Improve Your Reach as a Board Certified Cognitive Specialist

Certification Recognizing Professionals with Specialist Level Training in the Field of Cognitive Disorders

Internationally Recognized Certification for Healthcare Professioinals Working with Individuals with Cognitive Disorders

Our Board Certified Cognitive Specialist (BCCS) is defined as a professional who is responsible for the support and/or services provided to an individual with cognitive disorders that directly relates to the professionals’ specific scope of practice. A BCCS is recognized around the globe as a professional who has exceeded expectations to acquire the latest knowledge and researched based skills required to successfully serve individuals with cognitive disorders.

Certification Requirements

  • Masters Degree in education or related field and 2 years’ experience. (OR Bachelor’s degree and 10 years of experience)
  • 14 CEUs obtained through our online training
  • BCCS Competency Exam taken online and included in price of your BCCS Application

Who Should Apply

  • Physicians
  • Hospital Administrators
  • Healthcare Center Directors
  • Nurses
  • Clinic Owners
  • Veterans Services
  • Occupational Therapists
  • Physical Therapists
  • Speech & Language Pathologists
  • Cognitive Specialists
  • Clinicians
  • Mental Health Professionals
  • Chiropractors

  • Currently employed in a setting that requires interaction with individuals with cognitive disorders
  • 14 CEUs obtained through our online training
  • CCC Competency Exam taken online and included in price of your CCC Application

Who Should Apply

  • Receptionists
  • Medical Billing Clerks
  • Office Managers
  • LPNs
  • ABA Therapists
  • Registered Behavior Therapist
  • Volunteers

The training associated with the BCCS program is phenomenal. It gave my staff the confidence they need to better serve our patient census.
Matthew – Clinical Director, Miami, FL

Effects of Cognitive Disorders on Healthcare

Individual Benefits

Our certification will:

  • Expose you to the latest cognitive research as it pertains to your scope of influence
  • Earn you continuing education credits towards your professional licensure
  • Help you acquire new knowledge and skills to better serve your patients
  • Enhance your professional reputation and creditability
  • Recognize you for your mastery of specialist level training
  • List you on our public registry as a Board Certified Cognitive Specialist

Clinic Benefits

Having Board Certified Cognitive Specialists on your staff:

  • Helps your clinicians better serve patients with cognitive disorders
  • Differentiates healthcare facility from your competitors.
  • Demonstrates your commitment to ongoing training in cognitive disorders to patients and clients.
  • Improves your grant qualifications.
  • Assists in demonstrating compliance with continuing education requirements

11 Areas of Cognitive Competency (Healthcare)

The IBCCES Board of Directors has approved 11 areas of cognitive competency for the Board Certified Cognitive Specialist program. Click the icons below to learn more about each competency, or click here to find out more.

Social Skills and Patient Interaction

  • Patient Centered Care
  • The difference between how you give care versus how your patients naturally experience care
  • Improving clinician-patient communication leading to better understanding, improved compliance and better patient outcomes
  • Using credentials and certifications to help communicate with patients and other caregivers
  • Developing soft skills to improve patient communication

Mental Health

  • Suicide
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia Disorder
  • OCD
  • Family Services
  • Psychiatric Treatments
  • Substance Abuse
  • PTSD

Diagnosing and Identification

  • Changes made to DSM-5
  • How to define cognitive disorders in the healthcare system
  • Evolution of DSM for teaching psychopathology
  • DSM-5 New Features in Each Diagnosis

Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Dementia

  • Breakthrough research and technology that reduces caregiver burdens
  • Advanced real-time brain imaging that helps support the care team
  • Effective management strategies for families and caregiver teams
  • Accurately diagnosing Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Parkinson’s with detailed 3-D brain imaging.
  • The Power of Inclusion


  • Sensory awareness
  • Medical and health considerations
  • Reducing the Stigmatism
  • Identifying discernable markers for ASD during the first year of life and in early childhood
  • Coaching social and verbal communication skills in the clinical setting
  • Effective strategies for communication
  • Autism and girls
  • Accurately diagnosing Autism with detailed 3-D brain imaging.

