For Families > Care at the CSC > Institute for Learning and Academic Achievement

Institute for Learning and Academic Achievement

Children are often disheartened or demoralized when they find it difficult to read, write, or do math. These stuggles may be signs of a learning disability. Academic difficulties, however, can also result from attentional, fine motor, or language-based weaknesses, or even more complex conditions like Autism. Precocious children advancing ahead in academic work, on the other hand, can sometimes feel stymied as they outpace their peers.

Children's problems can seem like mysteries that can't be solved. Yet, a combination of the proper evaluation tools and sessions with specialized psychologists and learning experts can help to pinpoint the problems and design plans to overcome the challenges.

Finding the right resource for evaluating and diagnosing a child's learning difficulty should not be as frustrating as the learning issue itself. The Institute for Learning and Academic Achievement (ILAA) at the NYU Child Study Center offers a comprehensive, specialized approach to assessing a child's learning strengths and weaknesses, and provides parent, educator, and child-friendly evaluations and integrated strategies for improvement. We provide carefully crafted, personalized evaluations and in-person overviews of our findings, as well as extensive written reports and recommendations distinct from any other program. We also engage in ongoing research, investigating children's behavior and functioning, and utilize the results of this research in our clinical programs.

Our Clinical Services

Our neuropsychologists have extensive experience assessing children with learning disabilities, psychiatric conditions, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, developmental disorders, autism spectrum disorders, brain injuries, and complications of pediatric illnesses. Our assessments are informed by the advances generated and learned through association with a renowned research university and medical school. Working as a team, we collaborate with one another to ensure a full understanding of our clients.


All evaluations are conducted by our highly-skilled neuropsychologists who regularly consult with our multidisciplinary team of child and adolescent psychiatrists and psychologists, as well as educational specialists, occupational therapists, and speech and language pathologists.

Cognitive tests are administered in order to develop an overall profile, which includes measures of intellectual performance, language abilities, and academic achievement. In addition, neuropsychological tests are included that assess the child's competence in basic cognitive abilities, which are known to be at the foundation of learning. These tests examine attention and concentration, visual-spatial, visual-motor, and visual-perceptual skills, auditory processing, sensorimotor functioning, phonological awareness, learning and memory, and executive functioning. Social, emotional, and behavioral issues are also taken into consideration and evaluated if they are areas of concern.

Both quantitative and qualitative analyses are used to examine the information gathered throughout the evaluation process and through behavioral questionnaires complete by the child and his or her parent and teachers. These evaluations are helpful in addressing questions concerning:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Intellectual deficits
  • Language disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders
  • Complications associated with emotional and behavioral disorders
  • Concussion and other brain injuries
  • Seizure disorders
  • Complications of medical and neurological conditions
  • Giftedness

Follow-up Treatment

The NYU Child Study Center's neuropsychologists go beyond the traditional assessments by reviewing and discussing results with parents, educators, and the child. By working together, recommendations are made, an effective plan is developed and practical solutions are found. Our evaluators meet with the child and his or her parents and school to delineate a concrete plan to achieve the desired results. General recommendations are fine-tuned for a child's home environment and school situation to ensure easy and successful implementation.

For more information or to schedule an appointment please contact an intake coordinator at (646) 754-5000 or e-mail us at

Our Clinicians

Daniela Montalto, Ph.D., Clinical Director
Kirsten Cullen Sharma, Psy.D.
Richard Gallagher, Ph.D.
Denise Phalon Cascio, Psy.D.
Elizabeth Roberts, Psy.D.
Melissa B. Vaccari, Ph.D.
Marsha Vasserman, Psy.D.


Our faculty is available for community public education presentations for parents, school personnel, health care providers, and community organizations. Please email for more information or to schedule a speaker.