The Best Subject to Review This Summer is…

  With record high temperatures for this time of year in Austin already occurring, it’s clear that summer is just around the corner.  Final exams are underway, and pretty soon students will be free for the summer.  While it’s important for students to take a mental break after a grueling 9-month academic tour de force, it’s also beneficial for students to continue developing their academic skills over the summer. The balance between doing too much and doing nothing over the summer can be tricky.  Trying to fit academic activities in along with summer camps, vacations, community service, and just plain-old [...]

End of School Year Checklist

The calendar just turned to May, and that means school is in the homestretch.  However, before we start planning long days by the pool or days spent at fun summer camps, there is still a lot of work to do. Many of us still have quite a bit of school work and assignments left.  With final exams coming up for many students, there are still many points left out there to boost your grades.  So as we count down the days to that very last one, here is a checklist to keep you on the right track for academic success. [...]

Summer ADHD Evaluation

  A few months ago I began offering full neuro-psych evaluations for ADHD and other learning disabilities as part of my service.  Since that time my schedule has been filling quickly.  Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in the country, and that means there is a growing number of students who potentially need evaluations. Even though it’s only mid April, I’m already looking ahead to summer and scheduling evaluations for June, July and August.  Although many of us associate neuro-psychological testing with school, summer is actually a perfect time to have your student evaluated.  Today’s post will discuss [...]

Is it ADHD or Auditory Processing Disorder?

  Today’s post comes courtesy of a student I recently evaluated.  As a current 7th grader, she was referred to me because she was having trouble paying attention in class and keeping up with her teachers’ lectures.  She was originally diagnosed with ADHD by her family physician in 4th grade and put on various medications to help control it, but her mother wanted a more comprehensive evaluation to determine if something else was going on. This particular student, like many, was given a diagnosis of ADHD with a very brief assessment of her symptoms.  Since there is no single definitive [...]

How Screen Time Affects Kids

  A few weeks ago my high school hosted a presentation by Dr. Mike Brooks, a highly-regarded psychologist here in Austin.  Dr. Brooks is the founder of the Austin Psychology and Assessment Center, which is one of the main testing centers in town.  In addition to providing psychological services for the Austin community, Dr. Brooks spends much of his time researching the use of technology by kids.  His research dates back to the golden age of video games, and he has written many articles on the subject. The presentation at my school was titled:  Tech Generation: Raising Balanced Kids in [...]

How Updated Testing Affects the ACT and SAT

Today’s post comes from a good friend and colleague, Renee Becak.  I previously invited Renee to write about her role at my high school as the learning lab director and how private schools provide accommodations. In addition to her role in the learning lab, Renee is also the testing coordinator for the high school.  She knows more about ACT and College Board than anyone else I know!  For students diagnosed with learning differences and/or other educational-impacting disabilities, the process for applying for accommodations on standardized tests can be daunting.  Here Renee provides an overview of the process and the importance [...]

Now Offering Full Testing for ADHD and Learning Differences!

First let me say Happy New Year to all of you! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday break and that 2018 will be a great year for everyone. It’s fun to look back and see how far we’ve come in a brief year. Although I spent much of New Year’s Eve recovering from whatever sickness has been going around, there was still plenty to celebrate. I wrote previously on the Texas State Board’s proposal to allow Licensed Psychological Associates to practice independently, provided they fulfill additional requirements, and the impact that decision may have on mental health. Well in [...]

How a Concussion Affects School

As a high school counselor I see all kinds of issues students deal with, from social and emotional health to students with attention difficulties.  One issue that is particularly troubling is concussions.  While concussions in football have garnered attention-grabbing headlines in recent years and even led to a multi-billion dollar settlement between the NFL and its players, it’s a much wider problem than most parents realize.  In fact, according to the Brain Injury Research Institute, it’s estimated that there are 1.6-3.8 million sports-related concussion each year!  I want to focus on what a concussion is and how it adversely impacts [...]

Social and Emotional Learning – Relationships

A couple of weeks ago I attended the Texas Psychological Association’s annual convention, an event that I go to every year as part of my ongoing professional development.  There were a few sessions I checked out, but one in particular stood out as especially relevant:  Resilience Starts in Schools:  SEL for Healthy Relationships, which was conducted by Dr. Jeff Temple and Ms. Lauren Scott, both from UT-Medical Branch in Galveston. My last post explained Social/Emotional Learning using the model developed by CASEL and presented its 5 core competencies.  Dr. Temple and Ms. Scott utilized this model throughout their presentation, but [...]

Understanding Social/Emotional Learning

  Over the past few years, the concept of Social/Emotional Learning has emerged as a hot-button topic in education.  It’s now a buzzword in local communities, having received national attention both positively and negatively. But what exactly is Social/Emotional Learning, and why does it matter? CASEL CASEL is an organization formed in 1994 and is widely regarded as having developed the most comprehensive and well-researched approach to defining Social/Emotional Learning (SEL). According to CASEL, SEL is: the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and [...]

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