Each year the Project KIDS team offer a number of clinical training and research training places within our team. We believe that working as part of an experienced team is an invaluable foundation for entry into the specialist work of providing service for, and conducting research with, children. Our commitment to training the next generation of paediatric specialists is reflected in the fact that since 1995 we have had more than 100 students work with our team.

Trainee places include:

(i) Fourth year, Masters, DPsych and PhD research projects
(ii) Postgraduate clinical training practicum experiences
(iii) International exchange, internships, fellowships and practicum opportunities
(iv) Professional development opportunities for registered psychologists

Each of these places is competitive and involves a two stage application (link to application form) and interview process. Prior to preparing your application, it will be helpful to read the following information and contact one of our staff to discuss your application.

What will you learn at Project KIDS?

At Project KIDS we work with typically developing children as well as children who are considered to be at neurodevelopmental risk from illness, injury or premature birth. Children with congenital illness such as Type 1 diabetes, acquired illness such as cancer, traumatic brain injury, developmental disorders such as autism or ADHD, and neurological disorders come through our centre. These children are often considered ‘multi-risk’ and may be exhibiting signs of behavioural difficulty, mental illness, emotional difficulty as well as significant learning challenges. We work with children and families to identify children’s strengths and difficulties through our unique ‘whole-of-child’ assessment process known as Project KIDS. This process has been designed by clinicians interested in designing a ‘real-life’ context in which to assess children and which allows us to see how they cope with one on one problem solving tasks as well as social tasks with other children and adults. All of our assessment tasks are embedded in a day of games and activities which is enjoyed by both children and staff!

In addition to comprehensive whole-of-child profiling, we are also piloting exciting new intervention approaches to remediate difficulties in neurocognitive functioning while the brain is still in its most plastic phase of development. Enhancing a child’s cognitive flexibility has the potential to enhance their ability to manage the functional demands of daily life as well interpersonal and emotional demands. Practicum and research students have an opportunity to be involved in different aspects of this endeavour.

Given our duty of care to the children attending Project KIDS we have strict criteria for progressing to scaffolded and supported face to face work with children. Completing your part of your clinical or research training at Project KIDS offers an opportunity for developing competence in:

(i) Basic and translational research methodologies including grant applications and publication processes

(ii) Working with children and families

(iii) Working with typically developing young children

(iv) Working with clinical groups such as children born prematurely, children with health issues such as diabetes, children with neurological conditions and multi-risk neurodevelopmental profiles

(v) Learning a neurodevelopmental framework for understanding mental illness, behavioural difficulties, neurological problems and learning difficulties in children and adults.

(vi) Understanding brain development and brain plasticity and how it impacts clients with complex and comorbid presentations.

(vii) Working as part of a multidisciplinary team including clinical and counselling psychologists, paediatricians, teachers, nurses, speech pathologists amongst others. We often have international volunteers working with us as part of their completion of practicum hours for their home university.

(viii) Undertaking neurodevelopmental assessments that include behavioural observation, interviewing, psychometric testing, family-based assessments, in vivo assessments of social and emotional development, brain-based measures of functioning and a range of others.

(ix) Profiling interpreting and reporting on these assessments in a way that helps illuminate complex case presentations and which can be used as an individualised evidence base for intervention planning

(x) Undertaking interventions with individual children or groups of families that will target enhancement of cognitive flexibility and improved executive functioning. These are skills that impact all aspects of everyday life and which may still be malleable during early childhood.

(xi) Undertaking interventions with individual children or groups of families that will target accommodation of neurodevelopmental deficits or delays. Helping children and families to find ways to make good use of their strengths and to accommodate their areas of impaired function.

There are a number of potential components to your practicum or research training that will depend on your level of experience and expertise. We take a supportive, scaffolding approach to your training. In the first instance, new trainees will be provided with careful training and supervision in working with children and in ethical and whole-of-child approach to assessment. Advanced trainees will be expected to be able to complete more complex research and/or clinical tasks with more complex clients and in a more independent fashion.

We have developed service and research partnerships with a range of children’s services in the community. These partnerships will involve trialling new approaches to intervention for children with neurodevelopmental challenges manifesting as mental health issues, behavioural issues, interpersonal issues or learning issues. Students may have the opportunity to work with an individual client family or to participate in the development, implementation and evaluation of a treatment program.

Other issues to consider

Given our duty of care to children and families, all students undertaking this placement will need to obtain a Working with Children Check and a National Criminal History Record Check as well as AHPRA registration or registration with the peak professional body for your profession.

There are no fees for research places at Project KIDS though it is important that you read our policy on publication and data ownership.

Fees for visiting international students are negotiated according to each trainee’s needs.

Fees for professional development places are determined once a training agreement has been negotiated to suit each trainee’s professional requirements.