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Clinical Psychology Internship Program

Track Overview

The TEACCH Autism Program is a comprehensive community-based clinical service and professional training program that is dedicated to providing support to autistic individuals and their families across their entire lifespan. As the largest and most extensive statewide program for autism in the nation, TEACCH is committed to fostering an inclusive, diverse, and equitable environment. We employ an integrated approach that considers the individual's school, work, and home settings, utilizing multiple evidence-based methods. Our services encompass diagnostic and treatment centers situated throughout North Carolina, a demonstration residential and vocational center for adults, and an active employment services program. Within our clinics, we offer evidence-based interventions for individuals of all age groups. We provide individual and group parent coaching for toddler and school-aged children, along with individual and group intervention and support for autistic adults. Additionally, we organize parent support groups and deliver training and consultation services to teachers and other professionals. During the internship, the TEACCH intern will dedicate approximately half of their time throughout the year to working within TEACCH services. To ensure a well-rounded training experience, the intern will also participate in rotations in the Child Psychiatry Inpatient Unit and the Pediatric Consultation/Liaison service.

Clinical Rotations

During their time at the Chapel Hill TEACCH Center, the TEACCH intern will actively contribute as members of diagnostic teams, gaining proficiency in all aspects of the diagnostic process across different age groups, often working with individuals who present with complex diagnostic challenges. Furthermore, interns will be involved in various evidence-based intervention activities aimed at promoting positive outcomes. These activities encompass the implementation of evidence-based visual strategies/support (Structured TEACCHing), behavioral interventions, naturalistic interventions, cognitive behavioral interventions, social skills interventions, and community support programs. Among the current programs offered are parent-child coaching sessions conducted with individual families and small groups, early intervention programs both in clinic and home-based settings. The TEACCH intern also has the option to cofacilitate cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) – based groups. These groups are tailored for school-aged children with autism and their parents and focus on fostering social understanding, social communication, and emotional regulation skills (e.g., Gorilla Group) or target Anxiety awareness and reduction (e.g., Facing Your Fears). As TEACCH emphasizes providing services across the lifespan, interns will have ample opportunities to gain experience in working with autistic adolescents and adults, both in individual therapy and group formats. This may include involvement in a dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) group designed specifically for adults with ASD. Additionally, interns can participate in parent support groups, attend training workshops designed for parents and professionals, and engage in consultation activities with other professionals. Please visit our website for a complete list of services offered at the Chapel Hill TEACCH Center

Supervisor: Tamara Dawkins, 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:

  1. To acquire clinical experience in the diagnosis and treatment of children and families presenting with organic and/or functional disorders in the pediatric setting.
  2. To identify significant psychological factors related to chronic illness in children and to understand the integration of these factors into comprehensive medical care.
  3. 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.
  4. To become familiar with the basic literature on children’s adaptation to chronic illness, psychosomatic disorders, and to develop an understanding of the principles of pediatric
    behavioral medicine.

Supervisors: Joni McKeeman, PhD

Additional Track Opportunities

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 or Five-Day Classroom Training are also options 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 mentorship 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 TEACCH Intern also has the option of completing the necessary requirements to become a TEACCH Certified Practitioner during their internship year.

Our research team at TEAACH consists of a collaborative and diverse group of researchers and students from the School of Medicine and the Department of Psychology and Neurosciences. We are dedicated to advancing the quality of life for autistic individuals through our primary focus on community dissemination and implementation of intervention programs. Additionally, we place great importance on professional development initiatives. As an intern, you will have the opportunity to actively contribute to ongoing research projects across various areas. These encompass early intervention programs like TEACCH for Toddlers, transition programs such as the TEACCH School Transition to Employment and Postsecondary Education Program, suicide prevention efforts, and longitudinal outcome studies. These examples represent only a glimpse of the diverse range of research projects available, as our team actively pursues additional grants and research initiatives. To explore the current research projects at TEACCH in detail, please visit our website at During the internship orientation week, you will receive an up-to-date list of available projects, providing you with a comprehensive overview of the exciting research possibilities that await you.

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, speech and language, and education are also possible.

Program Highlights