Combined Bachelor's + Master's degree in Medicine and Surgery

Child development: a neurodevelopmental approach  (Corso Elettivo)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Alessandro Simonati
Alessandro Simonati
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
Corsi elettivi 1° semestre dal Oct 9, 2017 al Dec 21, 2017.

Lesson timetable

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Learning outcomes

Main goal of the course is to introduce the students to the principles of child development, as well as to supply them with tools to learn about development of cognitive, emotional and social functions. That represents the theoretical background necessary to learn about main issues related to Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Intellectul Disability. Aims of the course are: neurobiological foundations of central nervous system development; its relationship of the onset of motor, cognitive, social and emotional functions; developmental trajectories from birth to school-age. The role and influences of enviromental (including familiar) elements during the process of function maturiation and competence acquisition. Developmental features of children during the first year of life, the pre-school and school-age will be outlined. Major neurodevelopmental disorders will be described, outlining the main clinical features, the diagnostic approaches and the differential treatments available.


1. A-Principles of Development: a. determinism in development: genetic determination and species-specificity; b. factors influencing developmental trajectories: intrinsic factors (e.g. CNS structures organization and connectivity) vs extrinsic factors (pre- and post-natal enviromental cues).
B-Development of CNS Structures as Biological Foundation of Neurological and Psychological functions; Role of the Environment-development of neuromuscular structures, of sensory organs, of CNS;-pre- and post-natal development of functions;-relationship between CNS development, functional activities and enviroment as to the maturation of competences -the mature brain from functional standpoints: the cognitive brain, the social brain, the emotional brain.
2. The concept of Mind. Definition of Function as compared to Competence: Movement, Cognition, Social Activities and Communication; Emotion and their recognition, Play abilities.
3.Timeline of Child Development:
a1. Normal development from Birth to Pre-School Age. a2. Issues related to abnormal development
b1. The School Age: Learning and Cognition. b2. Learning Difficulties; Psychopathological Issues.
4. Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Delayed Motor Acquisition; Intellectual Disabilities; Autism Spectrum Disorder; Communication Disorders.

Assessment methods and criteria

Frequence based evaluation: attendance at 2/3 of the course is mandatory to obtain credit.
Schedule: Starting on November 15th 2018, 5.30 pm; further lessons on weekly basis
Site: auletta di Neuropatologia; Neurologia B; Policlinico GB Rossi
Suggested courses: students of IVth-Vth-VIth year
#students: 30


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