Shelley Heaton, Ph.D.

Clinical Associate Professor
(Ph.D. 2001, University of California San Diego)

Co-Director of the Pediatric Brain Injury Program

Office: 352-273-5269

Link to PHHP Research Profile

Full CV


Dr. Shelley Heaton is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical & Health Psychology at the University of Florida (UF), where she mentors doctoral students, teaches, engages in collaborate research, and maintains a busy clinical practice and provides specialized training in pediatric neuropsychology. Dr. Heaton is active in professional service, both nationally and locally. She has been a Consulting Editor to the Child Neuropsychology journal since 2006, and has served Division 40 of the American Psychological Association (APA) in several capacities over the past 10 years. Dr. Heaton has also provided valuable service to the UF community through her work with the Disability Resource Center and the McNair Scholarship Program. Dr. Heaton also directs a Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Program at the University of Florida, which provides clinical services and conducts scientific research with youth recovering from TBI.  She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2001 from the University of California San Diego after completing an internship in neuropsychology at the University of Florida.  Her areas of clinical and scientific interest include: Pediatric Neuropsychology, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Across the Lifespan, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Pediatric Brain Tumors and Cancer, Attention and Memory Impairments in Childhood Conditions, Measurement Issues Pertaining to Cognition, and Forensic Pediatric Neuropsychology.

Research Focus

Dr. Heaton is an avid collaborator on a variety of internally and externally funded research studies, providing expertise on neuropsychological measurement across the lifespan. Her research endeavors have been quite diverse (ranging from her early work studying the neuropsychology of adult schizophrenia to her ongoing independent research examining cognitive and behavioral outcomes after pediatric traumatic brain injury). During her time at UF, Dr. Heaton’s research has primarily focused on novel ways to measure cognitive functioning (“outcome”) after neurological insult, studying short and long-term outcomes after traumatic brain injury across the lifespan, and examining the relationship between attention, executive and memory functions in pediatric conditions. Aside from her independent research and collaborations with many professions within Shands & UF Hospital and the UF Health Science Center, Dr. Heaton also has provided research mentorship to more than three dozen UF undergraduate students conducting senior honor’s theses and doctoral students within the Department of Clinical & Health Psychology.

Clinical Focus

Dr. Heaton conducts pediatric neuropsychological assessments for youth across a broad range of ages (6 months of age through early adulthood) and referral reasons. Many of her pediatric neuropsychology assessment referrals come from the Shands & UF Hospital departments of Pediatric Neurology and Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, other pediatric medical specialties, as well as frequent referrals from pediatricians and health providers in the community.

Dr. Heaton values interdisciplinary work in serving the needs of youth experiencing neurocognitive difficulties. As such, she serves as a clinical member of two important multidisciplinary pediatric programs at the University of Florida: the UF ADHD Program directed by Dr. Siddiqi (which provides services to children diagnosed with ADHD), and the UF Multidisciplinary Diagnostic & Treatment Program (MDTP) directed by Dr. Slinger (which provides services to youth experiencing complex learning and academic difficulties).

In addition to her diverse outpatient pediatric neuropsychology assessment practice, Dr. Heaton is responsible for all Shands Hospital inpatient consultations and neurocognitive assessments for youth (birth to age 21) who are being treated for acute severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) as part of the Shands & UF Hospital Level I Trauma Center and Florida Brain & Spinal Cord Injury Program. Dr. Heaton also oversees psychological services for children undergoing inpatient treatment for cancer, tumors, and sickle cell anemia through the Pediatric Hematology & Oncology service at Shands Hospital.

In addition to neuropsychological assessment, Dr. Heaton provides clinical supervision to psychology doctoral students and interns providing psychotherapy services to a very broad range of clients of varying ages and presenting problems, including therapy with children, adolescents, adults, families and couples. Furthermore, Dr. Heaton has developed and directed a 10 week Social Skills Group Therapy program for children diagnosed with attention deficits and experiencing social skills difficulties.

