation
  • Learn to write an integrated neuropsychological and multidisciplinary report
  • Learn what recommendations are appropriate and about how to make evidence-based recommendations

Per APA guidelines, advanced practicum goals are also outlined in terms of:

  • Apply research to clinical practice
  • Identify individual and cultural differences
  • Expand one’s knowledge of ethical and legal issues
  • Increase professional relationship/interpersonal skills
  • Demonstrate appropriate use of technology in clinical practice
  • Develop psychology assessment, intervention and therapeutic, and consultation skills 

Pediatric Psychology Rotation 

The Pediatric Psychology rotation in the Center for Children with Special Needs is supervised by Christina Mulé, PhD, NCSP, LP. Externs (or advanced practicum students) are best suited for this rotation, allowing them to engage in a variety of training experiences available at the center. 

Externs will have an opportunity to engage in several assessment opportunities:

  • They will participate in a diagnostic interdisciplinary clinic, the Comprehensive Care (C2) Clinic, with developmental behavioral pediatrics and pediatric psychology. Here pediatric patients are assessed for neurodevelopmental and psychiatric conditions; thereafter, treatment plans are developed between the medical team and family.
  • Externs will also have an opportunity to engage in traditional psychological assessment, evaluating intellectual, language, visual motor skills, attention/executive functioning and social emotional domains. 

With respect to treatment experiences:

  • Externs will have an opportunity to participate in a novel multi-systemic treatment model, the Autism Behavioral Consultation (ABC) Program, designed for children with autism spectrum disorder. The ABC Program is also interdisciplinary, involving pediatric psychology, child and adolescent psychiatry, and developmental behavioral pediatrics. This clinic offers trainees an opportunity to hone their treatment skills particularly through a multi-systemic or family-systems lens.
  • If trainees are interested in obtaining individual-, group-, or family-therapy experiences, these types of training opportunities can be made available.