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The AAB Screening Form is Now Available on the PAR Training Portal

Want to learn more about the Academic Achievement Battery™ (AAB™)Screening Form? PAR’s Training Portal now offers a  free course on this new product. Whether you have already purchased the AAB Screening Form and want to learn more about this instrument or are looking for more information to help make your purchase decision, this training course will give you a quick overview of the product, explain what makes it unique, and give you insight into how it was developed.

To access the Training Portal, use your parinc.com username and password to log in. Don’t have a free account? Register now. Training courses are also available on the Vocabulary Assessment Scales™ (VAS™), the Test of General Reasoning Ability™ (TOGRA™), and the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™). Training on the AAB Comprehensive Form will be available shortly, with more presentations coming in 2015.

 

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Researchers identify genetic mutation linked to suicide risk

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have discovered a chemical alteration in a single human gene that is linked to the risk of a suicide attempt. According to study leader Zachary Kaminsky, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the JHU School of Medicine, the results of this study could be a first step in developing a simple blood test that will help doctors predict suicide risk.

Described in The American Journal of Psychiatry, the study suggests that chemical changes in a gene involved in the function of the brain’s response to stress hormones plays a significant role in suicide risk. These changes can turn a normal reaction to everyday stress into suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

“Suicide is a major preventable public health problem, but we have been stymied in our prevention efforts because we have no consistent way to predict those who are at increased risk of killing themselves,” explains Kaminsky in a press release from Hopkins Medicine. “With a test like ours, we may be able to stem suicide rates by identifying those people and intervening early enough to head off a catastrophe.”

A blood test that accurately predicts suicide risk would be good news for the U.S. military, which has experienced an alarming increase in the number of suicides among veterans over the past few years, particularly males under the age of 30.

“What we envision, potentially, is using this test in psychiatric emergency rooms. For example, it could dictate closeness of monitoring and treatment options, and drive potentially more fast acting treatment in someone who is really high risk,” said Kaminsky in an interview with The Huffington Post.

To read the abstract or to download the full article, visit the American Journal of Psychiatry Web site.

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New! PAR Offers Online Training Courses!

We are proud to announce the release of PAR’s free Training Portal. The Training Portal is a versatile resource: it’s a great way to get acquainted with a product before purchasing or to learn more about an assessment tool you already use. Each online training session provides an overview of a specific instrument, a description of how it was developed, an explanation of how it’s scored, sample items, and normative and clinical data. Designed with your valuable time in mind, each interactive video lasts approximately 20-60 minutes.

Training is currently available on the Vocabulary Assessment Scales™ (VAS™), the Test of General Reasoning Ability™ (TOGRA™), and the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™). Trainings on the Academic Achievement Battery™ (AAB™) Screening Form and the AAB Comprehensive Form will be available shortly, with more presentations to be added in 2015.

To access the Training Portal, use your parinc.com username and password to log in. Don’t have a free account? Register now.

 

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Now Available—an Updated PAR Assessment Toolkit!

TOOLKITThe PAR Assessment Toolkit provides shortcuts to the tools you use on a daily basis—now streamlined with more functionality, a more modern look and feel, and improved features. As always, the PAR Assessment Toolkit is free.

  • Browse products by construct using the PAR Product Finder™.
  • Link directly to your PARiConnect account to review reports; add, remove, and edit client information; and make client notes.
  • Convert scores for the BRIEF®, BRIEF®-SR, BRIEF®-A, BRIEF®-P, MMSE®-2™, MMSE®, NEO™-PI-3, PAI®, PSI™-4, PSI™-4-SF, RAIT™, TOGRA™, and VAS—for free!
  • Read about the latest psychology news and watch PAR videos.
  • Stay informed about where PAR will exhibit and the various informative Webinars we offer.
  • Link to our Twitter, LinkedIn®, and Facebook pages and to Google Scholar™.

Your favorite features from the prior version are still included. If you already have the PAR Assessment Toolkit on your device, it will update automatically. To download the app, visit Google Play or the App Store.

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There’s More to Bruce Bracken

invisibleBruce A. Bracken, PhD is a respected psychologist and the author of numerous psychological tests, but did you know he is also a fiction writer? His second novel, Invisible, was published earlier this year.

