Neuro doctor keen to start work

'LIKE a kid in a candy store' is how Jim Donnelly describes his move to Southern Cross University's Coffs Harbour campus and the opportunities to combine research and clinical practice in neuropsychology and psychophysiology.

After three years as the head of neuropsychology and psychology at the Sydney Children's Hospital in Randwick, Dr Donnelly said he was looking forward to teaching and developing collaborative local research programs, studying brain functioning in children and older adults.

Dr Donnelly is hoping to combine his research activities with a private clinical practice in Coffs Harbour for children who have had a brain injury or tumour.

“I bring some specialised skills for assessing brain functioning, called neuropsychological assessment,” he said.

“Frequently people in regional areas have to go elsewhere to get this type of testing done.”

Dr Donnelly said the assessments could also be used for children who might have a medical condition, such as epilepsy.

“You want to do a customised battery of tests and include input from parents and teachers to understand the child's strengths and relative weaknesses. I try to come up with a cognitive rehabilitation program that allows them to cope more effectively at home or at school,” he said.

“Similarly, I work with older adults who are having trouble with their memory or attention.”

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