Pediatric neuropsychologists are clinical psychologists who have extensive training in neurodevelopmental conditions. We focus on the assessment and diagnosis of such conditions and strive to develop the most effective interventions for a child within both home and school environments.
What types of testing do Neuropsychologists perform?
We conduct very extensive testing. The focus of the testing is specific and is based upon concerns that parents have presented to us. We evaluate children for a host of neurodevelopmental conditions, including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Learning Disorders, Autism, Social/Emotional concerns, response to medication, medical issues, etc.
Testing involves the collection of information from a variety of sources, including the parents, teachers, outside therapists, pediatrician/psychiatrist/neurologist as well as quantitative testing, in which the child would participate in a full day evaluation. The reason why this information is gathered from so many sources is to ensure that the data we receive is consistent throughout all areas of the child’s life. It will also help to identify where the child may be struggling the most.
What happens after a Neuropsychologist performs the testing?
Once the testing is complete, the neuropsychologist will spend time integrating all the information and determine which specific areas of strength and weakness are identified. With this information, we are able to help work with the family, outside therapists and academic team in order to create the most appropriate accommodations and interventions possible.
It is vital to realize that the neuropsychological evaluation should be an on-going phenomena. We often request that the children return for brief follow-up evaluations every three to six months in order to track progress from therapy and help to identify whether or not there are changes to be made with the current accommodations and interventions.
Click here to find out how a Neuropsychologist can help your family or to schedule a consultation.
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Dr. Greg Stasihttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngDr. Greg Stasi2013-01-10 10:24:152020-06-29 13:46:47What is a Neuropsychologist?
Your child has been identified to be falling behind in school in some way. Perhaps they are scoring below expected levels on achievement tests or maybe they are exhibiting symptoms of inattention or become easily distracted. These symptoms may be keeping them from learning up to their potential. In another case, they may have an identified medical or emotional disorder that impacts them academically. Children can have a number of challenges that may impact them in the school environment. What can be done about these challenges? There are two formal plans that can be implemented: Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan. Below are five differences between the two plans:
IEP versus 504 Plan:
An IEP is for children who qualify for special education services. To qualify, your child must have a documented learning disability, developmental delay, speech impairment or significant behavioral disturbance. Special education is education that offers an individualized learning format (e.g., small group, pull out, one-on-one). In contrast, a 504 Plan does not include special education services. Instead, a 504 Plan involves classroom accommodations, such as behavioral modification and environmental supports.
An IEP requires a formal evaluation process as well as a multi-person team meeting to construct. A 504 Plan is less formal and usually involves a meeting with the parents and teacher(s). Both plans are documented and recorded.
An IEP outlines specific, measurable goals for each child. These goals are monitored to ensure appropriate gains. A 504 Plan does not contain explicit goals.
An IEP requires more regularly occurring reviews of progress, approximately every 3 months. A 504 Plan is usually reviewed at the beginning of each school year.
A 504 Plan does not cost the school or district any additional money to provide. On the other hand, an IEP requires school funds to construct and execute.
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Amy Wolokhttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngAmy Wolok2013-01-03 13:31:182014-04-26 11:28:085 Major Differences between an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and 504 Plan
In today’s Webisode below, our Pediatric Neuropsychologist answers a question from a viewer on what to do when a child does not know how to make friends.
In This Video You Will Learn:
What to do when your child is not social
How to investigate the reasons
How to intervene on your child’s behalf
Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.
Robyn: Hello. I am Robyn Ackerman with Pediatric Therapy TV. I am standing here today with Dr. Stasi. In today’s segment we will be answering questions from our viewers. Charlie has given us a question from Kansas City. Charlie asks, “My 4-year-old son is having a hard time making friends in school. What can I do to help him?”
