Course Title: CE 2. Genes, Brain, and Behavior in Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Science and Practice


Credit Hours: 3.0


Instructor(s) Bruce F. Pennington, PhD


Genes, Brain, and Behavior in Neurodevelopmental Disorders:  Science and Practice

Abstract & Learning Objectives

Only a few decades ago, disorders like dyslexia, ADHD, and autism were poorly understood and the target for considerable unscientific speculation and questionable treatment approaches. Now we have an emerging neuroscience of atypical development, but paradoxically, controversial therapies for these disorders are as prevalent as ever, and many children with these disorders are not receiving the help they deserve. Closing this gap between science and practice is an important goal for scientists, clinicians, educators, and policy makers to pursue. In this workshop, I will provide a multi-level update of the science of these disorders, that includes etiology (genes and environment), brain mechanisms, cognition, and symptoms. I will then review how this new science informs best practices for diagnosing and treating these disorders.

Bruce F. Pennington, PhD

Bruce F. Pennington, PhD

John Evans Professor
University of Denver
Department of Psychology

As a result of participation in this course, the learner will achieve the following objectives:
(1) list genetic, neural, and cognitive bases of dyslexia, speech and language disorders, ADHD, and autism,
(2) describe what is known about the comorbidities among these disorders, and
(3) apply leading edge translational research for diagnosing and treating these disorders.

Click here to view 43rd Annual Meeting presenter and program planner disclosures.

Speaker Biography

Bruce F. Pennington, Ph.D. is a developmental neuropsychologist who has earned an international reputation for his research on dyslexia, ADHD, and autism. He is particularly interested in using genetic and neuropsychological methods to understand comorbidity among disorders, such as the comorbidity between dyslexia and ADHD. He has been the primary research mentor for 35 doctoral and postdoctoral students, many of whom are now pursuing their own research on developmental disabilities.

He is a John Evans Professor of Psychology at the University of Denver, where he heads the Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience program. He received his BA from Harvard University and his PhD from Duke University. His honors include Research Scientist, MERIT, and Fogarty awards from the National Institutes of Health, the Samuel T. Orton Award from the International Dyslexia Association, and the Emanuel Miller Lecture from the British Child Psychology and Psychiatric Association. He is also a Fellow of AAAS.

He recently published The Development of Psychopathology: Nature and Nurture (Guilford Press, 2002). His first book, Diagnosing Learning Disorders (Guilford Press, 1991), has now been revised and the second edition was published in 2008. It emphasizes a close relation between research and practice. In addition to being a researcher and research mentor, he is also a child clinical neuropsychologist, and has been active in clinical practice and training throughout his career