Objective: Learning disorders (LDs) are generally not considered mental health problems, despite being included as Neurodevelopmental Disorders in the DSM-V. Students with LDs typically receive exclusively educational interventions, and their broader neuropsychological needs are ignored. In this presentation, we discuss first the wide range of neurocognitive, behavioral, and emotional deficits that are implicit in LDs. Second, we review public health data on comorbidities of LDs with other childhood diagnoses and trends in epidemiologic data collection. Third, we introduce Homework Therapy (HT), a neuropsychological treatment modality for people with learning disorders that integrates psychotherapy with cognitive remediation and special education services. In HT, neuropsychologists take into account learners' neuropsychological profiles in order to capitalize on students' strengths that, when tapped, can help overcome areas of neurodevelopmental weaknesses. We will present two case studies. Participants will work in groups to identify and critique the major theoretical components in the cases (i.e. rapport, alliance, resistance, change, and transference and countertransference reactions). Participants will also have time to consider how this modality may be applicable in their practices and will develop treatment plans for potential patients. This topic is particularly relevant in the context of broader discussions about the future of neuropsychology. Neuropsychologists have been called upon to provide interventions in addition to diagnoses to improve the cognitive care of clients. Just as clinicians who work with adult populations must be competent in maximizing clients' vocational success by understanding neurodegenerative diseases, clinicians who work with pediatric populations must be competent in maximizing clients' academic success by understanding neurodevelopmental disorders.
Understanding and Treating Learning Disorders
Arch Clin Neuropsychol (2015) 30 (6): 562.
25 August 2015