Psychology Faculty Visit Padua

Imele Ajala

Following a successful summer seminar on Neuroscience in June 2015, Webster University Geneva psychology adjunct faculty Megan Paterson-Brown and Chitra Subrahmanian were invited to visit Dr Giuseppe Cossu at his developmental neuropsychiatry clinic at the Centro Medico di Foniatria in Padua, Italy. The purpose of the visit was to learn more about Dr. Cossu’s work in the field of developmental neurobiology as well as to strengthen ties and develop ongoing collaborations between the two institutions.

Dr G. Cossu is the head of the child neuropsychiatry clinic at the Centro Medico di Foniatria and Director of the School of Specialization in Pediatrics at the University of Parma. His specializations include pediatric neurology and infant neuropsychology. During the 3-day visit, the Webster faculty were privileged to receive a crash course in Dr Cossu’s model of a multidisciplinary approach to working with developmental disorders of childhood, such as autism and developmental dyslexia. His wholistic and useful model makes enormous sense, but is unfortunately not the norm. The centre is unique not only in Italy, but perhaps also in Europe, for its in-depth approach, involving the family and school, as well. The crux of this model is to recognize and build on the competencies each child already has in order to design appropriate pathways to overcome his/her disability. Diagnosis is thorough and based on state of the art knowledge of neurophysiology and neuropsychology. The family is involved and managed every step of the way.

Webster adjuncts Megan Paterson-Brown and Chitra Subrahamanian also had the opportunity to meet the clinic psychologists and watch a speech therapist work with a 6 year old girl who had previously been completely unable to communicate. After 18 months of treatment at the clinic, this young girl was able to sign, sound out words, write and read simple sentences.