HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Madrid, Spain or Virtually from your home or work.
David J Sperbeck, Speaker at Pediatrics Conferences
North Star Behavioral Health Hospital, United States


Three groups of psychiatrically hospitalized children (N=813) ages 9-17 years old were comprehensively evaluated for executive functioning development.  Included in this study were children (n-295) with confirmed prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE), children diagnosed with an acquired neurocognitive impairment but no suspected history of PAE (n=201), and children without suspected neurocognitive impairment (n=317).  Neuropsychological testing results demonstrated significant delays in children with PAE and children with acquired cognitive impairments with no history of PAE as compared to children with no history of PAE or acquired cognitive impairments.  Cross-sectional analysis by age demonstrated that although executive functioning delays modestly improved with age, the cognitive impairments and delayed performance observed persisted over time with PAE children and these children never fully caught up with their non-alcohol exposed peers.  Implications for intervention and rehabilitation strategies will be discussed.   

Audience Take Away

  • Audience members will be able to provide their patients with specific details regarding the magnitude and duration of neurocognitive impairments that result from exposing the prenatal fetus to neurotoxins such as alcohol
  • Audience members will be presented a definition and functional analysis of cerebral executive functioning and its contribution to the developing child’s overall intellectual, behavioral, and emotional growth
  • Audience members will be introduced to neuropsychological tests that have been determined to be statistically unbiased (gender and ethnicity) measures of executive functioning.
  • Audience members will be introduced to recommendations for future research into the assessment and treatment of executive functioning disorders in cognitively impaired children


David J. Sperbeck earned his Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in 1982.  He completed his neuropsychology residency at the V.A. Medical Center in Bath, N.Y. prior to being appointed Chief Forensic and Clinical Neuropsychologist at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute, positions he held from 1982-2005.  Dr. Sperbeck served as Chief of Pediatric Neuropsychology at the North Star Behavioral Health Hospital in Anchorage from 2005-2019.  Dr. Sperbeck held the position of Full Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine from 1985-2019.  He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Neuropsychology and authored more than 150 professional papers in the areas of neuropsychological and forensic psychological assessment, threat assessment, and neurocognitive development across the lifespan.