Idaho State University’s Rob Rieske receives training grant to benefit students and community

POCATELLO – Idaho State University psychology professor Rob Rieske and the Department of Psychology were recently awarded a training grant from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health entitled “Improving Training of Future Clinical Psychologists in the Area of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.”

Rob Rieske

Rob Rieske

The aim of the $8,433 grant is to train clinical psychology graduate students to assess and provide treatment for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Many students do not receive this training because it is a specialized population that requires a different skill set and assessments. The training will help students learn how to administer the new tests, score them, interpret them and provide treatment plans for individuals.

“In the psychology department we like to provide a wide range skills to our students so they can provide for their patients,” Rieske said. “A grant like this one helps our students to have that rare experience before they graduate.”

This project will not only be funded by the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation grant, funding will also come from the psychology clinic on campus and the psychology department. The grant will purchase new assessments, update tests that are already in the clinic and will provide training for both graduate students and undergraduate students who are interested in learning more about these assessments and trainings. Other psychology professionals in the community will also have access to the training so they can use the knowledge in their practices.

“I think it is important to get grants like this to not only improve the status of our clinic and the skill set that we give to our students but to better the services we provide to families in the community,” Rieske said. “One of our main goals is to better provide resources to our community.”

The grant will help to purchase the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), which is an assessment of communication, play and social interaction. The ADOS is known as the gold standard for assessing autism spectrum disorders. Traditionally, many psychology clinics and most rural areas don’t have access to these types of assessments because of the cost.

“Without this grant we would not be able to purchase assessments and training materials such as the ADOS,” said Rieske. “Some of these assessments are not even available in the area so this funding helps to better prepare students for internships and jobs because these are tools that will be used in major clinics and hospitals.”