Dr. Stasi: Thank you. That’s a great question. What we often think about in school is the child’s academic needs and the child’s behavioral concerns. We often neglect the social emotional concerns of the child. It is just as vital to identify these concerns as the academics and the behavioral functioning. What I really recommend first, if a child is struggling in the social realm, is to make an evaluation to determine why. Is it some underlying construct that this child has, an internal deficit with interacting with another child? Is it anxiety, that they are afraid to approach others? Or is it something else? Already being teased or bullied?
Once you can identify the reason for the behavior, then we can intervene for this child to develop what is going to be appropriate. It has to be individually. We cannot just create a plan for any child to improve his or her social functioning. It has to be based on specific needs. It works as a team, then, working with the school social worker, the school psychologist, the teacher, and also outside advocates that you have, be it a child’s therapist or a neuropsychologist. We really want to intervene for the child to determine what is going on and then where to go from here.
So, I think, Charlie, the answer to your question is that we can’t answer that question. We need to figure out why. We need to determine what’s going on. Then we have the basics to really intervene and make sure that this child succeeds socially.
Robyn: Thank you, Dr. Stasi, and thank you, Charlie. And remember, keep on blossoming.
Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit our website at LearnMore.me.
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Robynhttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngRobyn2011-11-17 11:50:412012-04-18 21:33:07Helping Your Child Who Is Not Social | Pediatric Therapy Tv
Parents come to professionals in order to ascertain what is going on with their child. As a neuropsychologist, the two most common questions I hear are:What is wrong with my child? And How do I fix it?
A diagnosis will help clarify the symptom characteristics that the child exhibits which in turn will lead to developing the most effective interventions and accommodations for that child within the home, school, and private clinic settings.
Many times parents question the appropriateness of a diagnosis that was given to their child. It is important to understand that there are several factors that can lead a clinician towards an inappropriate diagnosis or a diagnosis that is not the best fitting based upon the child’s symptom characteristics.
How Assessments Are Conducted:
An evaluation constitutes several hours out of one day of your child’s life. Many factors impact the child’s performance during the testing, including;
Lack of appropriate sleep the night before
Being hungry during the evaluation
Anxiety over the testing situation
How many of those factors contributed to the diagnosis that was handed to the child? Second, did the diagnostician receive or ascertain all appropriate information. Did that individual receive information from the school, past medical records, detailed information regarding the child’s early development? You are your child’s best advocate. As much as any diagnostician may know about the responses on the testing, the response to the testing as well as explanations for the testing has to gel with you. If you are uncomfortable with a diagnosis, ask questions. Explain to the diagnostician that the behaviors that were observed are not consistent with what is observed on a daily basis. Work as a team to figure out what lead to the discrepancy between actual behavior and observed behavior/test scores.
If you do not feel that your questions were answered with a diagnosis or are hesitant to follow through with the interventions that were offered, it is then recommended to seek a second opinion. Oftentimes a second set of eyes, even in the form of reviewing the report/test performance can help solidify the diagnosis that was given or help establish what additional testing/information would be needed.
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Dr. Greg Stasihttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngDr. Greg Stasi2011-10-07 11:14:062014-04-27 18:50:38Where To Go If Your Child Has Been Misdiagnosed
Dyslexia is one of the more common conditions to affect school age children. It is estimated that between 5 and 10% of children between the ages of 5 and 20 meet criteria for the disorder. The definition of dyslexia is an inability to read; however, while this is a disorder that is very easy to define, it can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Reading is an intimate and essential skill in our school systems. Children are taught to read in first and second grade; but by grade three they are expected to acquire new information from what they read and children who have difficulties in reading will begin to suffer in all subjects if left untreated.
Dyslexia and The Brain
There has been a wealth of information published on this disorder since first conceptualized nearly a hundred years ago. What researchers have essentially concluded is that we don’t have a formal reading center in our brain. Rather, we utilize language and speech areas to make sense of written words. Thus, any disorder that affects language systems can impact reading. In fact, in adult stroke patients, there is an unusual condition called alexia (can’t read) without agraphia (can’t write), which means that a person could write a sentence but be unable to read what they had just written. Through the advent of neuroimaging, we have been able to trace the pathways that lead from the visual perception of written text to the decoding of that text for meaning and have a pretty good understanding of how children with dyslexia read (or don’t read) differently than normal children. We have not been as successful in figuring out the cause of this disorder.