Dr. Bracken’s novel explores the world of those who go through life largely unnoticed—those who feel invisible. Sometimes their invisibility is intentional, for example, among introverts who avoid attention and shun the limelight. More often, however, it is a not a choice, but rather an unwelcome reality for an underclass that includes panhandlers, the homeless, and the disfigured.

Invisible was recently named Book of the Month by the College of William & Mary, where Dr. Bracken is Professor of School Psychology and Counselor Education. Click here to see him discuss the idea behind his book.

Dr. Bracken is also the author of the Universal Nonverbal Intelligence Test™ (UNIT™), the Clinical Assessment of Behavior™ (CAB™), the Clinical Assessment of Depression™ (CAD™), the Clinical Assessment of Interpersonal Relationships™ (CAIR™), and the Clinical Assessment of Attention Deficit–Adult™ (CAT-A™) and Clinical Assessment of Attention Deficit–Child™ (CAT-C™).

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Introducing… The Academic Achievement Battery™ (AAB™)

We are proud to present the AAB to you. With a Screening Form and a Comprehensive Form, the ability to choose paper or digital stimuli, and a price that will easily fit your budget, the AAB gives you exactly what you need to confidently evaluate achievement.

The AAB Comprehensive Form is a complete assessment of an individual’s academic skills, useful for eligibility decisions or intervention planning.

The AAB Screening Form is designed to assess basic academic skills, ideal for initial assessment or reevaluation.

  • No product-specific certification or intensive preparation is necessary for administration.
  • Scoring can be done by hand or through PARiConnect, our encrypted online testing platform.
  • Developed using academic standards set by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Teachers of English, Common Core, and Reading First.

Order today to take advantage of special introductory pricing—just $475 for the Comprehensive Kit and $180 for the AAB Screening Kit.

Want to learn more about the AAB? Watch this video.

 

 

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PAR Author Richard Rogers Honored with UNT Eminent Faculty Award

The University of North Texas (UNT) has awarded Richard Rogers, PhD, ABPP, with the UNT Foundation Eminent Faculty Award for his work concerning Miranda rights and their use.

The award is given annually to a member of the UNT faculty who has made an outstanding scholarly contribution and whose work has greatly inspired the university and community. It is one of the highest honors given by UNT.

Dr. Rogers’ research into Miranda warnings and defendants’ understanding of their rights has prompted the American Bar Association to call for more simple and straightforward Miranda language for juveniles.

Dr. Rogers is the author of the Structured Interview of Reported Symptoms, 2nd Ed. (SIRS-2), the Evaluation of Competency to Stand Trial™–Revised (ECST™-R), the Rogers Criminal Responsibility Assessment Scales (R-CRAS), and the Standardized Assessment of Miranda Abilities™ (SAMA™).

PAR would like to extend our congratulations on this honor to Dr. Rogers.

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Alzheimer’s in a dish: Scientists discover new way to test drug treatments

Scientists have found a way to replicate human brain cells for use in Alzheimer’s research, according to an article in the New York Times this week. Lead researcher Rudolph E. Tanzi of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and his colleagues were able, for the first time, to grow human brain cells in a petri dish, where the neurons formed networks as they do in an actual brain. Their study was published in the online version of the journal Nature.

The researchers have resolved a long-standing problem with Alzheimer’s research, the New York Times reports. Previously, drugs had to be tested in mice, which have a different form of the disease. With human brain cells grown in a gel, the cells form the same kinds of networks that they do in a real brain. After implanting the cells with Alzheimer’s genes, the researchers began to see plaques and tangles develop—the telltale signs of Alzheimer’s.

“It is a giant step forward for the field,” said Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy, an Alzheimer’s researcher at Duke University, in a recent interview. “It could dramatically accelerate testing of new drug candidates.”

This discovery will allow researchers to quickly test drugs that could slow or stop the progression of the disease. In fact, Dr. Tanzi and his colleagues have started to test 1,200 drugs currently on the market as well as 5,000 experimental ones. This huge project would have been impossible using mice, but with the new petri dish system, says Dr. Tanzi, “we can test hundreds of thousands of drugs in a matter of months.”

