Student Opportunities

Thanks for your interest in getting involved with SPARC! Part of our mission at SPARC is to provide quality opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students to work with individuals on the autism spectrum. Take some time to read through our website to learn more about each of the different programs.

The opportunities that we have available to students range from volunteer opportunities to practicum experiences. Students will work with our clients:

  • in the clinic,
  • in their homes and schools,
  • and in the community.

Working with individuals on the autism spectrum is very rewarding and time spent at SPARC can possibly earn you practicum credits, volunteer credits, and can be very helpful for future schooling and job searches.

In general, to spend time with us at SPARC, you do not need to already have experience in working with individuals on the autism spectrum. We provide all necessary training. However, we ask that before you commit to participating in an opportunity:

  • Make sure you have the time to give the program (each program requires different time commitments).
  • Please take your roles at SPARC very seriously because we do and our families do!
  • Any student involved with SPARC must apply for and obtain three clearances before starting any program. These are required by any person in contact with children in the state of PA. SPARC can provide the necessary paperwork and links so that you can complete these checks.
    • Child Abuse Check
    • Criminal background check
    • FBI background check

Practicum Experiences

At this time, we offer the opportunity for undergraduate and graduate students to spend field placements, internships, and practicums at SPARC. Depending on your major and the requirements within that major, will be an indicator in if this is applicable to you. If you have questions, it is best to contact Dena Kelly and your advisor. Undergraduate West Chester psychology students can do Field Experience I and II, and Research Experience at SPARC.

Most students will work with our clients in the clinic. 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 10 hours per week in these activities.