When children don’t perform well in school, and nothing seems to be working, it can feel overwhelming and parents often feel powerless. Understanding the unique strengths and weaknesses of your child is the starting point for accurate and useful strategies and interventions.
There is a range of assessment options from minimal testing (1 to 2 hours) to a thorough, comprehensive assessment (8 to 10 hours), depending on the referral question. For example, testing for gifted and talented, with no other concerns, or to simply check for academic achievement to see where your child is at, would be considered minimal.
Assessing for ADHD or a learning disability (signs of dyslexia), would require more testing time (4-6 hours).
If the child is struggling with significant behavioral challenges, or if the family is wondering about autism, this may entail further investigation and may include some neuropsychological assessments (8 to 10 hours).
The number of hours required will be discussed completely with the family to ensure the ‘right fit’. It is critical that the family is comfortable with the process, and understands every step.
Children often face life with many questions, but few answers – or more importantly, a way to ask them. Developmentally, children don’t possess good verbal skills to explain their emotional pain or frustration. So, often when parents ask, “Why did you do that?!” They will typically respond with, “I don’t know . . .” This is because they likely actually don’t.
I follow Dr Ross Greene who frequently says that children DO better when they CAN (instead of children do better when they wanna). Children don’t wake up in the morning and say to themselves “I think I’m going to give my teachers a hard time and make my parents mad today!”
Counseling with children is different than with adults or older teenagers with good verbal skills. They don’t have the ability to “share their thoughts,” or “let it all out.” They literally don’t have the words yet.
In order for children to understand how to monitor or change their behavior, make friends, follow rules, and generally find their place in the community, they have to first understand fundamental skills such as identifying feelings in themselves and others. Then they need to recognize when and what circumstances elicit particular feelings, learn to notice specific thoughts around these feelings, and how they are related. Eventually, how behaviors and feelings and thoughts influence behavior and relationships.
Sometimes parents just need reassurance that they are doing the right thing for their child. Parenting is increasingly more challenging and more complicated, and there is no shortage of parenting books and advice online. Trying to find the right information for your child can be overwhelming.
Supporting parents should NEVER be shaming or blaming. We are all doing the best we can in this complicated life. I can help give parents the advice they need with emotional or behavioral concerns for their child.
Mental health challenges and neurological differences are increasing everywhere across the country. It is especially true this year as schools are struggling to keep students and staff safe, as well as continuing to provide a quality education. Schools are likely to see an increase in evaluation referrals as well as an increase in demand to meet the mental health needs of their students.
With my background in neuropsychological assessments I can help tease apart challenging diagnoses such as autism and behavior due to other reasons. I can also help with differentiating academic delays due to a dramatic disruption in the school year, and delays in learning to read due to dyslexia.
Sometimes parents don’t know what to do first, and it can feel overwhelming. To decide to move forward with an evaluation for your child is often unnerving for parents.
My priority is a comprehensive and accurate assessment of your child, as well as your comfort with the process and confidence in the results. Over the years I’ve spoken with many families that have had their children evaluated by other clinics or educational systems, and they leave frustrated because the diagnosis doesn’t make sense, or they still don’t know what it means or how to help their child.
I offer a free 20 minute initial consultation to discuss the presenting problem and to work with you on the best path forward. Depending on both the age of your child and the kind of evaluation needed, the number of testing sessions can range from 1 to 4. For example, to obtain the very best results in young children, it is better to break up long testing sessions. Testing can range from 2 to 6 hours, again depending on the referral question. When possible and appropriate the evaluation will include an observation at your child’s school or a neighborhood playground.
Areas of Focus
- Academic Progress
I’m so happy we found you, and got the support our daughter needs!Mother of 5 year old girl