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Evaluation

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 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 [...]

The Most Affordable Option for ADHD Evaluation Might be…

When considering whether or not to have your student evaluated for a potential learning difference or ADHD, there are many factors that come into play. Testing can be lengthy, so students may have to miss a day or two of school. Also, finding someone to do the testing can also be tricky, as many psychologists and other evaluators can be booked up weeks or even months in advance. Another, perhaps even more challenging obstacle to obtaining a diagnosis, is cost. In my experience, the cost of a full psycho-educational evaluation by a licensed psychologist ranges from $750-1500. That typically includes [...]

Do Private Schools Offer 504 Programs?

  I meet with countless families who are looking for guidance on which schools offer the best support for their students with diagnosed learning differences or ADHD. At public schools, students with diagnosed learning differences qualify for either 504 or Special Education, depending on their needs. Private schools, however, are not beholden to the same regulations and are therefore allowed to do whatever they want. I am fortunate to work at a private school that provides, in my opinion, the best support program in Austin. One of my colleagues and good friends Renee Blanchard has run it for the past [...]

Understanding Dysgraphia

  Dysgraphia is a relatively unknown learning difference that doesn’t get as many headlines at ADHD and dyslexia. However, many students, especially those with ADHD and/or dyslexia suffer from dysgraphia and may not even know they have it. It’s important to understand exactly what dysgraphia is and how it affects students in the classroom. The use of term “dysgraphia” is not very common and sometimes confusing. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-V), which is the most widely used manual for assigning learning differences, does not contain that specific word. Instead, the DSM-V describes this particular diagnosis as [...]

Evaluation for ADHD and Learning Disabilities – What to Expect

If you are reading this, then chances are you are thinking about having your child tested for ADHD or another learning difference. While this process is pretty standard, it may seem confusing, frustrating, and even scary when thinking about what all goes into it. Who Does the Testing? Before you begin the testing process you must first find someone to do the testing. Typically there are two types of practitioners: 1) psychologists, and 2) educational diagnosticians. While both psychologists and educational diagnosticians can administer the necessary cognitive assessments, only psychologists are able to give diagnoses of ADHD and other learning [...]

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