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Diagnosing Learning Disorders


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Table of Contents

I. Scientific Foundations
1. How Learning Disorders Develop
2. Etiology of Learning Disorders
3. Brain Mechanisms of Learning Disorders
4. Neuropsychological Constructs
5. Comorbidity
6. Specific Learning Disorder: DSM-5 and Beyond
7. Evidence-Based Practice in Assessment
8. Understanding Achievement Gaps
II. Reviews of Disorders
9. Speech and Language Disorders
10. Reading Disability (Dyslexia)
11. Mathematics Disorder
12. Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
13. Autism Spectrum Disorder
14. Intellectual Disability

About the Author

Bruce F. Pennington, PhD, is Distinguished University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver. He has conducted extensive research on learning disorders and their comorbidity, using genetic and neuropsychological methods. Dr. Pennington is a recipient of 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 Memorial Lecture from the British Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health. Lauren M. McGrath, PhD, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver. Her expertise is in child clinical psychology, developmental neuropsychology, and psychiatric and behavioral genetics. Dr. McGrath's research focuses on children with learning disabilities along two main themes: comorbidity between learning and behavioral disorders, and genetic risk factors and gene-environment interactions. Robin L. Peterson, PhD, ABPP, is a pediatric neuropsychologist and Assistant Clinical Professor at Children's Hospital Colorado/University of Colorado School of Medicine. She has clinical and research interests in learning disorders, pediatric traumatic brain injury (including concussion), and spina bifida. Dr. Peterson is board certified in clinical neuropsychology.


"In this third edition, Pennington has done it again, distilling vast clinical experience and encyclopedic knowledge to synthesize and clarify the often confusing literature on learning disorders. This substantially updated volume is a 'must read' for educators, students, and researchers. It presents state-of-the-art findings in a range of areas and discusses their clinical implications, including which current beliefs and practices they might call into question. Readers will benefit from the multiple perspectives on each disorder and the linkages to diagnosis and treatment, complete with very pertinent case presentations."--Sally E. Shaywitz, MD, Audrey G. Ratner Professor in Learning Development and Co-Director, Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity, Yale University

"I have had earlier editions of this book on my shelf for over 25 years--and have recommended it as essential reading more times than I can count. Several new chapters and extensive updates of the rest make the third edition almost entirely new. Recent advances in the genetics and neuroscience of learning disorders are translated into clear clinical recommendations on history taking, behavioral observation, evaluation methods, diagnosis, and treatment. The volume has been updated with DSM-5 formulations and the most current assessment techniques. This is the authoritative reference for practitioners who evaluate and treat children with learning disorders, and should be mandatory reading for all trainees. You will want to keep this book close at hand!"--Sally Ozonoff, PhD, Endowed Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, MIND Institute, University of California, Davis

"This is a dream book that will satisfy anyone interested in learning disorders. It teaches us how to look at, think about, and provide support to children with these conditions. While the reader can skip around to read sections of interest, the sections also build on each other. The third edition brings together the latest advances in genetics, brain mechanisms, and developmental neuropsychology. Rather than being an incremental update, it is nearly completely new. There are new chapters on comorbidity, evidence-based assessment, DSM-5 diagnosis, and more. This is one of those rare books on learning disorders that is comprehensive and unbiased. I will recommend this third edition to researchers, practitioners, and students, and I will certainly use it in my teaching. I am confident that this work will continue to be a 'bible' in the field."--Fumiko Hoeft, MD, PhD, Professor of Psychological Sciences and Director, Brain Imaging Research Center, University of Connecticut; Adjunct Professor, Dyslexia Center, University of California, San Francisco

"Pennington and colleagues have delivered just what the field needs--here is a scholarly and comprehensive yet clear and accessible account of major learning disabilities and common neurodevelopmental conditions. The third edition will be a vital resource for students and clinicians interested in current diagnostic knowledge and clinical best practices pertaining to learning disorders."--Joel T. Nigg, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, Oregon Health and Science University

"This book is a 'must have' for any professional who assesses children for learning disorders. This third edition features several new chapters and has been extensively updated to include the most current scientific methods and DSM-5 diagnostic information. The information in this book is a valuable resource that practitioners will want to return to every time they evaluate a child."--Michelle K. Hosp, PhD, Special Education Program, University of Massachusetts Amherst

"This book provides a thorough review of current neuropsychological research for various forms of learning disorders....The book would fit well in a university classroom setting to prepare practitioners with a solid base of research to support accurate differential diagnosis work in the schools." (on the second edition)--NASP Communique, 10/20/2010

"Pennington's book is not only highly recommended to anyone working with children having disabilities, but also highly recommended for students in training. The book covers a broad range of issues that are of essential importance in effective practice....Pennington's delicate balance of covering a large number of topics and disorders with sufficient breadth and depth, with appeal to both researchers and practitioners, makes [this] one of the most valuable books available on the topic." (on the second edition)--Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 3/10/2009

"Compelling because of the author's major contributions and long active presence in the field. His experience uniquely enables him to integrate the past with present research findings and practice....I recommend this for the intended audience (practitioners, researchers, and students), and also for already informed parents who wish to learn more about their child's condition." (on the second edition)--Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 9/15/2010

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