Adding further to its expanding scope of pediatric and neurological services, NYU Lutheran Medical Center is now making it easier for families to identify and treat neurological and psychological issues that could impair childhood development.
The development of the brain in childhood has lifelong effects on overall health and wellbeing, including cognition, learning ability, behavior, and social skills. When an injury involving the brain or the possibility of a developmental delay is presented early in life, it needs to be identified and treated to prevent future problems into adulthood.
Gianna Locascio, PsyD, NYU Lutheran’s new pediatric neuropsychologist, has devoted her career to helping families identify these conditions and develop appropriate treatment plans for a healthy future.
“When I evaluate a child, I create a neurocognitive profile to identify strengths and weaknesses in all areas of cognitive function,” says Locascio. Specifically, she looks at intellect, attention, concentration, memory, motor coordination, personality, language skills, and other factors. Planning, organizing, and shifting attention from one task to another efficiently also are key areas she assesses.
Once an evaluation is completed, Locascio often refers patients to an appropriate, conveniently located therapist or specialist within NYU Langone, and continues to monitor the child’s progress through development. Over time, she may update her comprehensive recommendations to maximize the child’s functioning at home and in social, community, and academic settings.
“The key to providing comprehensive care is to ensure that the patient is healthy and thriving in a range of areas,” says Steven L. Galetta, MD, the Philip K. Moskowitz, MD, Professor and chair of the Department of Neurology at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Monitoring progress and adjusting care recommendations based on lifestyle changes is important in all medical practices, but particularly neurological care. Dr. Locascio is a valuable addition to NYU Langone’s neuropsychological testing services and will play an important role in the comprehensive approach at NYU Lutheran.”
Locascio specializes in cognitive issues related to traumatic brain injury, concussion, stroke, epilepsy and seizure disorders, brain tumors, encephalitis, cerebral palsy, sickle cell disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety, depression, Down syndrome, autism spectrum disorder, spina bifida, and other childhood and adolescent disorders.
Her passion for pediatric neuropsychology is rooted in her love of science and desire to help young people develop into healthy adults. “It’s very rewarding to work with children and adolescents,” she says. “There are so many ways to help maximize function. I have seen patients go on to extraordinary progress.”
Locascio is the only pediatric neuropsychologist in Brooklyn board certified in both clinical neuropsychology and pediatric neuropsychology. An undergraduate alumna of Lafayette College, she earned her master’s degree and doctorate from Rutgers University with dual concentration in school psychology and neuropsychology. She completed a fellowship in neuropsychology at Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.