Autism (TEACCH) Track Description 2022-2023
Track Overview: The TEACCH Autism Program is a community-based clinical service and professional training program dedicated to serving individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families, throughout the lifespan. We are the largest and most comprehensive statewide program for autism in the nation. A core value at TEACCH involves cultivating an environment that actively promotes inclusion, diversity, and equity. Thus, we engage in an integrated approach to the individual’s school or work and home environment using multiple evidence-based methods. TEACCH includes diagnostic and treatment centers throughout the state of North Carolina, a demonstration residential and vocational center for adults, and an employment services program. Services provided at the clinics include evidence-based interventions for individuals of all ages including toddlers and their parents, individual and group parent coaching for school-aged children; individual and group intervention and support for adults with ASD; parent support groups; and training and consultation to teachers and to other professionals. The TEACCH intern will spend approximately half time throughout the year working in TEACCH services. To accomplish the goal of broad-based training, the TEACCH intern will also rotate onto the Child Psychiatry Inpatient Unit and, another rotation, onto the Pediatric Consultation/Liaison service.
Clinical Rotations and Patients:
Chapel Hill TEACCH Center (Tamara Dawkins, PhD)
At the Chapel Hill TEACCH Center, Interns will participate as a member of a diagnostic team, developing proficiency in all aspects of the diagnostic process across the age span, often seeing diagnostically complex individuals. The intern will also engage in a variety of evidence-based intervention activities, including implementing evidence-based visual strategies/support (Structured TEACCHing), behavioral interventions, naturalistic interventions, cognitive behavioral interventions, social skills interventions, and community support programs. Current programs include parent-child coaching sessions with individual families and in small groups, clinic and home-based early intervention, and CBT-based groups for school-aged children and their parents to promote social understanding, social communication and emotional regulation. Given TEACCH’s focus on providing services across the age span, there are extensive opportunities for experience with adolescents and adults with ASD in individual therapy and group formats including a DBT group for adults with ASD. Additional opportunities include participation in parent support groups, training workshops for parents and for professionals, and consultation to other professionals.
Pediatric Psychiatry/Psychology Liaison Program (Joni McKeeman, PhD)
A major objective of this program is to teach the diagnosis and management of developmental, psychological, and social problems of childhood, particularly those that arise secondary to chronic and acute illnesses. To this end, the faculty has established on-going consultation-liaison relationships within a variety of pediatric settings including: Pediatric and adolescent inpatient hospital wards, the pediatric intensive care unit, and the burn unit. In addition to inpatient pediatric consults, the intern may also be involved in one or more of the outpatient pediatric clinics, depending on how busy the inpatient service is.
Examples of experiences include:
- consultation regarding assessment of safety in teens who present after a suicide attempt
- assessment of trauma symptoms in children with burn injuries or motor vehicle accidents
- evaluation of possible conversion disorder.
- Assessment and short term treatment of children with chronic illness who are having difficulties with adjustment and coping
Interns are expected to take full responsibility for case management, for synthesizing diagnostic material in the consultation, and collaboration with physicians and interdisciplinary team. Because of the nature of liaison psychology, supervision often occurs at the actual practice site, involving continuing dialogue between the trainee and supervisor. In addition, each trainee is free to establish a regular weekly supervision time when more diverse material can be discussed. The following are key general objectives expected of each trainee:
- To acquire clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of children and families presenting with organic and/or functional disorders in the pediatric setting.
- To identify significant psychological factors related to chronic illness in children and to understand the integration of these factors into comprehensive medical care.
- To become familiar with the major modes of consultation-liaison teaching and to operate appropriately within these models in relation to both attending and house staff physicians. To become familiar with the basic literature on children’s adaptation to chronic illness, psychosomatic disorders, and to
Recommended Minor Rotations:
Workshops are offered throughout the year to enhance the intern’s knowledge and skills in assessment and intervention for ASD. The “Childhood Autism Rating Scale – High Functioning (CARS2-HF) and DSM V: Assessing the Full spectrum of ASD” workshop is offered virtually over three sessions and open to all interested interns. Participation in other TEACCH workshops, including our virtual Fundamentals of Structured TEACCHing is also an option for the TEACCH intern or other interns who complete a rotation at TEACCH. General didactics are offered to trainees on a weekly basis and are tailored to their learning needs.
The TEACCH intern receives ongoing supervision and support towards professional development throughout the year. Goals in the areas of training and professional development are set at the beginning of each rotation, and progress toward the goals is monitored during the rotation. Professional development goals may include participation in research activities, attending a professional workshop, supervision of students, or giving a research talk.
The research team at TEACCH is comprised of an interdisciplinary group of researchers and students. If interested, the intern may elect to participate in ongoing research projects such as early intervention research (TEACCH for Toddlers) and the TEACCH School Transition to Employment and Postsecondary Education Program (T-STEP). For more information about current research projects at TEACCH, please visit https://teacch.com/research/
Supervision Training and Opportunities:
Interns at TEACCH will have opportunities to supervise practicum-level students from clinical and school psychology. Opportunities to provide education and training to students from other disciplines including social work, occupational therapy, and speech and language, and education are also possible.
Tamara Dawkins, PhD
Tamara Dawkins, PhD
Jemma Grindstaff, PhD
Laura Klinger, PhD
Katy Korelitz, PhD
Signe Naftel, PhD
Mary E Van Bourgondien, PhD
Laura Klinger, PhD
Brenna Maddox, PhD
Brianne Tomaszewski, PhD