Stroke and Cognition

  • Advances in vascular neurosurgery that help to treat stroke
  • Addressing caregiver burdens and strategies
  • Rebuilding neuro pathways after a stroke
  • Effective strategies to manage Behavior Changes

Executive Function Skills

  • Sustained Attention
  • Response Inhibition
  • Speed of Information Processing
  • Cognitive Flexibility
  • Multiple Simultaneous Attention
  • Working Memory
  • Category Formation
  • Pattern Recognition
  • How improving Executive Function skills can help improve patient outcomes


  • Exploring the three classifications, or types of ADHD found in today’s classroom: “Inattentive ADHD,” “Hyperactive ADHD” and “Combined ADHD”
  • Accurately diagnosing ADHD with detailed 3-D brain imaging.

Ethics and Personal Rights

  • HIPAA Requirements
  • Connection between values and ethics
  • Addressing ethical dilemmas
  • Boundaries between informed consent and self- disclosure
  • Boundaries between confidentiality, duty to warn, and mandatory reporting

Assisted Technology

  • How robots can assist patients with cognitive disorders
  • Using sophisticated brain games to enhance cognitive functions for patients with cognitive disorders
  • Using technology to asses executive functions skills
  • Using brain imaging that allows clinicians to make real-time decisions

Research in the Clinical Setting

  • Advances in neurosurgical procedures that help treated and prevent cognitive disorders
  • Stimulating dendrite growth for patients with cognitive disorders
  • Bone Conduction therapy to increase attention and focus
  • New 3-D brain imaging that will help accurately diagnose cognitive disorders and help clinicians create an effective treatment plan

Within the 11 areas of competencies listed above, the following topics for healthcare professionals will be covered in the online training modules.

  • Ethics
  • Patient communication
  • Stroke and cognition
  • Use of credentials and certifications
  • Soft skills
  • Suicide
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Schizophrenia disorder
  • OCD
  • Family services
  • Psychiatric treatments
  • Substance abuse
  • Diagnosis and DSM-5
  • Identifying and defining cognitive disorders
  • Best practices
  • Dementia
  • Apply multiple intelligences theory
  • Incorporating life skills
  • Parkinson’s
  • Behavior management
  • Sensory awareness
  • Reducing stigmatism
  • Identifying ASD
  • Coaching social and verbal communication skills
  • Accurately diagnosing autism
  • Cognitive cross training
  • Music and movement
  • Sustained attention
  • Response inhibition
  • Speed of information processing
  • Cognitive flexibility and the working memory
  • Exploring classifications for ADHD
  • Diagnosing ADHD accurately
  • Use of robots to assist students with cognitive disabilities
  • Use of technology to assess executive functions
  • Bone conduction therapy to improve attention and focus
  • Brain imaging that will help accurately diagnose cognitive disorders and help clinicians create an effective treatment plan

Content Contributors

(click to view each bio)

Bruce E. Wexler, MD
Professor, Yale School of Medicine; Director of Neurocognitive Research Laboratory, Connecticut Mental Health Center

Bruce E. Wexler is a Professor at Yale University. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Harvard College, received his MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, studied psychiatry at Anna Freud’s Hampstead Clinic, neurology at Queen’s Square Institute of Neurology, and psychiatry at Yale. Author of over 125 scientific articles, Professor Wexler is a world leader in harnessing neuroplasticity to improve cognition through brain exercises. He and colleagues developed the first program that integrates computerized brain exercises and physical exercises to improve executive function in young children, a program in use by thousands of children in schools across the U.S. Dr. Wexler and colleagues have also developed programs that are effective treatments for ADHD and geriatric depression. Dr. Wexler was a visiting professor at Peking University in 2008, and has given multiple invited lectures throughout China, Korea, Japan and Europe as well as North and South America. As a consultant for Israeli and Palestinian religious leaders, Dr. Wexler conducted a U.S. State Department funded study of how the “other” is portrayed in Israeli and Palestinian schoolbooks. Dr. Wexler received an NIH Director’s award for high innovation potentially paradigm changing research and the Kempf Fund Award from the American Psychiatric Association. He has served as a member of the Kennedy Foundation Forum on Technology and Mental Health Innovations, the GE Brain Trust and a consultant for the Gates Foundation.

Stephen Shore, EdD
Internationally-recognized Autism Speaker/ Professor Adelphi University, School of Education

Diagnosed with “Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies” and “too sick” for outpatient treatment Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism. In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Stephen is internationally renowned for presentations, consultations and writings on lifespan issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure. He is a current board member of IBCCES, Autism Society of America, and Autism Speaks.

