MED/38 - 10 CFU - 1° Semester

Teaching Staff

Office: Policlinico Universitario, Via S. Sofia, 78 - Edificio 2, Piano 1 (Pediatria)
Phone: 0953781821 - 3385084769
Office Hours: Martedì ore 11.00-13.00 / ogni giorno dietro appuntamento

Learning Objectives

Developmental neurology deals with cognitive, and psychomotor development and related disorders during childhood (i.e., during the developmental age) [with developmental age we mean the period between the prenatal age (i.e., the three phases preceding birth) and the end of the natural process of physical growth and cognitive maturation (which, according to the European standards ends up at age 18 years and by the USA standards ends up at about age 20-22 years)].

Specifically it deals with:

  1. Principles of anatomy, embryology and physiology of the central and peripheral nervous system in children:
  2. Normal psychomotor and behavioural development in children;
  3. Diseases of the nervous system in childhood;
  4. Cognitive and neuropsychological disturbances in childhood;
  5. Psychiatric disease in childhood

The course aims to provide the students with the basic knowledge of child neuropsychiatry and the fundaments of neurological and psychiatric abnormalities during childhood, which is of outmost importance for those dealing with childhood and with the children’s (and adolescents’) world and more in general with their related cognitive and neurological problems.

Course Structure

Traditional oral lessons and bedside/outpatient based laboratories at the Unit for rare Diseases of the Nervous System in Childhood, "AOU Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele", Catania

Oral lessons and bedside/outpatient-based lessons at the Unit for rare Diseases of the Nervous System in Childhood, AOU "Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele", Catania

The oral lessons are mainly performed with slides showing drawings, figures and images (e.g., x-ray images, magnetic resonance images) aimed to explain physiology and pathology re neurological and psychiatric disorders in the developmental age. Further means are drawings on a LEM tablet aimed to explain the basic mechanisms involved in the physiology and patholgoy of systems and organs.

The laboratories consist in practical bedside and oupatient-based lessons aimed to show and demonstrate how the normal and pathological child grows up. These practical laboratories are based at the AOU "Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele" - via s. Sofia, 78 (Policlinico) and via Plebiscito 684 (Vittorio Emanuele) in Catania (Unit for rare Diseases of the Nervous System in Childhood). The Unit include a kindergaden and a primary school for sick and hospitalised children.

Detailed Course Content

So as to provide the students with the basic and fundamental principles of child neuropsychiatry and neurological and psychiatric disorders in childhood the course will deal with basic principles of anatomy and physiology in the developmental age, moving then to the main conditions affecting the overall nervous system and mind illustrating the causes and the basic mechanisms of these disorders, the social impact of the diseases of nervous system and mind during childhood and the main clinical manifestations along with the most important and recent therapeutic strategies.

Thus, the topics will deal with the most frequent conditions affecting children


during development. These topics will represent the most frequent neurological and psychiatric conditions faced by psychologists. In addition the course will include basic notions of nervous system development modalities along with the related neurological, behaviour and cognitive problems.





  1. History of child neurology and psychiatry across the centuries
  2. Basic principles of anatomy of the nervous system
  3. Principles of genetics and heredity
  4. Developmental neurobiology


  1. Normal neonatal and childhood psychomotor development
  2. Neurological examination in children
  3. Cognitive and neurpsychological testing
  4. Neurophysiology


  1. Malformation of the central nervous system
  2. Foetal and neonatal neurology
  3. Epilepsy
  4. Non epileptic paroxysmal events
  5. Neurtopsychological evaluation in epileptic children
  6. Headache and related syndromes
  7. Infantile cerebral palsy
  8. Cerebrovascular disorders
  9. Neuromuscular disorders
  10. Neurometabolic disorders
  11. Neurodegenerative disorders
  12. Movement disorders
  13. Infectious diseases of the central nervous system
  14. Immune-mediate disorders of the nervous system
  15. Neurocutaneous disorders
  16. Spinal cord lesions
  17. Enuresis
  18. Head trauma
  19. Sensorineural deafness and related disorders
  20. Tumours of the nervous system


  1. Cognitive disability and related phenotypes
  2. Language development and deficits
  3. Attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders (ADHD)
  4. Learning disturbances


  1. Personality disorders
  2. Depression
  3. Nutrition disorders
  4. Psychosomatic disorders
  5. Autism and related disorders
  6. Language disorders
  7. Obsessive-compulsive disorders
  8. Anxiety and related disorders
  9. Behavioural disturbances
  10. Infantile schizophrenia
  11. Post-traumatic stress disorders
  12. Gender identity disorders
  13. Attachment disorders
  14. Suicide and related disorders
  15. Munchausen syndrome
  16. Sleep disturbances

Textbook Information

Cain, Dickey, Hogan, Jackson, Minorsky, Reece, Simon, Taylor, Urry, Wassermann: Campbell. Biology: Principles and Links. Genetics, Molecular Biology and Evolution (1st volume); and Human Body (snd volume). Linx, 2017


Rutter M, Bishop D, Pine D, Scott S, Stevenson J, Taylor E, Thaper A. Rutter’s Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 6th ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2016


Ruggieri M – Franzoni E. Neurologia e psichiatria dello sviluppo. Milano: Elsevier/Masson, 2012.



Ruggieri M, in collaboration with Franzoni E, Falsaperla R, Minetti C, Pavone P, Verrotti A. NPavone/Ruggieri - Neurologia Pediatrica. EDRA Edizioni, 2019 (836 pages)

Open in PDF format Versione in italiano