The full text of Dr. Tanzi’s study, along with videos showing Alzheimer’s brain cells in the culture, can be found online in the current issue of Nature.

Editor’s Note: On Saturday, November 1, an enthusiastic team of PAR employees will be participating in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s here in Tampa, Florida—one of a series of walks to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association, which is the largest voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. To find a walk near you, click on the link and visit their Web site today!

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Integrative Health Care in Pediatric and Family Health-Care Settings

Editor’s Note: This week’s blog has been written by guest author Richard Abidin, EdD. Dr. Abidin is a Professor Emeritus of Clinical and School Psychology in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, where he served as Director of the Clinical Psychology program. He is the author of the Parenting Stress Index™, Fourth Edition, an inventory designed to evaluate stress in the parent-child system.

Integrative health care is a system in which quality health-care services are provided to individuals, families, and communities. One hoped-for side effect is that the cost of health care will be reduced or contained by the efficient use of resources.

I would like to briefly describe, to stimulate the thinking of others, one example of how integrative health care was done some 40 years ago.

The pediatric group practice that was caring for my own children asked me to come to their practice to discuss how to identify children who should be referred for either mental health or special education services. That request was the catalyst for creating a system of integrated psychological and medical services, and it also was the beginning of what would become the first edition of the Parenting Stress Index (PSI).

The practice provided me with a small exam room that served as my office two days per week. I was given access to the medical records of those families whom I saw or was consulted on, and I placed a copy of my notes and homework prescriptions in the patients’ files. I used the practice’s billing and support personnel, and the practice received 30% of my billings as an overhead charge.

How did the system work? I received referrals from the pediatricians or sometimes from the families themselves. The pediatricians’ referrals would come via two sources: the pediatricians’ interactions with the child or parent or the results of the Parenting Stress Index screening that I developed (and later published with PAR). I typically had a 30- to 40-minute session starting on the hour, followed by 5 minutes for notes and 15 minutes for consulting with the pediatricians or receiving a new referral.

With this system, we found that almost 100% of patients referred for mental health or special education services followed through with appointments, versus the typical referral follow-through rate of 50% or less. The high rate of follow through on the referrals was due to the pediatrician walking the parent to my office and introducing me. The parent and I would speak for a few minutes about their concerns and then set up an appointment. Eventually, the results of the PSI screening became the major generator of referrals by the pediatricians.

Over the years, the Parenting Stress Index has been refined to meet the changing needs of children, parents, and the clinicians who support them and today is in its fourth edition.

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More sleep leads to better academic success, says the AAP

In a technical report issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) last month, chronic sleep loss among middle and high school students was cited as a “serious threat to academic success.” There are many contributing factors to a generation of sleepyheads—among them increased caffeine consumption and the use of electronic devices, whose low-intensity light can disrupt circadian rhythms and suppress melatonin production. The AAP study outlines that one key contributor could be best manipulated to help alleviate this problem: later school start times.

Beside extending sleep duration, this delay would have significant positive effects on self-reported sleepiness and academic achievement, says the Academy. But according to a U.S. Department of Education 2011-12 survey, of the 18,000 high schools in America, less than 15% start at 8:30 a.m. or later, and more than 40% start before 8 a.m.

Dr. Bob Weintraub, headmaster of Brookline High School in Massachusetts from 1992 to 2011 and now professor of educational leadership at Boston University, says that during his tenure the high school moved start times for most students to 8:30 a.m. But he also points out that these shifts raise concerns like how to have maximum participation in after-school activities like athletics, drama, and music when later start times means later end times (which means in the dark during winter months in the Northeast).

Despite these challenges, the AAP argues that communities nationwide have been creative in coming up with solutions to this challenge, including providing free periods and study halls at the end of the day, exempting student athletes from PE, and installing lights for athletic fields.

In sum, the Academy “strongly supports the efforts of school districts to optimize sleep in students and urges high schools and middle schools to aim for start times that allow students the opportunity to achieve optimal levels of sleep and to improve physical and mental health, safety, academic performance, and quality of life.”

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