Steve Tonkin
Founder, The Caring Project

Steve Tonkin is President of Steve Tonkin and Company and Managing Partner of Evalq Technologies. He develops person-centered training and software solutions for healthcare systems and disability-focused agencies, financial services, and general corporate training utilizing his intrinsic motivation model. His work seeks to translate the best available research into practical how-to solutions. As the creator and author of The Caring Project, his team offers training to help medical professionals and other clinical providers determine their unique caring style and how they best connect with their patients. His unique background as a youth worker and corporate financial controller provides the catalyst to seek solutions from different angles. Steve earned a BA in Youth Ministry from Colorado Christian University, a M.Div with emphasis on education from Denver Seminary, and an advanced accounting certificate from the College of DuPage, in Illinois.

Pamela R. Rollins, MS EdD, SLP
Professor & Robotics Researcher, University of Texas at Dallas

Dr. Rollins, Associate Professor, is a faculty member in the Communication Disorders program within the School of Behavior and Brain Sciences at UTD/Callier Center for Communication Disorders. Dr Rollins’ early research focused on the critical evaluation of language measures and the development of new communication tools that could be used with typical children and children with ASD. She uses these tools to define learning and communication processes associated with acquisition of social communication and language. Her current focus is on developing and evaluating interventions for children at risk for and diagnosed with ASD. In addition, she works with a team of autism experts and robotics designers to create Robots4Autism and conducts research to understand the effects of Robots on communication skills in children with ASD.

Benjamin Brown, MD
Neurosurgeon, Mayo Clinic

Dr. Benjamin Brown is a neurosurgeon at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. He received his medical degree from Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans and has been in practice almost 10 years. Dr. Brown specializes in Neurological Surgery, and has received the Dr. John Jackson Award for best clinical research presentation at the Louisiana State Neurosurgical Society Meeting, and the 2011 TEAM Recognition Award at LSU Hospital, where he was awarded for “commitment to excellence in the care and treatment of our patients.”

Ricardo A. Hanel, MD, PhD
Endovascular Neurosurgeon, Baptist Health System

Ricardo A. Hanel, MD, PhD, neurovascular surgeon with Lyerly Neurosurgery and Baptist Health, is director of Baptist Neurological Institute at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville. He is internationally known for his skills in treating brain aneurysms, acute stroke and cerebrovascular conditions with ground breaking, minimally invasive techniques performed from inside the blood vessel. His areas of expertise are endovascular neurosurgery, brain aneurysms, brain & spinal arterial venous malformations, brain & spinal arterial venous fistulas, acute stroke intervention, cerebrovascular disease and skull base neurosurgery. Dr. Hanel obtained his medical degree from Universidade Federal do Paraná in Brazil and did his fellowships at the State University of New York at Buffalo and the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.

Robert A. Naseef, PhD
Psychologist, Alternative Choices Counseling & Psychotherapy

Robert A. Naseef, Ph.D is seasoned by 25 years of professional practice as an independent psychologist with Alternative Choices in Philadelphia. Dr. Naseef’s specialty is working with families of children with autism and other special needs. He has published in scholarly journals and other publications. He has a special interest and expertise in the psychology of men and fatherhood. Robert relates to community and professional audiences and is a sought after speaker around the country and internationally and who has appeared on radio and television. In 2008, Robert was honored by Variety, the Children’s Charity for his outstanding contributions over the past 20 years to the autism community.

Ron B. Minson, MD
Neurologist, Psychiatrist

Ron B. Minson, MD received his medical degree from UCLA School of Medicine and is board-certified in Psychiatry and Neurology. His general medical background includes serving as a family physician and health center Medical Director and clinical psychiatrist. Dr. Minson served as Chief of Psychiatry for Presbyterian Medical Center and Director of Behavioral Sciences at Mercy Hospital in Denver.
In 1990, Dr. Minson learned of the effectiveness of sound therapy after witnessing the successful treatment of his own daughter for severe dyslexia and depression. Dr. Minson subsequently studied a number of sound therapy techniques before developing his own, Dynamic Listening Systems (DLS), which he integrated into his psychiatric practice. With the advent of digital technologies, iLs – Integrated Listening Systems was launched in 2007 to provide a more affordable and effective therapy (sound combined with visual, vestibular and movement) which could be used in homes and schools as well as clinics. Dr. Minson currently practices psychiatry in Denver, CO, serves as the Clinical Advisor for iLs, and presents domestically and internationally on the therapeutic application of sound.

