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Learning Disabilities

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 [...]

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 [...]

The Most Important Skill for Academic Success Is…

Many of us are familiar with various learning differences such as dyslexia and dysgraphia and how they can make school very difficult for students. And even more of us are aware of the challenge ADHD presents for students in every-day life, particularly with paying attention and sustaining effort. Despite the amount of attention these diagnoses receive, there is an even more important cognitive process that can impact your child’s life: Executive Function. Let’s take a look at what this process is and how it affects your student’s performance both in and out of school. What is Executive Function? Executive function [...]

College Admissions Tips for Students with ADHD

The school year is now officially in full swing. Back-to-School nights, football games, and the first signs of fall are here. Along with these also come college admissions season. College recruiters are scheduling their visits on high school campuses, and application deadlines for seniors are looming. For many students the college admission process can be daunting. For students with learning disabilities, ADHD, or other educational-impacting disabilities this process can be even more challenging. If you have a student who is diagnosed with a learning disability, ADHD, or some other educational-impacting disability, fear not…there is a path for you, too! The [...]

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 [...]

Back to School Tips for Parents

Wow, how is it already the end of July?! Summer sure does fly by fast. Hopefully your child has kept busy with some good summer activities that let him enjoy some time off but also keep his mind and body sharp. For those of us living in Texas, the school year seems to start much earlier than other places. Usually by mid-August students are preparing for their first day back. Today I want to talk to you, parents, about what you can do now to help ensure a smooth first day back for your student and set him up for [...]

The Best Books for Social/Emotional Learning are . . .

Social/emotional learning has become a hot topic in the counseling world. This particular task involves the process by which children acquire the skills necessary to interact with others appropriately. The rise in diagnoses of autism and other developmental disabilities that hinder social/emotional development has finally pushed schools to devote resources to helping students develop these skills. Today’s guest post comes from my friend and colleague Jenny Carter. Jenny holds her Master’s in Professional Counseling and recently completed her third year as an elementary school counselor. I don’t know anyone quite as passionate about life as Jenny, and I am thrilled [...]

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