Goals of this rotation are for students to develop a clear theoretical understanding of a range of common difficulties affecting children’s cognitive performance, how to evaluate a child for the presence of such problems, how to effectively convey this information to parents and schools, and how to develop appropriate intervention plans.
Required activities include performing evaluations of the type described above, giving case presentations at the weekly Clinic case conference, participating in discussions of others’ cases, jointly (with Dr. Robin Peterson) providing feedback to parents about evaluation results, developing specific intervention plans, becoming knowledgeable about specific community resources and relevant legal issues, and writing reports. Students will also be expected to do some readings about various disorders affecting cognitive performance.
Interns must attend the Clinic case conference on Wednesdays, 12:00 to 2:00 PM.
Optional activities include further readings, participation in research activities, and use of learning resources of the Center, such as neuroanatomy and genetics software instruction programs and a DVD library of patients with different developmental disabilities. Students who enter with some previous training in neuropsychology may participate in more comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations.
There is a close integration of research and practice in this clinic, and the overall theoretical perspective derives from developmental cognitive neuroscience and behavioral and molecular genetics. So, there is a considerable emphasis on understanding the genetic and environmental risk and protective factors that have shaped the development of the client’s cognitive and psychosocial profile, and on empirically-supported treatments for helping to optimize the client’s development.
Clinical activities include individual evaluation, development of skill in relating to school personnel both for information gathering as well as to facilitate subsequent intervention, and providing education to parents and school personnel regarding the nature of a child’s difficulties.
Clients seen at this clinic are referred from the community, frequently by pediatricians, psychiatrists, tutors, and psychologists. The age range of clients is approximately age 5 through college-age.
Supervision takes several forms. Cases are individually supervised by Dr. Peterson, which includes meeting with the trainee as needed during the course of the evaluation and jointly giving feedback to parents. Most cases are reviewed in the weekly two-hour Clinic case conference, which are attended by all Clinic trainees as well as Drs. Peterson and Pennington. Additionally, there is direct supervision (group and individual) by the Clinic Assistant, an advanced DU clinical student, to assist in learning tests, checking scores and the like. Other scholarly activities are described above under optional activities and trainees are also welcome at the Neuroscience Research Group meetings, which are held approximately monthly at DU, at which presentations are given on various topics.
Robin Peterson, PhD who is Clinic Director and Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Psychology and the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Program. Her degrees are from Harvard and the University of Denver, where Dr. Pennington was her research advisor. She does research on dyslexia and related speech and language disorders. She co-authored several chapters in the Diagnosing Learning Disorders book described below.
Bruce F. Pennington, Ph.D. heads the Developmental Neuropsychology Center, and is a John Evans Professor in the Department of Psychology. His degrees are from Harvard and Duke Universities. Dr. Pennington is the author of Diagnosing Learning Disorders – A Neuropsychological Framework (2nd Ed., 2009, Guilford Press), The Development of Psychopathology—nature and Nurture (2002, Guilford Press), and co-editor of Pediatric Neuropsychology-Research, Theory, and Practice (2nd Ed., 2010, Guilford Press).