Christine Sapienza, PhD
Dean, Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences at Jacksonville University

Since 2014, Dr. Christine Sapienza serves as the Dean of the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences at Jacksonville University. Under her leadership, JU has launched enhanced health sciences program offerings to address emerging market demands, and has raised the standing and reputation of both the University and the BRCHS in the region. Through her vision, the College of Healthcare Sciences has been reorganized into a cohesive brand that includes School of Nursing, the School of Applied Health Sciences and the School of Orthodontics.
Dr. Christine Sapienza serves as the Dean of the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences at Jacksonville University. Through her vision, the College of Healthcare Sciences has been reorganized into a cohesive brand that includes School of Nursing, the School of Applied Health Sciences and the School of Orthodontics.

Amy M. Williams, Ph.D.
Clinic director, Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Metrocare

Amy M. Williams, Ph.D., is the clinic director of the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Metrocare. Prior to opening the clinic in 2016, she was a clinical psychologist in independent practice in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas area. She received her B.A. in psychology from Texas Tech University with a minor in business management. Dr. Williams received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of North Texas. She completed her predoctoral internship at the Palo Alto VA Medical Center. While there, she trained at the National Center for PTSD, a Stanford-affiliated unit in the area of serious mental illness, and in the areas of family therapy, substance use, and geriatric psychology. Her postdoctoral training at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, with Dr. Patricia Resick, focused on research and treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder with Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) and Prolonged Exposure. Following her training, she returned to Texas and was employed as a graduate-level instructor at the University of North Texas before starting her private practice in 2006.

Dr. Ann Marie Leonard-Zabel
Full Professor of Psychology

Dr. Ann Marie Leonard-Zabel is a Full Professor of Psychology at Curry College in Milton, Massachusetts. In May 2015, Dr. Leonard-Zabel received two awards from Curry College: “Person of the Year” and “Excellence in Teaching-Research.” In addition, she owns a private international practice specializing in evaluations and consultation for neuro-behavioral learning disabilities, neuro-developmental disorders, emotional-behavioral difficulties, forensic examiner evaluations and substance abuse. For the past 10 years, she has served as a clinical instructor and supervisor for a Post-Graduate/Post-Doctoral Hybrid Model Program for the KidsInc School Neuropsychology Certificate Program. She assists with training professionals in the United States and abroad to be a board certified Diplomate by the American Board of School Neuropsychology. She holds national, international, diplomat and fellow licenses/certifications in the field of School Neuropsychology, School Psychology, Disability Analysis, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Homeland Security, Forensic Counseling, Clinical Counseling, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, and Addictions.

Eric Sauvageau, MD
Endovascular Neurosurgeon, Baptist Health System

Eric Sauvageau, MD, neurovascular surgeon with Lyerly Neurosurgery and Baptist Health, is director of the Stroke & Cerebrovascular Center at Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville. Dr. Sauvageau specializes in minimally invasive endovascular and cerebrovascular techniques and skull base neurosurgery for the treatment of stroke, brain aneurysm, cerebrovascular disease, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), arteriovenous fistulas and carotid artery disease. He also has expertise in the treatment of microvascular compression syndrome, including trigeminal neuralgia and hemifacial spasm.
Dr. Sauvageau obtained his medical degree from the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada and did his fellowships at the State of New York at Buffalo and the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix.

Carol S. Weinman, Esq.
Attorney and Legal Consultant

Carol S. Weinman is an independent attorney, autism specialist, author and founder of Autism Advisors and Advocates LLC. A seasoned attorney, practicing over 25 years, Ms. Weinman specializes in criminal law and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She represents the interests of those with ASD who are arrested in the state and federal courts. Ms. Weinman began her legal career as a Philadelphia Prosecutor and in 1998 embarked on a new path after she diagnosed her 3 ½ year old son as autistic. Combining her legal and autism expertise, Ms. Weinman serves as an Autism Legal Consultant for lawyers, psychologists, educators and parents. She conducts trainings and presentations to community, law enforcement, universities, lawyers and professional audiences on Autism and Criminal Law.

