Southeastern Pennsylvania Autism Resource Center

1160 McDermott Drive #214
West Chester, PA 19383
Phone: 610-430-5678


Student Opportunities

Social Skill Groups

Role of WCU student: Serve as a one-to-one aide for a child with autism. Work on targeted social skills under the direct supervision of a SPARC clinician. All students will receive training before the social skills program begins and ongoing supervision throughout. This is a volunteer position (depending on major and time spent, you may be able to earn some field experience credits).

Time Commitment: 8 weeks, 2-3 hours per week

Practicum Experiences

At this time, we offer the opportunity for students to spend field placements, internships, and practicums at SPARC. Whether this opportunity would be applicable to you would depend on your major and the requirements within that major. If you have questions, it is best to contact Dr. Dawson and your advisor. Psychology students can do Field Experience I and II and Research Experience at SPARC.

We currently have two practicum sites available:


Students completing a practicum at SPARC will be involved with all aspects of the clinic: seeing patients, conducting treatment sessions, taking data, analyzing data, creating graphs, writing notes, conducting school/home visits, conducting literature searches, reading relevant articles, attending weekly practicum supervision, and learning assessment techniques. All experiences are supervised by Jennifer Dawson, Ph.D. and/or Cherie Fishbaugh, M.A., BCBA. Students spend approximately 9 hours per week in these activities.

Local Charter School

We have created a partnership with a local Charter School (approximately 20 minutes from WCU) in which students will work in the school with children on the autism spectrum. Students will take data, participate in implementation of behavioral protocols, and provide classroom support. Supervision will occur with both SPARC and staff from the school. Students spend approximately 9 hours per week in these activities.

For additional information please contact Dr. Duncan.

Home Programs

The effectiveness of discrete trial home programs for children with an autism spectrum disorder is well documented. These individualized comprehensive programs focus on reducing negative behaviors as well as increasing a wide variety of skills, including daily living, social, toy play, language, gross motor, fine motor, pre-academic, and academic.

When SPARC establishes a home program for a family with a child with autism, we are always looking for college students to serve as paid therapists for families. Students are directly hired by the family and therefore are actually employed by the parents, not SPARC. All students receive intensive training before beginning to work with the child and receive frequent supervision by Cherie Fishbaugh, MA, BCBA who is the consultant for the program.

Hours available depend on the number of hours the program is set up for as well as how many therapists are working with the family. Pay is usually determined upon prior experience and other related experiences. However, it is important to remember that you do not have to have prior experience.

Home programs are a great way to get experience as well as earn money! In most cases, you must have a car. If interested, please contact Cherie Fishbaugh.

Other Opportunities


Family Opportunities - SPARC receives many requests from families who would like to hire a college student for programs that they already have running (not through SPARC). We have a binder of opportunities for students to look through and can contact the parents directly if interested. The binder is kept at the SPARC office in 1160 McDermott Dr., #214.

If you are interested in participating in any of these programs, please contact Dr. Jennifer Dawson or Cherie Fishbaugh at