Practicum Placements

IDD psychology students complete a planned sequence of practicum placements, beginning with an introductory, internal placement at Nisonger Center and moving to increasingly diverse and independent work in a variety of settings serving children and adults with IDD.

Introductory Practicum (2nd Year)

All students complete their introductory practicum placement in the Nisonger Center’s diagnostic clinics, including Interdisciplinary Developmental Clinic, School-Age Autism and Developmental Clinic, and Transition Clinic. Students in these clinics receive direct training and supervision in clinical interviewing, administration and interpretation and psychological and developmental tests (e.g., Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule-2nd Edition, Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development, Mullen Scales of Early Learning, Child and Adult Wechsler Intelligence Scales, variety of parent- and teacher-report behavioral and emotional checklists, etc.), delivering feedback to families regarding diagnosis, interdisciplinary teaming, and integrated report writing. Due to Covid-19 safety precautions, these clinics currently operate with a combination of virtual and in-person services (e.g., virtual parent interviews and feedback sessions supplemented by in-person testing and observation). Click here to download the syllabus for additional details.

Advanced Practicum Placements (3rd-5th Year)

Students complete advanced practicum placements during their 3rd and 4th years in the program, with some students continuing in practicum during their 5th year (if they are not yet on internship). Advanced practicum placements are designed to build students’ clinical skills in a variety of areas of assessment and intervention with IDD populations. Students have opportunities to work with both child and adult populations in different placements. The program has established connections with a variety of practicum placements inside and outside of the Nisonger Center and is continually looking to expand our practicum options. If students are interested in pursuing a new externship placement, they are encouraged to work with IDD faculty and the new site to determine whether the activities and supervision at this site are suitable. Advanced practicum students are typically expected to spend about 20 hours/week in their practicum placement, including a minimum of 5 hours/week of direct client contact. Some students completing less intensive placements may choose to work with more than one practicum site simultaneously. All practicum placements are overseen and supervised by licensed clinical psychologists. In some placements, students may also receive a portion of their supervision from other licensed professionals such as social workers or board certified behavior analysts. Click here to download the sample supervision agreement and guidelines for external practicum placements.

In December/January, the IDD faculty will reach out to training contacts for advanced practicum sites to determine how many students the sites are able to accommodate for the coming year. The potentially available placements will then be communicated to students needing advanced practicum placements by the end of January (for placements the following fall), and students will be responsible for contacting sites they are interested in to provide necessary information and arrange an interview.

Recent Advanced Practicum Placements Include:

  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Child Development Center
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Haugland Learning Center
  • I am Boundless, Inc.
  • Nisonger Early Learning Program
  • Nisonger Social Programs
  • Nisonger Behavior Support Services

Clinical Internship

Currently, students in the IDD Psychology program are not eligible to enter the APPIC internship match (although this would change, should our program gain PCSAS accreditation). Therefore, we support students in arranging internships with a variety of high-quality community sites serving children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, both in Columbus and around the country.

Internships for our students:

  • Take place in clinical programs serving children and/or adults with IDD
  • May include a combination of assessment, therapy, and some research activities
  • Include increasingly advanced and independent practice activities, with greater breadth and depth than those experienced during practicum
  • Include supervision from licensed psychologists such that students are likely to meet requirements for licensure in the state of Ohio
  • Are either one year, full-time placements or two year, half-time placements
  • Are typically paid and include benefits (e.g., insurance)

Recent students (within the last 10 years) have completed internship placements with:

  • Nisonger Center Behavior Support Services (two year, half-time) (Columbus, OH)
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Child Development Center (Columbus, OH)
  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (Columbus, OH)
  • Haugland Learning Center (Columbus, OH)
  • I Am Boundless (Columbus, OH)
  • Kennedy Krieger Institute (Baltimore, MD)

Applying for Licensure

Because licensure requirements differ by state, the process of applying for licensure will differ slightly. However, regardless of state, graduates are likely to need to provide information about:

  1. Their course of study, including courses taken and/or verification of degree (may need syllabus copies)
  2. Their clinical experiences, including practicum, internship, and postdoc (postdoc is required in some states, optional in others)
  3. Scores on the national EPPP licensure exam (required scores vary by state)
  4. In some states, a state-level exam, typically covering state laws/ethical codes

Because the IDD Psychology program is not APA-accredited, some states will ask graduates to provide evidence that their course of study meets all of the major requirements of an APA-accredited program. Appendix C in the program handbook provides a crosswalk of required courses that meet each of the licensure requirement/APA standards areas. Students are encouraged to keep copies of syllabi from these courses. Current students can find copies of most course syllabi here.

Licensure boards will also typically require applicants to report about their clinical training experiences during practicum, internship, and/or postdoc. Students should track information about time spent in (1) face-to-face clinical hours spent in assessment and treatment, (2) individual and group supervision, (3) other clinically related hours, such as time spent writing treatment plans, reports, etc. It can be VERY difficult to accurately re-create this information retrospectively (and this strategy usually leads to students vastly underestimating their true hours spent!). We recommend using a tracking system as soon as you begin clinical work. One tracking system that many students have found useful, and that conforms to reporting expectations for internship applications, is

Details and forms needed for licensure in Ohio can be found here. Students graduating from our program must complete requirements for “Non-accredited degree programs,” as Ohio law no longer recognizes historical ASPPB/national register designation as an acceptable accreditation. Students will need to ensure they complete forms verifying a total of 3,600 hours of internship and post-doctoral training, including

  • Forms for verification of 1,500-2,000 hours of training in a doctoral internship (non-accredited): Forms B (graduate program DCT) and Form C (internship site)
  • Remainder of 3,600 required hours between any of the following: APA-accredited post-doc, non-accredited post-internship training.