About Our Program

About our department:
Our neuropsychology department’s goal is to provide high-quality neuropsychological assessment and consultation for children while generating empirically based neuropsychological research. The neuropsychology department consists of 11 neuropsychologists, two psychometrists and two postdoctoral fellows, as well as rotating predoctoral interns from the Emory University School of Medicine Doctoral Internship Program. The department supports other programs in both hospitals, including rehabilitation, sports medicine, neurosurgery and neurology. It also works with outside physicians and various clinics, such as the Genetics, Spina Bifida, Muscular Dystrophy, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and Neurofibromatosis Clinics, to coordinate an optimal care plan for each patient. 

About the externship:
As an extern in the neuropsychology department, you will rotate throughout the training year with two different supervisors, spending one to two days a week in the department. Along with your supervisor, you may participate in initial parent interviews, and you will spend much of your time administering and scoring psychological tests. Your supervisor will meet with you to review evaluation results, and help you develop a neuropsychological report. You and your supervisor may also meet with parents to review test results in detail and help address parent questions and concerns. 

In addition to acquiring clinical externship hours and gaining exposure to many neurological conditions, students are also encouraged to attend a weekly neuropsychology student meeting. This meeting is coordinated by neuropsychology fellows and designed to meet the interests and needs of externs, with relevant topics such as testing, learning more about common diagnoses and having a better understanding of test data and factors that impact testing. During the last part of the student seminar, students will present a case from their externship experience. Students might also have the opportunity to work with their supervisors to gather research or clinical case information in an area of neuropsychological interest and present at a national conference.   

After completion of the one-year diagnostic externship, students can choose to apply for the department’s additional learning opportunities to further their education and increase their competitiveness for post graduate level experiences. Additional opportunities include:

Cognitive remediation

Cognitive remediation provides a unique, personalized program that brings change by helping caregivers gain a better understanding of each child’s abilities. This approach focuses on a child’s or adolescent’s strengths to make up for his acquired weaknesses. It also focuses on rehabilitating known weaknesses through retraining and using a variety of techniques for learning. Students who wish to participate in the cognitive remediation summer program should already have completed the Pediatric Neuropsychology Externship. To apply for this program, please contact Dr. Kathleen O'Toole.

Learn more about cognitive remediation

Contact Dr. Kathleen O'Toole

Advanced Concussion Practicum

Neuropsychologists at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta receive referrals from our coordinated team to provide both assessment and management services for children with concussions or mild traumatic brain injuries. While many patients are initially managed by pediatricians and Sports Medicine physicians following their injury, in some cases children can have lingering effects of their concussion and need to be evaluated by a neuropsychologist.

The Advanced Concussion Practicum includes conducting brief evaluations of patients, interviewing patients and families and providing education and writing brief reports to support clinical management. Students are able to contribute and support IRB-approved research. The opportunity to present at national conferences about concussion research is strongly encouraged. 

Students who wish to receive advanced training in the concussion practicum should have already completed the Pediatric Neuropsychology Externship. To learn more about the Advanced Concussion Practicum, and to apply, please contact Dr. Jacqueline Kiefel.

Pediatric Psychology Practicum Consortium

This training opportunity is created specifically for students who have a strong interest in pediatric psychology and an ability to work quickly and efficiently in a clinical setting. Students will gain experience in several of our various healthcare programs and clinics, including:

  • Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorder Center
  • Inpatient Rehabilitation Program
  • Strong4Life Clinic
  • Pain Relief Outpatient Clinic
  • Pediatric endocrinology 

Dependent upon the specialty area selected, these practicum positions are located at all three campuses; Egleston, Scottish Rite and Hughes Spalding. At each location, students will receive ongoing supervision of all work, with a minimum of one hour per week of individual supervision. Considerable additional training occurs in the context of multidisciplinary rounds, group supervision, supervision of students by post-doctoral fellows, in-service training, and child and adolescent psychiatry grand rounds.

Learn more about the Pediatric Psychology Practicum Consortium

Advanced Rehabilitation Clinical and Research Practicum

Students who participate in the Advanced Rehabilitation Clinical Practicum will see patients in our Inpatient Rehabilitation Program and Day Rehabilitation Program. The patient diagnoses that students will see include acquired injuries, new onset illness, and various neurodevelopmental and chronic neurological conditions. Training experiences may include medical chart review, case presentation skills, working with multi-disciplinary teams, assessment techniques during the early stage of cognitive recovery, serial monitoring of cognitive status on the inpatient unit, diagnostic interviewing and providing brain injury education to families. Students can also assist with discharge evaluations in the Day Rehabilitation Program. Interested graduate students must have completed the Pediatric Neuropsychology Externship. Additional assessment experience is preferred. 

The rehabilitation research lab focuses on investigating functional and neurocognitive outcomes in children and adolescents with varying acquired brain injuries, ranging from traumatic brain injury (TBI) to infectious disease. Our research lab works closely with other disciplines within Children's and Emory, including physiatry, neurosurgery, nursing, physical therapists, occupational therapists and speech therapists. We are looking for interested students who are enthusiastic, independent, and enjoy working on a research team. 

In order to be considered and to learn more information about the Advanced Rehabilitation Practicum, please contact Dr. Laura Blackwell and Dr. Robyn Howarth.

Contact Dr. Laura Blackwell

Contact Dr. Robyn Howarth

Training schedule:
The training year for the externship begins mid-August and ends mid-June, although some students choose to begin over the summer and conclude in December. Students are given vacation time for Thanksgiving, winter break, spring break and some additional major holidays. The externship schedule can be modified for each student and can include two full days, one full day or a half day. The day begins at 8 a.m. and ends between 4 and 5 p.m.

Student eligibility:
Students must be enrolled in a graduate psychology program, with relevant programs being clinical neuropsychology, clinical psychology, school or educational psychology, and counseling. Students must have already taken the basic assessment course offered in the training programs. If there are questions regarding eligibility for this program, students should contact the clinical director of their program.

How to apply

Interested students should submit a CV by March 15 to Externship Coordinator Jacqueline Kiefel, Ph.D. Students will then be selected to participate in an on-site interview open house. 

Jacqueline Kiefel, Ph.D.
Pediatric Neuropsychology Externship Coordinator
Pediatric Neuropsychologist
404-785-2952
jackie.kiefel@choa.org