Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A. DiTomasso, Ph.D., ABPP

First Advisor

Rosemary Mennuti, Ed.D., Chairperson

Second Advisor

George McCloskey, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Michael A. Comman, Ph.D.


School psychologists must be knowledgeable about brain development to help students in their care. The human brain has the capability to determine a person's happiness, effectiveness, and positive relationships with others. This biographical study examined how a young woman diagnosed with Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum (ACC) and agenesis of the cerebellum came to live a productive, happy life. ACC is a low incidence form of brain damage marked by inconsistent behavioral and emotional manifestations throughout the lifespan. Personal life artifacts, school documents, and medical records were used to help organize her life experiences in the form of a narrative biography. Through listening to her stories and that of her mother, life stages identified with key events were analyzed to help others gain insight into how she experienced her brain damage. The key events, known as epiphanies, that emerged through her life span focused upon: 1) feelings of frustration, and anger when dealing with the medical and school systems, 2) establishing secure attachment through mother and daughter connection, 3) desire for positive connections through supportive relationships to heal, 4) issues regarding educational values of competency, perseverance, and a focus on strengths, 5) issues involving advocacy for the underdog. Relational- cultural theory and resiliency research was used to analyze her stories and create a Model of Relational Resilience in Mother-Daughter Connection. Strategies and new insights into resiliency can be gleaned from this research to help school psychologists, educators, and parents be better equipped to deal with the brain injured.