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Learning Disabilities

The Best Time for an Evaluation is…

With the school year up and running for most students, September is typically the month where parents and students begin to settle in for the year.  Classrooms are established, students’ schedules are solidified, and the novelty of a new school year is wearing off. September is historically the slowest month for me for evaluations.  Since 2018, when I first began offering neuropsychological evaluations, I have consistently seen fewer students in September than any other month of the year.  This is true for ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia, and other learning disabilities. So, does this mean it is a good time for your [...]

Are Virtual Evaluations Good?

About this time last year, I wrote a post outlining five reasons one may consider a virtual neuropsychological or psychoeducational evaluation.  At the time, COVID-19 was still very much disrupting the way we interacted, and schools were faced with tough decisions regarding in-person versus remote learning once again.  For many parents, virtual evaluations still made sense given the continued dominance of COVID-19. Fortunately, we are in a much better place as we enter the 2022-2023 school year.  COVID-19 is under control, and children as young as 6 months are now eligible for a vaccine.  Talk of remote learning has pretty [...]

How to Transition Successfully to High School

In my last post, I discussed the many obstacles that middle schoolers face, particularly when transitioning from elementary school.  This transition is arguably the most difficult of the schooling phases, as so many developmental changes are occurring in a relatively short period of time. The good news is that by the time kids finish 8th grade, many of them have developed sufficient executive function skills that allow them to manage their own academic, emotional, and behavioral functioning.  Nevertheless, as we consider how to successfully transition to high school, further challenges remain. Today I want to examine the main hurdles to [...]

Diagnosing ADHD in Young Kids

Over the past month or so I worked with a few elementary school kids who exhibited symptoms of ADHD.  Two of these kids, in particular, were only six years old.  While they have completely different profiles, both were referred for evaluation due to concerns with their attention, activity level, and academic progress.  Their parents and teachers were concerned they had ADHD. When I work with kids this young, I am always reminded of an important question: What is an appropriate age to diagnose ADHD? Before considering the answer, let’s examine what ADHD is. ADHD Defined According to the Diagnostic and [...]

What is a Learning Disorder

Over the past several years, our society has seen a rapid rise in the number of school-age children diagnosed with some form of educational-impacting disability.  When I was a kid in the 1980s, I could count on one hand the number of my classmates who were dyslexic.  And I’d never even heard of ADHD until I was in high school in the early 1990s. Part of the rise in diagnoses can certainly be attributed to more knowledge of these conditions.  Clinicians have a much better understanding of neurocognitive science in general and can therefore identify issues much better now than [...]

5 Reasons to Consider a Virtual Evaluation

Well, it’s been a few months since I last posted…and a lot has changed during that time!  Late last spring, I decided to leave my principal job and pursue EdPsyched full-time.  And so far things have been going great!  There is a HUGE need for psychological services in Austin right now, and I’ve been keeping plenty busy conducting neuropsychological evaluations and providing academic mentoring. Another big change over the summer is that unfortunately COVID is back.  It looked like we were almost back to normal earlier this summer, but the delta variant has taken over and thrown a wrench into [...]

IQ Part 4:  Working Memory

After closely studying our first three components of the IQ (Verbal Comprehension, Visual Spatial, and Fluid Reasoning), today’s post will dive into Working Memory and how it impacts one’s cognitive profile. Once again, I am using the WISC-V as the basis for this breakdown.  The WISC-V is administered to children ages 6-16.  However, the WAIS-IV, which is used to assess adults, also contains a Working Memory index score.  Thus, the following information pertains to pretty much all age ranges. What is Working Memory? When I write my reports, I describe Working Memory as: the ability to take in, retain, and [...]

IQ Part 3: Fluid Reasoning

Welcome back to our deep dive into IQ and its various components.  Previously we examined Verbal Comprehension and Visual Spatial and what they both have to do with one’s overall intelligence.  Understanding these domains gives us a good insight into an individual’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses, which can set a student up for success down the road. In today’s post we will look at Fluid Reasoning.  As a reminder, I am using the WISC-V for my basis of these posts.  The WISC-V is administered to younger students (ages 6-16).  The WAIS-IV is a similar assessment that is used to test [...]

IQ Part 2:  Visual Spatial

Welcome back to the next part of deep dive into what IQ is and how it is comprised.  The last post looked at Verbal Comprehension and its various aspects.  In today’s post we will examine the second component of the overall IQ:  Visual Spatial. As a reminder, I am using the WISC-V as my guide since it is the main cognitive assessment I use in my evaluations.  The WISC-V is intended for children ages 6-16.  The WAIS-IV, which is used when assessing adults, contains a component called Perceptual Reasoning, which is similar to Visual Spatial. What is Visual Spatial? In [...]

IQ Part 1: Verbal Comprehension

In my last post, I discussed in general terms how IQ is calculated.  When broken down, the overall IQ is comprised of various cognitive aspects we all possess.  Today I want to examine Verbal Comprehension, its make up, and how it impacts the overall IQ. For purposes of my post, I will discuss Verbal Comprehension as a component of the WISC-V.  The WISC-V is the main cognitive assessment I give to most of my patients, and it is geared towards kids (ages 6-16) rather than adults.  However, the WAIS-IV (used to assess adults) also contains a Verbal Comprehension component that [...]

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