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Dr. Emily Helder

Researcher, Clinician, Professor

Associate Professor
Calvin University

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Emily Helder is a Clinical Neuropsychologist and an Associate Professor of Psychology at Calvin University. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with specializations in Neuropsychology and Development, from Wayne State University, and completed her clinical internship at the University of Chicago Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience. Her research focuses on the impact of early neglect, abuse, and other adverse childhood experiences as well as protective factors and interventions that can address these impacts. Her clinical work includes assessment and intervention for children and teens who are adopted or in foster care. She has published over 20 journal articles and book chapters and is the co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Adoption (Routledge, 2020). Her interests also encompass mental health policy and she serves on the Kent County Community Mental Health Board.

Popular Speaking Topics

Adoption and Attachment

After defining attachment and the ways it can be assessed, this talk outlines research and case examples illustrating the attachment outcomes of domestically and internationally adopted children and their families, ending with a discussion of protective factors and relevant interventions.

Young Adult Brain Development

This talk discusses development in areas of the brain involved in social-emotion and behavioral control processing that occur during late adolescence and emerging adulthood, leading to a discussion about ways to foster positive developmental outcomes during this stage. Special topics such as substance use, sleep patterns, and risk for psychopathology are also addressed.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)

In the last 30 years increasing attention has been placed on adversity experienced in childhood, such as abuse, neglect, and parental substance use, and the impact these experiences have on mental and physical health outcomes. This talk highlights important advances in this body of research and ends with emphasis on the importance of prevention and intervention efforts.

Developmental Neurobehavioral Disorders

This talk outlines the causes and treatments for common neurobehavioral disorders of childhood, such as Autism, Tourette Syndrome, and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.


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