Kennedy Krieger Institute Announces New Training Initiative to Prepare Psychologists to Meet Special Needs of Children who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

November 12, 2012
Internship program will be first-of-its-kind in the U.S.

(Baltimore, MD)- Kennedy Krieger Institute announces a new training initiative and expansion of their psychology internship program, designed to provide future psychologists with unique training that will improve the availability and quality of mental health services for children with hearing loss or deafness. Funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), this first-of-its-kind intensive internship will provide both cultural and linguistic training with the sole purpose of improving the ability of psychologists to provide clinical services to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.

More than seven million children in the United States have some form of hearing loss or deafness. Children with hearing loss are at a greater risk than the general pediatric population of late or misdiagnosis of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as autism or intellectual disability, yet communication and cultural differences often leave these children unable to receive the diagnosis and care needed. The Kennedy Krieger internship program will provide future psychologists with the necessary and vital preparation to address a range of significant mental health and neurodevelopmental problems in children, adolescents and young adults who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

The new training program will extend the Institute’s predoctoral internship, which is fully accredited by the American Psychological Association. Slated to begin in July 2013, the new program received funding to provide training to 4 future psychologists. Participants will receive training within Kennedy Krieger’s Deafness Related Evaluations and More (DREAM) Clinic in the Department of Neuropsychology, as well as the Pediatric Psychology Clinic and Consultation Program in the Department of Behavioral Psychology. The internship training initiative was designed to provide a wide range of experiences to trainees to prepare them to meet the needs of children who are deaf or hard-of-hearing in a manner that is accessible and culturally competent.

“It is critical for professionals to gain specialized experience conducting neuropsychological assessments in children with hearing loss who use a variety of communication modalities including American Sign Language,” said Dr. Jennifer Reesman, Ph.D., Director of the DREAM Clinic at Kennedy Krieger. “And although this is an internship to prepare future professionals, it is really the children we are committed to serving who will benefit the most."

About the Deafness Related Evaluations and More Clinic at Kennedy Krieger Institute

The DREAM Clinic is the leading health center of its kind and provides a range of comprehensive neuropsychological services to deaf and hard-of hearing children who are not meeting developmental milestones and who are struggling in school, demonstrating behavioral issues, or exhibiting social problems. Located in the Department of Neuropsychology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, the clinic offers services to infants and individuals ages 1-21 years. For more information, visit http://www.kennedykrieger.org/patient-care/patient-care-programs/outpatient-programs/deafness-related-evaluations-and-more-dream-clinic.

About the Kennedy Krieger Institute

Internationally recognized for improving the lives of children and adolescents with disorders and injuries of the brain and spinal cord, the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, MD serves more than 18,000 individuals each year through inpatient and outpatient clinics, home and community services and school-based programs.  Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with developmental concerns mild to severe, and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders develop while pioneering new interventions and earlier diagnosis.  For more information on Kennedy Krieger Institute, visit www.kennedykrieger.org.