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Description of Program

The Autism Program is in the Division of Clinical Behavioral Neuroscience in the Department of Pediatrics. The focus is on diagnostic evaluation, treatment, and consultation on autism and related conditions in individuals from birth through adulthood and their families. Diagnostic evaluations follow an evidence-based, best practice framework in which the child’s needs related to autism are understood within the context of their overall development. Treatment services also implement evidence-based programs for improving social skills, transition to adulthood, reducing anxiety, and improving parent-child interactions that promote development. A strong emphasis is placed on obtaining research-level reliability on diagnostic measures for autism to ensure the highest quality evaluations, as well as having close coordination and interaction with the autism community and available resources to be able to connect families with needed services. To this end, fellows will be expected to participate in at least one community/advocacy committee for autism during their tenure. Understanding of the variety of psychiatric and developmental diagnoses, as well as performing differential diagnosis, is another strong emphasis. Because of the complex medical and behavioral needs of most children with autism and related conditions, the fellow within the Autism Program will participate and work cooperatively with many subspecialty services of the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Psychiatry.

The Autism Program’s treatment groups include cognitive-behavioral therapy to improve anxiety, social skills instruction, and supporting independent living skills for transition to adulthood and work life. The groups all contain a parent psychoeducational component and parent support. Individual and parent-child therapy models follow a cognitive-behavioral and/or applied behavior/developmental approach.

The postdoctoral fellow will split their time between clinical activities (50% or more), research, and training and service. Research opportunities include studying a range of clinical issues related to ASD, fragile X syndrome, and related conditions; evaluation of treatment outcomes; early diagnosis; and epidemiology and health disparities in ASD.

The postdoctoral fellow will be joining the program at a time of new development, with the opening of the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain (MIDB) in October 2021. MIDB is led by the University of Minnesota Medical School and the College of Education and Human Development and brings together researchers and clinicians from across the University of Minnesota, including the Department of Pediatrics, the Institute for Child Development, the Institute on Community Integration, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Pediatric Neurology. MIDB will house both research and healthcare, enabling side-by-side collaboration and providing a one-stop setting for patients and families that’s convenient and welcoming.

Fellowship Timeline

The fellowship is designed to span two years, contingent upon satisfactory progress during the first year. The anticipated start date is July 1, 2021, although an alternative start date no later than September 1, 2021 may be negotiated on an individual basis.

Candidate Qualifications:

Qualified candidates will have a doctoral degree and clinical internship from an APA/CPA accredited program in Clinical, Developmental, or School Psychology and specialty training in autism and neurodevelopmental disorders. Candidates should be knowledgeable about best practices for ASD diagnostic evaluations and evidence-based interventions. Applicants must be license-eligible in Minnesota. Preferred qualifications include research reliability on the ADOS-2 and ADI-R. Board Certified Behavioral Analyst credential is preferred, but not required. Salary and benefits are competitive. Review of applications begins immediately and will continue until the position is filled.

Applicants should submit a CV and letter of interest to Dr. Amy Esler, Section Head of the Autism and Neurodevelopment Clinic, at esle0007@umn.edu.