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Hope Psychology Seminar – Dr. Joni Holmes: The Centre for Attention Learning and Memory (CALM): a transdiagnostic approach to understanding learning difficulties
May 8, 2019 @ 16:00 - 17:00
Up to 15% of the school population are recognised as having special educational
needs (Department for Education, 2017). Understanding why some children struggle
to learn provides the key to advancing the development of targeted intervention and
In the Centre for Attention Learning and Memory (CALM) we
adopt a novel transdiagnostic approach to illuminating the cognitive, neural and
behavioural dimensions of specific learning difficulties in a large heterogeneous
sample of poor learners (N=1000; n=800 atypical, n=200 typical). Children are referred
to CALM by health and education professionals, irrespective of diagnosis or
comorbidity, for problems in attention, memory, language, or poor school progress. We
take a deliberately broad approach to recruitment to capture the full range of struggling learners with complex and comorbid problems, many of who do not have a diagnosis despite their problems being sufficient to require additional support. The children complete an extensive battery of cognitive and learning assessments, undergo a structural MRI scan and provide a DNA sample. Their parents complete mental health
and behaviour questionnaires. Combining these multiple levels of assessment in a
large developmentally at-risk sample is novel and aligns with transdiagnostic
approaches applied to adult psychiatric conditions (e.g. the NIMH Research Domains
Criteria (RDoC) project, Cuthbert & Insel, 2013).
In this talk I will present an overview of the CALM clinic and discuss two approaches to identifying the cognitive dimensions of learning problems in literacy and maths. One uses data reduction methods to identify cognitive factors linked with learning. The second uses machine learning to identify clusters of children with common cognitive profiles, who neural and learning characteristics are then compared.
Venue: Hope Park Sports Building (HPS 106)
Please contact Dr. Nicola Jones ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) for further details