Current Grants

2009-Current       Project Title: Phase 3 Trial of Coenzyme Q10 in children with genetic mitochondrial diseas
Project Type: FDA Clinical Trial    Role: Consultant (PI: Dr. Stacpoole)

2009-Current      Project Title: Chronic Kidney Disease in Children (CKiD) Prospective Cohort Stud
Project Type: NIH Epidemiological Grant               Role: Consultant (PI: Dr. Dharnidharka)

2006-2012            Project Title: Biochemical Markers of Traumatic Brain
Funding Agency: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINSD)
Project Type: NIH-R01      Total Funding: $5.8 mill.    Role: Investigator (PI: Dr. Robicsek)

Professional Memberships

  • Children’s Oncology Group (COG) – Associate Member
  • American Psychological Association – Division 40
  • International Neuropsychological Society
  • Florida Brain Injury Association
  • International Neurotrauma Society

Courses Taught

(Graduate Level)

  • Clinical Assessment Across the Lifespan
  • Child Neuropsychology
  • TBI Across the Lifespan: Assessment and Management
  • Human Higher Cortical Functions
  • Neuropsychology Symposium Series

(Undergraduate Level)

  • Statistical Methods in Psychology

Representative Publications

  1. Waid-Ebbs, J.K., Wen, P.S., Heaton, S.C., Donovan, N.J. & Velozo, C. (in press, June 2012). The Item level psychometrics of the Behavior Rating Index of Executive Function-Adult (BRIEF-A) in a TBI Sample. Brain Injury.
  2. Cohen, M., Heaton, S.C., Ginn, N., & Eyberg, S. (2011). Parent-Child Interaction Therapy as a Family-Oriented Approach to Behavioral Management Following Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury: A Case Report. Journal of Pediatric Psychology. doi: 10.1093/jpepsy/jsr086
  3. Donovan, N.J., Heaton, S.C., Kimberg, C.I., Wen, P., Waid-Ebbs, K., Coster, W., Singletary, F., & Velozo, C.A. (2011). Conceptualizing Functional Cognition in Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitation. Brain Injury, 25(4): 348-364.
  4. Heaton, S.C. (2010). A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the World of Neuropsychological Rehabilitation (Invited Book Review). Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 16: 1-6.
  5. Papa, L., Akinyi, L., Liu, M.C., Pineda, J.A., Tepas, J.J., Oli, M.W., Zheng, W., Robinson, G., Robicsek, S.A., Gabrielli, A., Heaton, S.C., Hannay, J., Demery, J.A., Brophy, G.M., Layon, J., Robertson, C., Hayes, R.L. and Wang, K.W. (2010) Ubiquitin C-terminal hydrolase is a novel biomarker in humans for severe traumatic brain injury. Critical Care Medicine, 38(1): 138-144.
  6. Brophy, G.M., Pineda, J.A., Papa, L., Lewis, S.B., Valadka, A.B., Hannay, H.J., Heaton, S.C., Demery, J.A., Liu, M.C., Tepas, J.J., Gabrielli, A., Robicsek, S. Wang, K.W., Robertson, C.S. and Hayes, R.L. (2009). αII-Spectrin Breakdown Product Cerebrospinal Fluid Exposure Metrics Suggest Differences in Cellular Injury Mechanisms after Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, 26: 1-9.
  7. Preston, A.S., Heaton, S.C., McCann, S.J., Watson, W.D., Selke, G. (2009). The role of multidimensional attentional abilities in academic skills of children with ADHD. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 42(3): 240-249.
  8. Donovan, N. J., Kendall, D.L., Heaton, S. C., Kwon, S., Velozo, C.A., & Duncan, P.W. (2008). Conceptualizing Functional Cognition in Stroke. Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair, 22(2), 122-135.
  9. Pineda, J.A., Lewis, S.B., Valadka, A.B., Papa, L., H., Hannay, J.H., Heaton, S.C., Liu, M.C., Aikman, J.M., Akle, V., Tepas, J.J., Wang, K., Robertson, C.S., Hayes, R.L. (2007). Clinical significance of αII-Spectrin Breakdown Products in CSF after Severe Traumatic Brain Injury. Journal of Neurotrauma, 24(2), 354-366.
  10. Heaton, S. C., Reader, S. K., Preston, A. S., Fennell, E., Puyana, O. E., Gill, N., Johnson, J. H.  (2001). The Test of Everyday Attention for Children (TEA-Ch): Patterns of Performance in Children with ADHD and Clinical Controls. Child Neuropsychology, 7(4), 251-264.