Department of Psychology at Illinois State University

Practicum Experiences

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Graduate Programs in School Psychology has long-standing relationships with Unit 5 (McLean County) and District 87 (Bloomington) public schools and member schools of the Woodford County Special Education District, Tri-County Special Education District, and Livingston County Special Services, along with a number of other area public and parochial schools. School psychology trainees are placed in elementary schools during their first year of graduate study. Trainees have the opportunity to work in other elementary, junior high, and high schools as fieldwork and practicum settings.

Heartland Head Start

Trainees are placed in a local Head Start classroom for the first year of graduate study.

Laboratory Schools

The Graduate Programs in School Psychology utilizes Illinois State's laboratory schools (Metcalf Elementary School and University High School) for training purposes. The laboratory schools enroll children as young as three years of age through Grade 12. Trainees have an opportunity to observe effective teaching practices, conduct psychoeducational evaluations, consult with teachers, provide counseling services to students and parents, and develop preventative mental health programs and classroom-based interventions (e.g., social skills training groups for all children at a particular grade level).

Additional Doctoral Practicum Sites:

  • Mental Health Resources Center (MHRC)
  • Pontiac High School School-Based Health Center
  • Hammitt School/The Baby Fold (local school/agency for children with severe behavior disorders)
  • Baby Fold Foster Care Program
  • Chestnut Health Systems (local drug and alcohol prevention and treatment programs)
  • Southern Illinois University School of Medicine/Department of Pediatric
  • OSF Saint Francis Medical Center Health Psychology/Behavioral Health
  • Mental Health Consultant for Heartland (Bloomington)
  • Decatur Head Start
  • The Pavilion (Champaign/Urbana Ill.)
  • The Hope School (Springfield, Ill.)

Psychological Services Center

The Psychological Services Center (PSC) is operated and maintained by the Department of Psychology for training, service, and research purposes. The PSC has been moved to a larger and better-equipped space located on the fourth floor of Fairchild Hall. This new space consists of a suite of rooms including five interviewing and/or testing rooms, a large well-equipped playroom, a large conference room with many reference materials (books, journals, newsletters, etc.), and a large library of tests and testing equipment. A reception area and office space for a full-time secretary is also part of the PSC.

The services of the PSC are available to the general public at a lower cost than what is available in the private sector. The clients represent a range of educational, social, and emotional problems of children and their families. Services include complete psychological assessments, individual, family and group therapy, home intervention programs, and consultations with educational, medical, and other agencies involved with children.

The services available at the PSC are:

Academic Intervention Consultation Services
The AICS provides academic assessment and intervention services for students who demonstrate difficulty with basic academic skills such as reading, mathematics, spelling, and writing. AICS also provides consultation services to parents and teachers of students who are struggling academically. Consultations and workshops to schools and school districts on various topics are also available.

Child/Adolescent Intervention Services
Two types of child and adolescent intervention services are offered: clinic-based and classroom-based intervention.
Clinic-based intervention involves individual counseling for students with troubling behaviors or concerns. These students are referred for treatment by a parent, school representative, physician, social service agency, or as a result of an evaluation by the PSC.
Classroom-based intervention usually involves addressing a focal concern within a classroom group. Typically, topics covered are social/communication skills with classmates or compliance with teacher directions. Occasionally, there is a tragedy such as a sudden death that impacts a large number of students and is best addressed in a group setting with a health care provider. All classroom-based interventions are delivered either by a school psychology trainee clinician, a teacher together with a PSC graduate student clinician, or a teacher in consultation with a PSC graduate student clinician.

Child and Adolescent Assessment Service
The Child and Adolescent Assessment Service (CAAS) provides psychological assessment for children and adolescents who are experiencing learning and/or adjustment problems. Also, assessment and parent/school consultation services are provided for children and adolescents gifted with advanced development. Diagnostic assessment/testing determines current functioning levels in the areas of cognitive-intellectual skills, academic achievement, learning processes or how the student learns best, and social-emotional adjustment. Assessment results are interpreted to the parents and to the student, if age-appropriate, at a private conference with the psychology trainee clinician and his or her faculty supervisor.

College Learning Assessment Service
The College Learning Assessment Service (CLAS) offers standardized testing primarily for students with a history of learning disabilities and for students who have concerns as to whether they might have learning disabilities. The value of testing is that results often clarify for students exactly what, if any, diagnosable learning disabilities they might have. Plans can then be made to adjust the student's learning techniques and, if indicated, to seek assistance in the learning process.

Multidisciplinary Psychoeducational Assessment Service
The Multidisciplinary Psychoeducational Assessment Service (MPAS) provides diagnostic psychoeducational assessments for children and adolescents who are exhibiting more than one functional area of concern. For example, a student may have any combination of difficulties in learning, motor, speech, hearing and/or other areas. Performance in one area is often affected by difficulties in another. Therefore, having a comprehensive evaluation can be most helpful in gaining an integrated understanding of how multiple variables may be impacting a student's performance. Treatment plans and goals can then be specially tailored.

The MPAS is a consortium of disciplines that individually assess clients and shares information. Typically, a psychoeducational assessment such as the one described under Child/Adolescent Psychoeducational Assessment/Intervention Service is a part of all comprehensive evaluations. In addition, certain other disciplines such as Special Education, Speech, Audiology, Nursing, and/or Social Work will also conduct specialized evaluations, as indicated according to the combination of concerns a student exhibits.

The Autism Place

The Autism Place is an affiliated site of the Autism Project (TAP) of Illinois. TAP is a network of resources for Autism Spectrum Disorders, which has developed an infrastructure of provider networks to help Illinois families. The Autism Place encompasses four main areas:
1. intervention for children and their families either clinic-based or home-based;
2. consultation with schools and families regarding individual children or specific issues related to autism;
3. workshops or in-service training designed to provide education and train to professionals, paraprofessionals, and parents; and
4. evaluation of intervention effectiveness and acceptability.