The Child Psychology/Pediatric Neuropsychology Track is oriented towards the intern seeking to specialize in the assessment and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders and the cognitive and behavioral sequelae of medical illness in children and adolescents. Through completion of rotations that emphasize consultation to pediatric health services, professional practice and research in pediatric neuropsychology, and the development of expertise in working with complex neurodevelopmental conditions, the intern will be prepared for advanced postdoctoral training in Pediatric Neuropsychology, Child Psychology, and/or Pediatric Psychology.
The Child Psychology/Pediatric Neuropsychology intern will have the opportunity to develop and refine clinical skills with both inpatients, as part of a consultation-liaison rotation, and outpatients, through rotations within Child Psychiatry and its specialty clinics, and through a rotation with the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics section. The intern also has the opportunity to become a LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders) interdisciplinary fellow, as part of their training in collaborative clinical practice and research.
Patients assessed and treated by the intern may or may not present with primary psychopathology; some cases will be more medically based, with co-occurring psychosocial or educational concerns. Typically, patients will range in age from early childhood through late adolescence, and represent diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Opportunities for psychological and neuropsychological assessment exist across the rotations. Intervention approaches will emphasize interpersonal, family systems, behavioral, and cognitive-behavioral therapies.
The intern will complete three required rotations over the course of the year, including Pediatric Neuropsychology, Pediatric Psychosocial Consultation-Liaison, and a diagnostic rotation in collaboration with the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics program. The fourth rotation may be selected from among the variety of opportunities that exist within Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Adult Psychiatry, or the broader medical center (for example, a previous intern selected to complete a rotation with the International Adoption Evaluation Program, a joint clinical service between the Sections of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Disease). Additionally, the intern will carry a caseload of outpatient psychotherapy patients; these cases will be varied, and may concern both internalizing and externalizing difficulties, as well as issues of adjustment to medical and psychiatric illness. Interns will be principally supervised by child psychology faculty, with additional supervision provided by psychiatrists within the Department.
The Child Psychology/Pediatric Neuropsychology intern participates in weekly interdisciplinary clinical case conference, where patients are discussed from the perspective of psychiatry, psychology, and other specialties involved in the treatment of the child. Additional didactics include a series of child mental health seminars, held at the beginning of the academic year; a seminar on Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy with Children and Adolescents; and attendance at the relevant clinic-based seminars throughout the year (i.e., the Pediatric Clinical Neuroscience Seminar or the Eating Disorders Seminar); in addition to departmental grand rounds and colloquia.
Available Rotations include:
Pediatric Neuropsychology Rotation
The Pediatric Neuropsychology Rotation offers training in conducting brief and comprehensive evaluations of children and adolescents with suspected or known neurocognitive dysfunction. Referrals are received from inpatient and outpatient pediatrics services, including Psychiatry, Neurosurgery, Oncology, Neurology, Infectious Disease, Rheumatology, and General Pediatrics, and from schools and professionals across the Chicagoland community. The intern will learn to address referral questions through guidance in test selection, administration, and interpretation. Experience in the communication of results, diagnosis, and recommendations for intervention to families and other professionals is also obtained. In terms of collaboration with the medical and psychiatry services, experience in differential diagnosis, comprehensive assessment of comorbid concerns, and the use of appropriate pharmacological and behavioral interventions is provided. Additionally, collaboration with school districts and outside agencies around intervention programming is an opportunity included on this rotation. This rotation is directed by Dr. Scott Hunter and additional supervision will be provided by Dr. Megan Scott.
Adolescent Eating Disorders
The Adolescent Eating Disorders Rotation offers specialized training in the assessment and treatment of Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa, binge eating disorder, and obesity. Treatment modalities utilized in this clinic include cognitive behavioral therapy (individual and group), family based therapy for the eating disorders, and psychological and/or surgical treatment for obesity. The intern will work collaboratively with the treatment team and attend weekly didactics. Drs. Daniel le Grange and Andrea Goldschmidt provide primary supervision and training for this rotation.
Pediatric Psychosocial Consultation-Liaison Service
The Pediatric Psychosocial Consultation-Liaison Rotation provides the intern with opportunities to participate actively in the assessment and intervention of psychological concerns that accompany medical illness and treatments. Both inpatient and outpatient experiences will be available with this rotation, with an emphasis placed on assessment, diagnosis, consultation, and brief intervention. The intern will attend weekly Consultation-Liaison Rounds while on this rotation. Dr. Tina Drossos directs this rotation, with collaboration by Drs. Niranjan Karnik and Khalid Afzal.
Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
A rotation in consultation with the Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Section of the Department of Pediatrics provides the intern with an opportunity to train in current models of assessment and intervention, both medically and behaviorally, with children with complex neurodevelopmental disorders. This rotation includes a day-long participation on the Developmental Pediatrics team, conducting evaluations of children with genetic and acquired neurodevelopmental and motor disorders (e.g., spina bifida, cerebral palsy, disabilities secondary to extreme prematurity, autism spectrum disorders), and then developing appropriate behavioral and biological interventions. This rotation is primarily supervised by Drs. Michael Msall and Peter Smith, along with other Developmental Pediatricians on faculty at the University of Chicago. Dr. Scott Hunter provides psychology supervision and Dr. Sharon Hirsch is the psychiatry liaison for this rotation. Additionally, as noted earlier, the intern can participate in the LEND fellowship program, a joint teaching program between the University of Chicago and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Institute on Disability and Human Development (UIC IDHD). This program is funded in part by the Maternal and Child Health Branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
A Research Rotation within the Pediatric Neuropsychology program is an available option for the internship year. The Pediatric Neuropsychology Service is actively engaged in a series of collaborative clinical studies addressing neurocognitive and behavioral development and functioning in children and adolescents undergoing interventions for intractable epilepsy, childhood cancers, and HIV/AIDS, and in understanding the relationship between executive function development and risk in youth who are homeless. Additionally, studies addressing the efficacy of pharmacological interventions for learning and attentional difficulties associated with Neurofibromatosis and complex partial epilepsy are underway. The intern can work on already established projects, or alternatively, develop a specific question concerning patient populations evaluated by the Pediatric Neuropsychology Service, in conjunction with Dr. Scott Hunter and/or Dr. Niranjan Karnik. Data analysis, presentation preparation, and manuscript writing are all opportunities available as part of this rotation.
At the end of the internship year, the intern completing the Child Psychology/Pediatric Neuropsychology Track will have mastered the following specific competencies:
Be able to make use of a broad repertoire of assessment and intervention skills suitable for improving the functioning of youngsters and adolescents with developmental, psychiatric, and medical disorders.
Effectively assess and then diagnose complex neurodevelopmental and psychological disorders, and share this information with a multidisciplinary team and the child’s family.
Identify and implement empirically valid interventions for internalizing and externalizing difficulties in children, both outpatients, and inpatients seen on the Consultation-Liaison service rotation.
Effectively collaborate with school, families, and other professionals concerning appropriate strategies for learning and behavioral development.
Apply an understanding of psychological principles to the treatment of youngsters with medically based disorders, to promote effective adjustment and reintegration to daily life.