The assessment track emphasizes two separate, yet related, programs at Marcus Autism Center. Historically, interns have rotated into each program to allow some time in each clinic.
Clinical Assessment & Diagnostic (CAD) Program (2 intern Positions for 2019-2020)
The CAD emphasizes flexible, empirically supported approaches to clinical assessment in the context of an interdisciplinary framework.
- Full-Year (2.5-4.5 days per week) training experience conducting evaluations within the Clinical Assessment and Diagnostics (CAD) department. The CAD department is a multidisciplinary clinic that provides diagnostic assessments of individuals with a wide range of neurodevelopmental disorders. Children seen in the CAD clinic range from infancy to late adolescence. Each child is assessed for Autism Spectrum Disorder as well as the many differential diagnoses commonly seen in this population, including developmental delay, intellectual disability, anxiety disorders, behavioral disorders, ADHD, genetic syndromes, such as Fragile X syndrome, as well as many others. The children seen in the CAD are highly diverse in their race, ethnicity, urbanacity, socioeconomic status, and age. These assessments are designed to identify cognitive and developmental strengths and weaknesses, assess adaptive functioning, provide diagnostic clarification, and to determine the need for intervention. Assessments incorporate measures of development, cognition, play, and adaptive behavior. Assessment of language, visual-motor skills, and behavior are included as needed. In addition, this rotation provides the opportunity to work on cases within a multidisciplinary team that includes clinical psychologists, as well as neurologists, developmental pediatricians, psychiatrists, nurse practitioners, and social workers/case managers on a case by basis.
- Full-Year (1/2-day per week) training in implementation of an empirically validated parent-training intervention to help with child behavior management in the RUBI Parent Training Program. The details of this clinic are described below.
- 6-Month (1-2 days per week) part-time training experiences. Minor rotation placements are arranged in one or more settings, including the Clinical Assessment Core, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Department of Neuropsychology, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Aflac Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, and/or in the Marcus treatment programs (e.g., Severe Behavior, Feeding Disorders, Language and Learning Clinic, RUBI Parent Training Program), based on intern interest, supervisor availability, and budgetary approval.
The CAC emphasizes standardized, protocol-driven clinical research assessment batteries in the context of an interdisciplinary framework.
- Full Year (3 days per week) training experience within the Clinical Assessment Core (CAC) of the research program at Marcus Autism Center. The CAC is the locus for the recruitment, rigorous clinical characterization, management and care of children and their families participating in clinical research. Children seen within the research program at Marcus include infants, toddlers, and school-aged children participating in one or more of over 25 active research studies. In 2015, the CAC completed over 4000 visits with nearly 800 research participants. Interns work to provide each participant with a well centralized, supported, and coordinated assessment conducted and supervised by expert clinicians to ensure the accurate collection and management of diagnostic, assessment, genetic, and medical data between clinical and experimental procedures. Interns also provide optimal clinical care to individuals participating in research through provision of diagnostic conceptualization during parent conferences, and through written reports with test results, diagnostic formulations, and recommendations for treatment and intervention services. The assessments conducted through the CAC offer experiences in the early identification and detection of children with or at risk for Autism Spectrum Disorder, neurodevelopmental and language disorders, and genetic disorders. Because they are multidisciplinary in nature, these experiences will afford interns the opportunity to participate in evaluations with speech pathologists, nurse practitioners, genetic counselors, and care coordinators. An additional day for the full year will include intervention experience in parent training or parent education. The CAC provides standards of excellence in clinical research characterization through the diagnostic and clinical evaluation of individuals by highly experienced licensed clinicians from a multitude of disciplines, including psychology, speech pathology, nursing, pediatrics, genetics and care coordination. Typical staffing in the CAC includes 8 psychologists, 1-2 postdoctoral psychology fellows, 1 doctoral intern, and 2-3 speech pathologists. The program is supported by multiple research assistants and coordinators 19 research staff.
- Two 6-Month (2 days per week) part-time training experiences. Minor rotation placements are available within the Clinical Assessment & Diagnostics department at Marcus and the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Department of Neuropsychology. Minor rotations may also be available with the Marcus treatment programs (e.g., Severe Behavior, Feeding Disorders, Language and Learning Clinic, RUBI Parent Training Program), based on intern interest, supervisor availability, and budgetary approval.
Interns who choose the neuropsychology rotation will gain extensive experience in neuropsychological assessment of child patients with acquired brain injury, neurodegenerative diseases, stroke, epilepsy, and other neurological conditions. Under the supervision of neuropsychology faculty, interns learn: (1) diagnostic interview techniques for neurological populations; (2) design of flexible test batteries to address referral questions; (3) neuropsychological test administration, scoring, and interpretation; (4) production of oral and written reports for lay persons and health care professionals; and to a lesser extent, (5) differential diagnosis of neuropsychological syndromes and disorders; (6) development of rehabilitation plans and recommendations. Supervised experience in conducting Wada Tests and Cortical Language Mapping in temporal lobe epilepsy surgery candidates is available primarily in the child rotation, although occasionally in the adult rotation as well. Interns learn effective interview techniques with neurologically-impaired clients and gain a basic familiarity with selection of tests, administration and scoring of tests, interpretation of results, and oral and written communication of findings. Interns also have access to journal clubs, and case reviews, as well as an opportunity to observe neurosurgery.
Overview of RUBI Parent Training Program
The RUBI-Parent Training Program is an outpatient clinical translation of a program demonstrated to be highly effective through a national dissemination randomized clinical trial. An adaptation of many principles used in Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), RUBI was shown significantly to decrease challenging behaviors in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder between the ages of 3 and 10. The program involves teaching parents a number of strategies to prevent, manage, and reduce occurrences of problem behaviors of mild to moderate severity while promoting skill development. This manualized intervention takes place within a structured 11-week program developed specifically for children diagnosed with ASD who have co-occurring problem behaviors that may include: aggression (hitting, kicking, biting), tantrums, meltdowns, noncompliance, defiance, whining, screaming, or other behaviors that interfere with everyday life.
Additional information about other possible treatment placements are described in the Treatment Track section of this web site.