My name is Kenny Le, and I am a psychology major and neuroscience minor, born and raised in the metro-Atlanta area. I have switched career prospects multiple times over my undergraduate career, but my psychology major has stayed constant all these years. I have been part of a research lab since my freshman year focused on the dissemination of evidence-based assessment to the general public. I am particularly interested in making these resources more available to minority and under-served populations to increase the field’s accessibility and reduce common misconceptions about psychology. I hope to eventually enter graduate school for clinical child psychology.
I am currently working as a Gil Intern at the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities in Carrboro, NC. The CIDD is an interdisciplinary mental health clinic focused on diagnostic clarification, psychological assessments, family consultations, and treatment recommendations for children and adults dealing with neurodevelopmental disorders. The institute employs many professionals from different backgrounds (psychology, psychiatry, social work, speech pathology, etc.) to give clients thorough resources and feedback. The CIDD is also a fantastic teaching facility, where interns and practicum students contribute to the assessment process and learn about clinical practice. As the Gil intern, I was allowed to work alongside these various doctors and students alike. There are many clinics running concurrently at the CIDD, with each clinic addressing a specific issue and/or is suited for a specific age group. Clients with disorders from autism spectrum disorder to Prader-Willi Syndrome would be seen in this specialty care center.
I have the pleasure to observe on a few of these clinics during my time there. I currently am working under Dr. Hazlett in her pediatric neuropsychology clinic focused on evaluating children and adolescents with neurological, medical, or learning issues. In my student role, I am given the incredible opportunity to observe intelligence, achievement, and adaptive testing, to name a few. I have also been able to score behavioral rating scales, which has been a clear clinical application of the content I know in my research lab. I have also had the chance to work with Dr. Hiruma in her adult autism clinic and pre-school age team, where we prioritize diagnostic clarification of an autistic spectrum disorder in adults and children, respectively. In this role, I have also done rating scale scoring and contributed my observations of client behavioral patterns during assessment scoring. In both of these clinics, I have seen the extensive process of a clinical visit from semi-structured interviews to case conceptualization to parent consultation. On some occasions, we receive a non-English speaking client, and I have been able to realize the accommodations that are needed to service this demographic. This has been an important experience for me in my future career prospects, as I am able to see how the clinical environment can be modified to suit the needs of underrepresented populations. I am well aware that not all mental health services are as thorough as the CIDD, so my internship here has confirmed to me that my career interests would be able to help a lot of people.
My experience at the CIDD has been thoroughly educational and rewarding. I have been able to interact with psychologists and graduate students and received feedback and advice from them. I have been able to adapt to the environment of a clinic and observe psychological assessment. I have been particularly satisfied with seeing the rating scales that I interact with in research in clinical application be used on clients. However, I think the most important lesson I have learned is seeing the actual interactions between the clients and professionals. It’s important to remember that we are trying to help other human beings the best way we can, and we must do so with a sense of compassion. I think students can often overlook this in their education, and this semester has reminded me of that fact. My time at the CIDD has been an unforgettable real-life experience that I would not have been able to know without the Gil Internship.