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SPE3055 : Brain and Behaviour across the Lifespan III: Neuropsychology and Psychiatric Disorders

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Laurence White
  • Lecturer: Dr Faye Smith
  • Owning School: Education, Communication & Language Sci
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1.       To provide background knowledge about acquired neurological disorders in children and adults that can result in speech or language impairments
2.       To enhance understanding of the cognitive communication changes that occur in healthy older adults and individuals with various types of dementia
3.       To understand the nature of acquired neuropsychiatric impairments and how these are assessed and how these impact on speech and language performance and therapy.
4.       To gain an understanding of different psychological disorders, their aetiologies and their effects on communication and intervention outcomes.
5.       To understand the impact of communication disorders on psychological and social wellbeing.

In relation to HCPC Standards of Proficiency, this module addresses aspects of the following standards but is not the only module to do so:
5.2 recognise the possible contribution of social, psychological and medical factors to service users’ communication difficulties and swallowing status
13.10 understand psychology as relevant to lifespan development and change, normal and impaired communication and psychological and social wellbeing
13.11 understand sociology in relation to the practice of speech and language therapy, including its application to educational, health and workplace settings and within multi-cultural contexts
14.16 be able to apply knowledge of communication impairment, linguistics, phonetics, psychology and medical sciences to the identification, assessment and differential diagnosis of a range of communication and swallowing disorders
14.9 be able to evaluate the effects of communication difficulties and swallowing status on the psychosocial wellbeing of service users, their families and carers.

Outline Of Syllabus

Cognitive change in normal ageing
Acquired neurological problems in children and adults (including stroke, traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Parkinson’s)
Tumours and infections
Roles of the prefrontal lobes, executive functions and frontal lobe disorders
Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia
Action control and motor control disorders
Seizure disorders
Overview of brain imaging techniques used in diagnosis and to inform treatment of neurological problems
Introduction to concepts in social psychology relevant to communication impairment (including quality of life and the grieving process)
Introduction to psychological/psychiatric disorders relevant to speech and language therapy practice
Introduction to basic concepts in Forensic Psychology relevant to speech and language therapy practice
Classification – issues of ‘normality’
Selective mutism
Depression (including bipolar disorder)
Personality disorders
Neurosis, Psychosis
Introduction to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy workshop

In relation to the RCSLT curriculum guidance, this module focuses on a range of clinical areas including: 1. Acquired cognitive communication disorders arising from dementia 2. Acquired language disorders including aphasia and primary progressive aphasia (PPA) 3. Acquired motor speech disorders 4. Acquired neurological disorders and/or conditions 11. Mental health conditions (adults) and 12. Mental health conditions (children). Within 4.4.2 psychological and social science, there is a focus on theoretical frameworks in psychology, psychological development and change and applications of psychology to speech and language therapy practice. Within 4.4.3 biological and medical sciences, areas covered include neurology, psychiatry, gerontology and oncology.
The module provides opportunities for students to develop key graduate capabilities around the use of the evidence base to support clinical reasoning and practice (4.2.4 A) by applying knowledge of a range of disciplines relevant to speech and language therapy practice.There is also a focus on promoting inclusion and access (4.2.1.B), health promotion (4.2.1C) interprofessional practice and teamworking (4.2.2A) working with service users families and carers (4.2.2B) and advocacy (4.2.2C).

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion155:0055:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture82:0016:008 x two hour lectures on neurology and neuropsychology
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading134:0034:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching91:009:009 one-hour face to face sessions on Mental Health to allow discussion of sensitive topics
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops21:002:001 x one hour session on epilepsy, 1 x one hour session on forensic psychiatry
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops22:004:001x2hr session acquired neurological problems in children.1x2 hr session of cog behavioural therapy
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesWorkshops32:006:003 x two hour sessions on ageing and neurodegenerative conditions
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study174:0074:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Face to face small group sessions to discuss sensitive topics around learning about mental health. Lecture materials and supported reading and research to provide: introduction to and explanation of different neurological disorder complexes; theoretical perspectives on the selected neuropsychology topics; introduction of ageing, introduction of concepts in Clinical and Social Psychology; and student participation in discussing, interpreting, decision making with clinical data.

Workshops are used to support students to apply the knowledge learned in the lectures with the support of the specialist lecturers.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Digital Examination901A75Neurology and Neuropsychology Multiple Choice.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1A25Mental Health essay - 1500 words.
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The multiple choice questions present students with questions about aspects of the pathology, presentation and course of the selected neurological disorders in relation to speech and language; with issues from the theoretical underpinnings of neuropsychological disorders and with case scenarios of neuropsychological impairments to test out understanding of differential diagnostic and assessment issues in the selected disorders.

The essay assessment gives the opportunity for students to deepen their understanding of mental health disorders within a clinical context.

Reading Lists