The Whole Child
When we first meet parents about their child we strive for a comprehensive understanding of their concerns. What has motivated them to seek help at this point in time? Is this an issue that has recently emerged or is it an exacerbation of previously recognized behaviors? Are they concerned about their child’s development or is there a nagging feeling that something is not quite right? As we engage in this conversation we collect a developmental history to better understand how the child arrived at this point.
Sometimes, parents come to us with previous evaluations by a developmental pediatrician, child neurologist, psychiatrist or members of the Child Study Team. We always review those reports as part of our efforts to understand the issues their child is facing. At times, the parents feel confused by the information in those reports, or feel that their child has not been truly understood despite the testing efforts.
We might recommend that parents authorize us to observe their child in the school setting to assess if the child’s behavior aligns with the reports from the teacher, or to see if there is an obvious explanation for the behavior. Typically, we observe a structured classroom time (math or reading), a less structured time (gym or library) and lunch and recess. Particular attention is paid to the child’s attentional capacities, emotional regulation, level of anxiety and social skills. We also meet individually with the child. Often, we supplement existing reports with questionnaires to be completed by parents, child and teachers (if appropriate).
After synthesizing all the information, we meet again with the parents to share our understanding of the problem and present our findings and recommendations. Sometimes services are suggested and can be offered in our office; other times not. We work together with other professionals, including psychiatrists, occupational therapists and neuropsychologists to coordinate care and maximize outcomes.
For some children parents request an evaluation to determine if their child is eligible for accommodations in school (such as preferential seating, extra time for tests, or a second set of books).
Depending on the specific needs, we determine what evaluations are necessary to obtain these accommodations, and a report is written to advocate for the child. Based on the results of our work, clients have typically been offered the accommodations under section 504 of the Americans With Disabilities Act.
If, as a result of our evaluation, it becomes evident that the child’s needs are more substantial we help parents advocate for a meeting with the school’s Child Study Team to classify their child –which entails a more comprehensive evaluation. Sometimes parents prefer to have their own professional test their child as part of the Child Study Team evaluation. We conduct Psycho-educational evaluations which can substitute for the Psychological and Educational testing provided by the school district.
Some high school students might be eligible for accommodations for SAT Testing, the most common being the allowance of additional time. Some youngsters are eligible on all sections of the SAT, others only for the Math or Verbal section. We have been successful in obtaining the appropriate accommodations for the clients whom we have tested and written reports.
Adults on the Autistic Spectrum
Because of our expertise with higher functioning individuals on the Autism Spectrum we are often asked to evaluate adults to determine if they meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. These evaluations are requested by the adults themselves or by their significant others. For these individuals we make every attempt to obtain any information regarding their early development (such as report cards, reports) in addition to determining their current functioning.
- Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children – 4th Edition (WISC-4)
- Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale – 3rd Edition (WAIS-3)
- Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – 3rd Edition (WIAT-3)
- Behavior Assessment System for Children – 2nd Edition (BASC-2)
- Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Functions (BRIEF)
- Social Responsiveness Survey – 2nd Edition (SRS-2)
- Brown Attention-Deficit Disorder Scales
- Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Index – 2nd Edition (MMPI-2)