Pediatric Neuropsychology Track

The 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. The 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 as well as any rotations that are offered via our Child Track.  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. Interns will provide psychological and neuropsychological assessment across the rotations. Intervention approaches will emphasize interpersonal, family systems, behavioral, and cognitive-behavioral therapies.

In addition to two required Pediatric Neuropsychology rotations, the intern must also complete a rotation in Pediatric Psychosocial Consultation-Liaison. The final rotation may be selected from among the variety of opportunities that exist within Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Adult Psychiatry, or the broader medical center.. 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 primarily supervised by child psychology faculty, with additional supervision provided by child psychiatrists within the Department.

The 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.

Rotations on the Pediatric Neuropsychology Track include:

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.

The Neurodevelopmental Disorders Rotation offers specialized training in the assessment of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) as well as neuropsychological evaluation of children and adolescents with other neurodevelopmental and genetic disorders. This is a multidisciplinary evaluation and consultation clinic in which patients are evaluated by team members from subspecialties including Psychiatry, Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, and Pediatric Neuropsychology. The intern will learn to interview families around important developmental milestones and key symptoms in ASD. Interns will have the opportunity to observe and gain clinical training in the administration and interpretation of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2. Given the broad range of behavioral and cognitive presentation of patients in this clinic, interns will receive guidance in behavior management strategies to utilize during test session. The intern will gain experience in test selection, administration, interpretation of evaluation results, as well as providing feedback to families and other professionals regarding diagnostic impressions and recommendations. Given the multidisciplinary nature of this clinic, interns have the opportunity to participate in initial diagnostic evaluations conducted by psychiatry fellows as well as sit in on ongoing follow-up and medication management visits. The intern will attend weekly neuropsychology didactics as well as weekly case conference in ND Clinic while on this rotation. Dr. Megan Scott directs this rotation in collaboration with Dr. Sharon Hirsch. 

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, in collaboration with Dr. Khalid Afzal.

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.. Data analysis, presentation preparation, and manuscript writing are all opportunities available as part of this rotation.

Note: The intern on the Pediatric Neuropsychology Track may select any of the Child track rotations which may focus on clinical child or pediatric psychology.

Competencies

At the end of the internship year, the intern completing the Pediatric Neuropsychology Track will have mastered the following specific competencies:

  • Be able to make use of a broad repertoire of evidence-based 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 supported 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.