2019 Fall and 2020 Spring Opportunities for Children and Their Families at the UCF Children’s Learning Clinic


The Children’s Learning Clinic (CLC) is a child specialty clinic located in the clinical suite of the Psychology Building on the University of Central Florida’s main Orlando campus. The CLC provides pro bono (no cost) comprehensive diagnostic, intellectual, educational achievement (including reading and math), and neurocognitive assessment evaluation services for families of children (boys and girls) between 8 and 12 years of age (a) who are suspected of or already diagnosed as having attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), OR (b) who are typically developing children without any known clinical disorder and not of gifted intelligence. Families of children with ADHD or suspected ADHD who recruit a typically developing child’s family to participate in our comprehensive evaluations at no cost receive top priority for our services.

Our current priority is to recruit 5 children (primarily males) between 8 and 12 years of age who are considered ‘typically developing’, which means that they are well functioning children without any known clinical disorder, and NOT of gifted intelligence. Parents who volunteer their children to participate in our Saturday sessions (or during the week if home schooled) will receive a free comprehensive report regarding their child’s intellectual ability and educational achievement based on national norms, as well as detailed recommendations on how to best maximize their child’s ability to learn. 

Procedure overview: We send out a packet of standardized parent and teacher rating scales to be completed and use this information to determine whether a child is eligible to receive our comprehensive evaluation. Children who are suspected on having ADHD and children who are not suspected of having any clinical disorder (we refer to them as ‘typically developing children’) are eligible to participate provided they are between 8 and 12 years of age. We also provide a pre-screening to estimate intelligence because children with ‘gifted’ level intelligence are ineligible to participate.

We begin our evaluations by completing a structured interview with the child parent(s) which includes detailed developmental, medical, educational, social, and psychiatric histories, and a comprehensive clinical interview that reviews the myriad clinical disorders of childhood. We complete these regardless of whether a child is a ‘typically developing child’ without any previously diagnosed clinical disorder or learning disability or has received a clinical diagnosis from another professional.

Children meeting our initial screening criteria based on the developmental history and clinical interview described above (i.e., either ADHD or typically developing) are scheduled for a series of sessions (usually 1-week apart) at the CLC during which time they are administer a standardized, full-scale intellectual (WISC-5) and educational achievement (KTEA) battery (note: parents are normally charged approximately $1200 to $1500 for this battery alone in the private sector, but we provide it at no cost). Children also complete a computerized neurocognitive battery that assesses attention span, behavioral inhibition (to assess impulsivity), reading speed (to assess verbal fluency/processing), reaction time (to assess motor speed), phonological and visuospatial working memory (WM) tasks, and WM span measures to identify the presence of any problems related to the ‘holding,’ ‘rehearsal’ or ‘processing’ components of WM. We also assess children’s activity level using sophisticated actigraphs that measure movement 16 times per second throughout the evaluation. The only ‘research’ part of our evaluations entails children’s participation in our comprehensive neurocognitive assessment that involves a functional near infra-red spectroscopy (fNIRS) system. This is a non-invasive neuroimaging device that uses harmless light which enables us to localize and quantify brain-based activity associated with particular executive functions such as working memory. Children complete a brief series of executive function tasks while wearing a mesh, lightweight cap. Multiple light emitters and detectors are connected to the cap, which are used to detect changes in blood flow in the prefrontal cortex while children complete the different executive function tasks. Children cannot see or feel the emitted light–it is very similar to the light you would see if you hold a laser pen to your finger. There are multiple advantages associated with the fNIRS neuroimaging system—it can accommodate children’s movement while completing cognitive tasks, it is non-intrusive, painless, and highly accurate in localizing brain-based activity associated with different cognitive functions. This system allows us to better understand the neuro-circuitry underlying important executive functions in children—particularly children with deficits in these areas—and to design new cognitive training exercises to strengthen these areas.

All of the tasks/tests described above are presented in a ‘game-like’ fashion and presented on a computer, and we schedule multiple breaks (snack, inside basketball, racing hand controlled cars outside) with the children, which is why the multi-week evaluations require approximately 3 hours each week (parents do not have to stay at UCF at these times as long as we have a cell phone and know how much time to allow you to return to campus).

Finally, Dr. Rapport debriefs all families approximately three weeks following the conclusion of the child’s participation, and parents are provided a full, comprehensive written report of all results and recommendations at no cost.

Please contact the CLC (407/823-5773) or Dr. Rapport (mdrapport@gmail.com) if you would like additional information about our comprehensive assessment program and our on-going services and studies. You can also read about the Children’s Learning Clinic, its past findings and services, and a brief autobiography about Dr. Rapport by logging on to our website (www.childrenslearningclinic.com).