Overview of Training Areas and Activities

Students in the IDD psychology program participate in research training, clinical training, IDD leadership training, and coursework. See below for details of the training activities include in each of these areas.

Training in the conduct of psychological research will include:

  • Coursework in research methods and statistics
  • Successful completion and defense of a research-based master’s thesis (typically in the 2nd year)
  • Successful completion and defense of a research-based dissertation (typically in the final year)
  • At least one of the projects above (master’s or dissertation) involves collection of original data by the student
  • Individualized, one-on-one mentoring throughout the student’s time in the graduate program by at least one faculty mentor in the IDD Psychology Program (Havercamp, Lecavalier, Tassé, Walton, or Witwer)

In addition to gaining training and experience in conducting scientific research, students receive clinical training. Graduates are expected to be proficient in key areas of clinical practice that are crucial to serving IDD populations, including:

  • Assessment and diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder
  • Assessment and diagnosis of intellectual disability and related developmental disabilities
  • Differential and co-occurring diagnosis of developmental and mental health conditions
  • Functional behavior assessment
  • Interdisciplinary team collaboration in assessment and intervention (e.g., medicine, nursing, speech therapy, occupational therapy, social work, physical therapy, audiology, medical dietetics, etc.)
  • Treatment of behavioral and mental health problems often encountered by children and adults with IDD
  • Use of developmental and behavioral strategies to promote and improve key developmental skills in children with IDD

Students graduating from this program complete coursework designed to provide depth of expertise in IDD psychology, while also providing the breadth of psychological knowledge necessary to function as a clinical scientist. Students are required to complete coursework in the following areas (see Program Requirements and Timelines section for detailed course list):

Research Design and Statistics

  • Statistical Methods (2 course sequence)
  • Research Design and Methods
  • Psychometrics
  • Additional advanced statistical coursework (1 course required; 1 additional course can be completed for a Quantitative Psychology Concentration)

Psychological Science and Theory

  • Historical Developmental of Psychology
  • Lifespan Developmental Psychopathology (2 course sequence)
  • 1 Course in Biological Bases of Behavior
  • 1 Course in Social Bases of Behavior
  • 1 Course in Cognitive-Affective Bases of Behavior
  • 1 Course in Human Development

Coursework Specific to the Science and Practice of IDD Psychology

  • Ethics and Professional Issues
  • Seminar in the Assessment of Developmental Disabilities
  • Empirically Supported Treatments for Children with Developmental Disabilities
  • Developmental Disabilities: an Interdisciplinary Perspective
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Topics in Developmental Disabilities—biweekly seminar series

All IDD psychology students complete a fellowship in LEND during their first and second year of graduate training as part of an interdisciplinary cohort of trainees representing public health, occupational therapy, social work, physical therapy, pediatrics, and special education (among many others). LEND activities include:

  • Participation in an interdisciplinary seminar focused on knowledge, policy, and advocacy in the IDD field.
  • Coursework in IDD and ASD (PSYCH 7717 and 7718).
  • Participation in leadership projects with small interdisciplinary groups of trainees and a faculty leader.
  • Service projects related to IDD.
  • Observation and involvement in clinics related to IDD diagnosis and intervention.

Optional concentrations completed by many students include:

  1. Quantitative Psychology Concentration: Requires any three graduate statistics courses in psychology AFTER the introductory stats sequence. More information can be found here.
  2. Robert M. Arkin Certificate in the Teaching of Psychology is designed to align with a set of graduate teaching competencies, and involves a course in teaching of psychology (required for those serving as graduate instructors), as well as teaching observation and other professional development activities in teaching. More information can be found here.