The current thinking is that our visual system is built to recognize objects from a variety of different angles because we are creatures that move in the world. For instance, if I turn a chair on its side, it won’t take you longer to figure out it is still a chair. However, letters and words need to be identified in the same orientation and in the same order if they are to have meaning. The visual system, therefore, “cheats” by funneling letters and words over to the language centers for processing instead of in typical object recognition centers. If this process occurs correctly, most children will be able to read as early as five years of age. If they don’t funnel this information correctly to the left side, they will continue to treat letters and words just like objects in the environment. For instance, a child might see the word “choir” but say the word “chair” since they are visually so similar in appearance. However, their meaning is quite different and clearly comprehension is going to be affected if many of those errors occur.
Signs of Dyslexia in Children
Some of the common signs of dyslexia in younger children can be the omission of connecting words (i.e., in, an, the, to, etc.), taking the first letter or two of the word and guessing, or converting words that they have never seen into words that they already know, even when the meaning is quite different. I hear often that parents become worried because their child reverses letters and, while this does occur in children with dyslexia, it is also a fairly common phenomenon with children who are learning to read, particularly with letters that look similar (i.e., b and d). Thus, it often does take a trained professional to differentiate children who are poor readers or who are developing slowly or in a patch-like fashion from children who actually have dyslexia.
Dyslexia in School
One of the challenges with this condition is that many of the schools have gone to an RTI Model (Response To Intervention) for reading. This means that they wait to see how a child responds to a normal classroom and if they fail, they move them to additional services, and if that fails, they move them to further intense services. Failing that, an evaluation is ordered. In real life, this means that many children are not evaluated properly for several years and by that time there are major gaps in their learning and acquisition. We do know of several methods for remediating dyslexia, although they often involve multiple hours a week of tutoring on a one-on-one basis and some school systems are simply ill-equipped to provide those types of services for children.
Most children that we see here at the clinic with dyslexia are bright and capable children who become increasingly frustrated with school because they are unable to bring their intellect to bear on many of the activities they are asked to perform in the school system. Even subjects in which they find much enjoyment are limited in terms of their ability to access the material because so much of it is done through written form. They often look poor on standardized reading and math testing; but because they are bright they can usually “muddle along” just enough to escape attention until they have fallen several years behind by middle school.
Treatment for Dyslexia
Fortunately, several treatment methods have been developed over the years that lead to a “normalization” of the reading system within the brain on imaging studies and to a dramatic increase in reading scores on educational tests. Only a trained professional can determine if your child has a developmental delay, dyslexia, or some other condition that is impacting their reading; but these are often critical evaluations to get done early since the remediation process can take 12 to 24 months.
I have evaluated hundreds of children for this condition and seen rather dramatic improvements when these children are placed in evidence-based programs for even a short amount of time. I urge all families who have children who struggle with reading to at least get a consultation with a trained professional to determine an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment planning.
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Dr. Pete Dodzikhttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngDr. Pete Dodzik2010-11-12 10:29:562014-04-28 02:59:51What is DEVELOPMENTAL DYSLEXIA?
Many of you have probably seen the highlights about David Huff; he is a pitcher on the Cleveland Indians, who got hit directly in the head by a line drive from Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez a few months ago (http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/mlb/news/story?id=5232792). Luckily, Mr. Huff was not seriously injured from this. However, many children are not as lucky and sustain a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) each year. Current estimates indicate that approximately 180 out of 100,000 children will attain a TBI during their lifetimes.
https://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.png00Dr. Greg Stasihttps://nspt4kids.wpengine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngDr. Greg Stasi2010-10-28 10:49:462014-04-28 03:05:09Head and Brain Injuries in Children