Clinical and Applied Paediatric Neuropsychology
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Detailed Modules

Module 1: Introduction to developmental cognitive neuroscience

Developmental cognitive neuroscience provides the scientific knowledge underpinning contemporary paediatric neuropsychology practice. This module introduces the historical, theoretical and methodological foundations of developmental cognitive neuroscience. In order to study the complex multifaceted development of human cognition and its neural underpinnings it is essential that scientists in traditionally distinct fields integrate their methodologies. Students are introduced to the fundamental principles behind a range of methodologies with examples of leading-edge research and its potential clinical implications.

Module 2: Professional issues for paediatric neuropsychologists

This module describes issues associated with the practice of paediatric neuropsychology within different professional contexts, such as specialist neuroscience centres, child and adolescent mental health teams, educational systems, research programmes and medico-legal work. The roles and overlaps with multidisciplinary colleagues are described. Ethical issues and potential dilemmas relevant to neuropsychological practice are considered. As clinical neuropsychology training is open to both educational and clinical psychologists, students from both professional backgrounds are encouraged to engage in structured debate about what the different training routes offer towards clinical neuropsychology practice.

Module 3: Development of sensory, motor and cognitive neural systems

This module presents the normal and potentially abnormal development of neural systems subserving sensory, motor and cognitive functions. The normal neuroanatomical development of each system and the integration between systems is described. Competing processes involved in restoration after early injury or abnormal compensation are considered.  Topics such as plasticity and reorganisation of function, crowding effects, sleeper effects and altered trajectories of learning will be discussed.

Module 4: Developmental disorders and neuropsychological profiles

This module describes how cognitive outcome is shaped by aetiological factors and the underlying neuropathology in a range of developmental and acquired brain disorders. The complexity of studying developing brain function in the presence of pathology is illustrated by clinical case studies and syndrome profiles. Neuropsychological outcome following neurosurgical treatment is  considered. Developmental disorders used to illustrate brain-behaviour relationships include neurological disorders such as epilepsy, stroke, sickle cell disease, and traumatic brain injury, neurodevelopmental syndromes such as autistic spectrum disorders, ADHD and dyslexia, and psychiatric problems such as childhood schizophrenia.

Module 5: Infants and neurodevelopmental assessment

This module focuses on the specialised assessment of infants and children at risk of developmental delay who may require early neurodevelopmental assessment. Electrophysiological methods, such as Event Related Potentials,  and behavioural techniques, such as visual paired comparison, used to assess attention, timing and organisation of early cognitive skills are described. Clinical neurodevelopmental assessment batteries that measure sequential neurodevelopmental steps in early cognitive, language and motor development are also described.

Module 6: Assessment of neuropsychological disorders and their functional implications

This module considers the underpinning principles of neuropsychological assessment in children and adolescents and the many variables involved in the administration, interpretation and reporting of neuropsychological assessments. Paediatric neuropsychologists are required to diagnose functions that are at risk of compromise and provide prognosis of outcome after brain injury/disease at different stages of development. Therefore all assessment procedures within this module build on key concepts of normal and abnormal development described in Modules 3 and 4. Workshops are used to review the strengths and weaknesses of various tests used for  assessing different components of cognition and behaviour. The importance of interpreting tests within the context of individual cases and describing potential functional implications is highlighted. 

Module 7: Advanced developmental cognitive neuroscience

This module builds on the module called ‘Introduction to Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience’ and develops a more in-depth understanding of some of the methods and approaches used within developmental cognitive neuroscience with their clinical implications. Different paradigms and techniques are described such as neuroimaging, electrophysiology, experimental cognitive neuropsychology, and molecular genetic engineering. The combination of such techniques to further our understanding of developing brain-behaviour interactions is illustrated through reviews of contemporary research.

Module 8: Developing clinical formulations and interventions

This module considers the significance of developing clinical formulations for case-work that are informed by scientific findings presented in the remainder of the course. Clinical students are expected to present cases and to be supported by tutors in integrating their observations and findings with scientific research that was presented elsewhere on the course. Applied students are expected to participate in questioning and discussion of the formulation developments.

Organisational systems are described such as the process of reintegration into education following an acquired brain injury and working with family systems to aid adjustment. The systems involved in specialist or community settings for acute or long term support are also described, such as long term multidisciplinary rehabilitation for children with acquired brain injury and specialist support for children with complex epilepsies. 

Module 9: Paediatric Neuropsychology Research Project

This module is designed for students who wish to follow the Masters degree. The module introduces the issues involved in completing the research portfolio such as structure of the portfolio, word limits, ethics applications, time deadlines and the style of journal reporting required. Applied students are also required to attend a five day post-graduate course in statistics and research methodology.

Page last modified on 14 jun 12 17:46