Nima Aghaebrahim, MD
Interventional Neurologist, Baptist Health System

Nima Aghaebrahim, MD, interventional neurologist with Lyerly Neurosurgery and Baptist Health, specializes in ground-breaking endovascular therapy that can be performed from inside the blood vessel to treat cerebrovascular disease. His areas of expertise are acute stroke intervention, brain hemorrhages, brain aneurysm, carotid or vertebral artery disease, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) and arteriovenous fistulas.
With a medical degree from the University of South Carolina, Dr. Aghaebrahim did fellowships at the University of Pittsburgh and is board certified in board certified in both neurology and vascular neurology.

Lida Citroën
International Branding Specialist

Lida Citroën is an international reputation management and brand specialist who designs and enhances the identities of companies and executives globally. After a 20-year career in corporate branding, strategic marketing and international communications, in 2008 Citroën formed LIDA360, a Colorado-based consulting firm, to meet the demand of international professionals seeking to differentiate themselves and their businesses in increasingly competitive and global markets. In 2009, Citroën began leveraging her expertise to help transitioning military service members build their civilian careers. Citroën is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Veteran Serving Organizations (NAVSO), writes for Military.com, collaborates with LinkedIn on veterans’ issues, and volunteers with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserves (ESGR).

Luci Butler
The Institute For Music and Neurologic Function, Light Elixir, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Moby

Luci Butler is an acclaimed musician that has toured with Moby and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, and now conducts music therapy through a private practice following nine years with the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function in New York City, where she specialized in treating neurological injuries and illnesses of all kinds including head injury, stroke, aphasia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression, autism, developmental delay, palliative care, and more. Her newest project, Light Elixir, is comprised of music therapists who understand music’s timeless power to transcend culture, race, age and status and unite human beings worldwide. Both musicians from a young age, Luci and her partner, Sam Williams, use guitar and piano to create the rock-pop-folk blend. Light Elixir aims to take audiences on a journey of self-discovery and beauty, combining memorable melodies with uplifting lyrics.

Karen Custer, PTA
Founding Director, Stroke Active Recovery Therapy (StART)

Karen Custer, PTA is the Founding Director of StART (Stroke Active Recovery Therapy), an intensive therapeutic and recovery program for stroke and neuro injury survivors. Over the last 5 years, Karen has worked with over 100 survivors of stroke and neurological injuries, helping them to recover their physical and daily activities and to have a fulfilling life. She created a program that integrates intense physical therapy with social and cognitive skills that has enabled survivors to go from wheelchair bound to skiing or driving cars.

Kerry Magro
Disability Advocate

Kerry Magro is an award-winning disability advocate, best-selling author, movie consultant, non-profit founder and full-time employee at Autism Speaks. Magro who was completely non-verbal until 2.5 and diagnosed with autism at 4 had to overcome countless challenges. Today Magro travels the country as a national motivational speaker discussing his journey on the autism spectrum. In 2014, based on his speaking efforts he received accreditation from the National Speakers Association as one of the only professionally certified speakers with autism in the country. His career in speaking which has included giving 2 TEDxTalks later led to a stint in television where he hosts his own local cable TV show called the “Different is Beautiful Show” to highlight people who overcome adversity in their local communities.

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*Registration fee will be refunded if the applicant is not approved by the board for any reason during the application process (minus $150 to cover processing and exam fee). Otherwise all sales are final. Registration indicates that you have read and agreed to the IBCCES Financial Terms and Conditions, Ethical Responsibilities and Standards of Practice.

How It Works

BCCS Application Process

For more information on how to maintain your certification, please review our Certification Renewal Policy and Code of Ethics and Standards.

BCCS Online Training for Healthcare Professionals

The training for the BCCS program (14 CEU’s) is delivered online at IBCCES University. This state of the art e-learning system makes learning fun and engaging for both educators and healthcare professionals alike. Each module is laid out in a user-friendly format that includes TED style presentations, research-based text and relevant strategies that will enable the user to gain the knowledge and confidence they need to better serve students with cognitive disorders. This self-paced program will expose each user to some of the top cognitive researchers, neuroscientists and master educators from around the globe.

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