Course Title: CE 05: The Neuropsychologists ABC's of LD's: Understanding and Assessing Learning Disabilities Within a Neuropsychological Context (Vasserman)

Credit Hours: 3

Instructor(s) Marsha Vasserman

Marsha Vasserman, PsyD, ABPP Widener University
CE Workshop # 5: The Neuropsychologists ABC’s of LD’s: Understanding and Assessing Learning Disabilities Within a Neuropsychological Context
Abstract & Learning Objectives: Reading, writing, and math are cognitive skills like any other. In fact, they rely on multiple cognitive skills that we regularly evaluate as part of our clinical neuropsychological assessments. Yet, despite the fact that such a large portion of children we evaluate have learning disorders, and that some of our organizations have advocated for neuropsychological evaluation in learning disabilities, many neuropsychologists feel they are not able to adequately assess for them, particularly within a medical context. This is in part due to the limited training that many doctoral programs offer in regards to learning disorders, as well as the environment created by insurance companies and reimbursement methods. This talk will focus on relevant aspects to identifying learning disorders in a variety of settings. We will be discussing underlying neuropsychological constructs observed in the most common learning disabilities, as well as the best methods for assessment and intervention. Focus on quick and efficient methods for screening for learning disorders will also be covered. Additionally, learning disabilities within the context of common medical disorders and settings will be discussed, with an eye towards identifying LD’s in medically complex children (e.g., prematurity, congenital heart disease). Upon conclusion of this course, learners will be able to:
  • Identify neuropsychological/neuroanatomical underpinnings of each major learning disorders
  • Describe assessment methods for screening for reading, math and writing disabilities
  • List at least one recommendation for intervention for each of the major learning disorders
  • Discuss prevalence rates of specific learning disorders in medical contexts
Speaker Biography: I am a board certified clinical neuropsychologist, and also hold the pediatric subspecialty certificate. I trained at Widener University, where I completed concentrations in both neuropsychology, as well as school psychology. I feel this combination provided me with a unique skill set of understanding learning within a neuropsychological context. Following my fellowship, I took a position at the NYU Child Study Center, where I worked with children with various neurodevelopmental disabilities, learning disorders, as well as neurological, psychiatric and other medical conditions. I worked closely with families and schools to help support children with learning problems and also became involved with the pediatric interest group of the NY State Association of Neuropsychology. Understanding children, their ability to learn and function in an academic environment, as well as advocating for their needs has been a longstanding priority. More recently, I have moved to Calgary, Alberta and work as a pediatric neuropsychologist at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, where I work predominantly with medically complex children. In addition to my clinical work, I have become involved in various local and national professional organization, including services on the board and as president of the NY State Association of Neuropsychology. I co-chair the AACN Pediatric Subspecialty Interest Group, am a work sample reviewer for the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology and serve on editorial board of several neuropsychological journals. In addition, I have been involved in various research projects both in New York and in Calgary which have resulted in presentations at national conferences, as well as publications.