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Devereux Pennsylvania - Children’s Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Services (CIDDS)

Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS provides assessment, treatment and consultation services to approximately 180 children and adolescents in 10 campus-based and seven community-based residential treatment settings, as well as in approved private school special education placements. Individuals are referred for services as a result of an intellectual or developmental disability, autism spectrum disorder, and/or co-occurring behavioral and psychiatric challenges. The primary age range for individuals served is six to 18. Health psychology doctoral interns matched to our site will have the opportunity for assessment, treatment, and consultation experiences for youth with wide ranging clinical presentations and in different treatment settings.

With a growing need for more specialized services for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual and developmental disabilities, Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS offers three specialty programs within its network of clinical services.

  • Short-term Autism Intensive Residential Services (STAIRS): STAIRS is a campus-based treatment residence and classroom; it was designed to offer clinically intensive applied behavior analytic services to individuals with autism and severe challenging behaviors.
  • Sexual Responsibility Program: Our Sexiual Responsibility Program is a campus-based treatment residence and school program for adolescent boys with histories of sexually abusive behaviors. The clinical program for this group involves cognitive behavioral therapies, psycho-education and applied behavior analysis.
  • Autism Assessment Center: Due to the need in our geographic area for comprehensive autism diagnostic assessment, we opened an Autism Assessment Center, which is open for referrals from the community.

Because of the abundance of potential training opportunities for health psychology doctoral interns, our supervising psychology staff will work with each intern to create an individualized training experience to maximize professional growth and align with personal specialization objectives.

Successful Applicants:

  • Prior work with children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders/intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • ABA/CBT experience
  • Prior work with families and community agency resources
  • Affinity for working with a multidisciplinary team

Intervention:

Interns have the opportunity to work across multiple settings, which can include STAIRS, campus-based and community-based residences, the Sexual Responsibility program, classrooms, the local community, and family homes. Clinical interventions can take an individual, group or family focus. Interventions may include: functional communication training using PECS and visual support systems, positive behavior support planning, cognitive behavior therapy, trauma-focused CBT, and parent training and therapy. Interns will learn how to design systems to measure client progress and track and analyze that data. Typical caseloads are five to six clients. Supervision is provided in intervention delivery, clinical formulation, treatment planning, and progress monitoring. Interns will also have opportunities to observe supervisors or senior clinical staff as they conduct interventions, and to experience live supervision when conducting his/her own interventions.

Assessment:

Functional behavior assessment is a key component for understanding why challenging behaviors occur. Interns are provided with treatment method seminars to introduce them to different functional behavioral assessment tools and interpretation of assessment results. Supervision is also provided for functional behavioral assessment, development of functional hypotheses, and developing positive behavior support plans which link to the results of the functional behavioral assessments. Experience with functional analysis procedures is available in our STAIRS program.

Interns will receive training and supervision in psychological and neuropsychological assessments designed to answer specific diagnostic questions. Interns can also receive training in the ADOS-2 administration, scoring and interpretation, as well as participate in evaluations at our Autism Assessment Center. Further, interns at Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS can gain experience administering a wide array of cognitive assessments, adaptive behavior assessments, social-emotional assessments and neuropsychological assessments. Interns also can elect to receive training and supervision in trauma, psychosexual and forensic risk assessment. Assessment supervision and training focuses on learning how to administer new assessment instruments, the integration of assessment data, differential diagnosis, clinical formulation, and the provision of meaningful recommendations and feedback.

Consultation:

Given the different treatment settings that comprise Devereux Pennsylvania CIDDS, a significant part of the role of all of our clinicians, including interns, is providing staff consultation. Interns have the opportunity to consult with school, medical, psychiatric and residential staff regarding successes or challenges that an assigned client might experience. Consultation may involve assessment, observation and/or interviews to formulate hypotheses. From the hypotheses, interns will formulate both informal and formal recommendations. In cases where a specific training or a behavior support plan may be recommended, interns will provide training and follow-up to ensure treatment integrity. Interns will become familiar with our Devereux Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (D-PBIS) models and will serve as D-PBIS coaches to teachers and direct care staff assisting with performance feedback, data collection and analysis.

Sample Weekly Schedule Hours:

Activity

Hours

Intervention (individual, group, family therapy)

12-14

Assessment

3-4

Consultation

5-6

Supervision

4-5

Case Management/Report Writing

9-11

Administration/Staff Meetings

4-5

Educational Seminars

2-3

Research

-2

Hours Weekly

40+

Supervisors:

Jenny Nielsen, Ph.D., BCBA-D (Primary Supervisor)
Pamela Najera, Psy.D.
Beth White, Psy.D.
Kristin Garcia, Psy.D.