Clinical Fellowship in the Psychiatry of Developmental Disabilities

The Developmental Disabilities Program in the Department of Psychiatry at Western University in London, Ontario, offers a one-year clinical fellowship in Developmental Disabilities for psychiatrists who have completed their residency. This position is partially funded and, with opportunities for clinical billing, it is expected that the income of fellows during their fellowship will be approximately $100,000.

The prevalence of Developmental Disabilities (Intellectual Disability and/or Autism Spectrum Disorder) is almost 3% of the Canadian population.  In addition to higher rates of all medical problems, people with Developmental Disabilities have increased rates of psychiatric disorders, with some studies suggesting rates up to eight times higher than the general population. Unfortunately, due to a lack of training and services, people with Developmental Disabilities tend to have lower rates of diagnosis and treatment of their mental health problems, leading to significant health care disparities and inequities.

The Psychiatry of Developmental Disabilities is a fascinating, intellectually stimulating, and highly rewarding field. The interplay of mental health, physical health, behaviour, and development is central to the field and necessitates the inclusion of elements of developmental pediatrics, neurology, psychiatry, and rehabilitation medicine.

The fellowship provides fellows with extensive clinical opportunities in psychiatry and related disciplines, allowing fellows to enhance their skills in this underserved area and prepares them for independent practice in the Psychiatry of Developmental Disabilities. Fellows will participate in Psychiatry, Genetics, Developmental Pediatrics, Neurology, and Rehabilitation Medicine Clinics. Rather than using a traditional approach with trainees learning in blocks of time within each specialty, this fellowship uses a novel, longitudinal approach in which fellows will work in the same child psychiatry and adult psychiatry clinics with the same supervisor over the course of the year. This approach, in which trainees see the same patients multiple times over the year, provides the opportunity to develop expertise in the ongoing management of mental health problems in people with Developmental Disabilities.

For more information about the Psychiatry of Developmental Disabilities Fellowship, please feel free to contact my office by email at I look forward to your inquiries and a chance to discuss our exciting fellowship program with you.


Rob Nicolson, MD, FRCP(C),
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry,
Chair, Developmental Disabilities Program,
Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry,
Western University.