Child Clinical—Developmental Psychopathology Focus

The clinical area of the psychology department at Northern Illinois University offers a focus in Child Clinical—Developmental Psychopathology for students with strong research and/or clinical interests in child development and developmental psychopathology. The focus area is based on the premise that the understanding of normal developmental processes and outcomes is essential for understanding and treating abnormal behavior in children and adolescents. Students in the Child Clinical—Developmental Psychopathology focus can prepare themselves for academic careers in clinical and developmental psychology as well as careers in clinical work with child and adolescent populations. We have joined the recently formed Clinical Child and Pediatric Psychology Training Council which will keep us abreast of changes in the field. This focus offers students a broad range of courses, research opportunities, and practicum experiences. 

Specialized child clinical courses that students are expected to take include: 

  • Developmental Psychopathology (PSYC 645);
  • Psychological Assessment of Children (PSYC 646); and
  • Psychological Interventions with Children and their Families (PSYC 647). 

In addition, students take coursework providing foundational knowledge of child and adolescent development including: 

  • Behavioral Development (PSYC 665); and
  • Social-Personality Development (PSYC 676) 

Students gain many experiences providing clinical services to children, adolescents and their families. All students start in a practicum run through the Psychological Services Center, which is located within the psychology department that serves NIU and the broader community. After this initial clinical training they gain further experiences on clinical externships (i.e., external clinical placements). We have several working relationships with providers in the broader community including: 

  • A low-income school district, where student provide assessment, consultation and intervention services;
  • A Pediatric Development Center in a rural community, where students get trained on the ADOS (the gold standard in autism spectrum disorder assessment) and providing assessment and intervention services;
  • A private practice providing individual and group interventions for children of all ages and assessment services; and
  • An intensive outpatient program for children with selective mutism. 

While these externships have long-standing relationships with the program, some students have also successfully arranged specific experiences with a child neuropsychologist and with a psychologist working in a pediatric department at an area hospital.  

Students in the Child Clinical—Developmental Psychopathology focus have opportunities to conduct research under the supervision of clinical, developmental, or school psychology faculty. The following are the Child Clinical—Developmental Psychopathology faculty (see the departmental faculty webpage for more details of their research):

Other Child Clinical Developmental Psychopathology faculty include:

Faculty/Affiliate Phone Email Focus
David Bridgett 815-753-0774 Clinical
Michelle Demaray 815-753-7077 School
Christine Malecki 815-753-1836 School
Nina Mounts 815-753-6968 Developmental
Julia Ogg 815-753-3508 School
Brad Pillow 815-753-7079 Developmental
Laura Pittman 815-753-2485 Clinical
Elizabeth Shelleby 915-753-0372 Clinical

Every other Friday during the academic year, students pursue this focus are expected to attend the child brown bag series. This brown bag series is organized by students and faculty in the child clinical and developmental areas. Research presentations on topics of interest to this group are given by NIU students and faculty as well as outside speakers.  

Students interested in this focus should apply to the clinical area and indicate their interest in this focus on the application materials. If you have any questions about the program, please contact Laura Pittman, Ph.D. at for additional information.