sds2

SDS to be featured at 2016 FPEA Convention

For the first time, PAR will be participating at the Florida Homeschool Convention in Orlando, Florida, May 26-28, 2016. The convention is sponsored by the Florida Parent-Educators Association, an organization dedicated to serving homeschooling families in Florida. The family-oriented event is the largest homeschool convention in the U.S., with more than 15,000 attendees each year.

Parents and students make up a large majority of attendees, making this the ideal setting to learn about the Self-Directed Search® (SDS®). If you are attending the FPEA convention, stop by the SDS booth to say hi and learn about the assessment.

At a time when many students are deciding whether to go to college, choose a major, or pursue a career, the SDS can help them find the fields of study and career paths most suited to match their skill set. This is an especially crucial function to the homeschooled student, as they may not have access to a traditional guidance office.

Conference attendees will be able to see sample SDS Summary Scores and Interactive Reports. They may also purchase the SDS at a special convention price.

The SDS is one of the most widely used career interest tests in the world. With more than 1,200 occupations, 1,000 programs of study, and 800 leisure activities, the SDS gives students more choices.

In our global economy, the possibilities are limitless…and sometimes overwhelming. The SDS can help these homeschooled students focus their search.

 

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone
ThinkstockPhotos-514616989

The Feifer Assessment of Mathematics™ (FAM™) is now available on PARiConnect!

FAM_120Learning WHY a student struggles in math so you can determine HOW to intervene just got easier! The FAM is a comprehensive assessment of mathematics designed to examine the underlying neurodevelopmental processes that support the acquisition of proficient math skills. It not only helps determine if an examinee has a math learning disability, but also identifies the specific subtype of dyscalculia, which better informs decisions about appropriate interventions.

With the FAM on PARiConnect, you can:

  • Receive Score Reports instantly for the FAM battery and FAM Screening Form after entering scale-level data.
  • Obtain brief interpretive statements available only through PARiConnect.
  • Generate Reliable Change Reports to track performance after multiple administrations of the FAM.

Try the FAM on PARiConnect today!

Free 24/7 training on the FAM is available on the PAR Training Portal!

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone
ThinkstockPhotos-503845830

The FAM: Now Available on the Training Portal!

FAM_ManualCover2Interested in learning more about the new Feifer Assessment of Mathematics (FAM)? Now you can enroll in a free training course on the FAM through PAR’s Training Portal. Whether you have already purchased the FAM and want to learn more about it or are looking for more information to help you make your purchase decision, this training course will give you a quick overview of the product, explain how the test was developed, and provide insight into scoring and administration. And, best of all, the Training Portal is always available, so you can get training on your schedule.

The FAM examines the underlying neurodevelopmental processes that support proficient math skills.

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™), the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™), the Academic Achievement Battery™ (AAB™), and many more!

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone
ThinkstockPhotos-134222847

Happy Birthday,
Sigmund Freud!

On a day in early May in 1856 (traditionally thought to be May 6), Sigismund Freud was born, better known as famed psychiatrist Sigmund Freud. Freud’s theories served as the foundation for psychoanalysis as we know it today. While many of his theories have caused considerable controversy, his work shaped views of sexuality, childhood, memory, therapy, and personality. So significant was his contribution to society that many of his ideas have become common terms and catch phrases in our culture, such as repression, denial, Freudian slip, defense mechanism, and anal retentive.

Though Freud is highly quoted, one of the most famous quotes attributed to him was likely never uttered by him: “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” The story goes that this was his response after a student asked him about the hidden meaning behind his frequent cigar smoking. His supposed response was ironic as it demonstrated that even a famous psychoanalyst can admit that not everything has a profound meaning. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and things are exactly as they appear.

As controversial as some of Freud’s ideas have been, here are some things he got right:

  • The Unconscious plays a huge role in our lives: Random feelings, thoughts, and actions often have important, unconscious meanings.
  • Talking lightens the load: The common image of someone lying on a psychologist’s couch discussing their problems directly stems from Freud’s view that many mental problems can be resolved simply by talking about them.
  • The body defends itself: Defense mechanisms are the body’s way of manipulating reality to protect feelings.
  • Change is unwelcome: It is in our nature to resist change, even when that change is good.
  • The problems of the present stem from the past: Difficulties that occur in childhood can carry forward and influence present actions.

Though it has now been many years since Freud’s death in 1939, he is still a household name in the field of psychology. In fact, Time Magazine once featured him as one of their 100 most important people of the 20th century, and his ideas live on as part of the fabric of popular culture.

Share your thoughts about Freud and his theories. PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone
ThinkstockPhotos-179152626

Brain-Based Assessment: An Interview with Steven G. Feifer (Part 2)

We recently sat down with Steven G. Feifer, DEd, author of the Feifer Assessment of Reading™ (FAR™) and Feifer Assessment of Mathematics™ (FAM™) for an interview to discuss how to use cognitive neuroscience to better understand why students struggle in school. This is the second part of a two-part interview. Did you miss Part 1? Catch up here.

How do the FAR and FAM go beyond just using an aptitude/achievement discrepancy perspective?

SF: The FAR and FAM represent a more ecologically valid way to understand the core psychological processes involved with both reading and mathematics. Many psychologists are used to measuring executive functioning, working memory, visual perception, and processing speed using stand-alone instruments, and then must clinically bridge these results into the worlds of reading and math. In other words, how does poor performance on executive functioning tasks impact the ability to read on grade level? These can be very difficult questions to answer.

The FAR and the FAM seek to measure these psychological constructs while the student is actually engaged in the academic skill itself, allowing the examiner to directly determine the impact of each neurocognitive process on the academic skill itself. Typical achievement tests are important to determine where a student is functioning with respect to a nationally normed sample, but the FAR and FAM were designed to explain why. This is the key to really bringing back the “I” into an “IEP,” so practitioners can more readily inform intervention decision making.

Do the instruments give you a reading/math level?

SF: Both the FAR and FAM give you an overall composite score, but the true value of these instruments lies within the factor scores. We chose grade-based norms due to the variability of ages in each grade and thought it was only fair to compare a student’s performance with students in the same grade-level curriculum. In other words, it did not seem fair to compare a 10-year-old in the 3rd grade with a 10 year-old in the 5th grade with two more years of formal instruction.

Academic skills should be based upon the current grade level of the child, especially when we have an educational system where 43 of 50 states follow a common core curriculum. If practitioners are uncomfortable with grade-based norms, there is a conversion by age proxy table included.

Do you need a neuropsychology background to administer and/or interpret any of these instruments?

SF: I think you need a reading or math background to administer and interpret these instruments, which is why these are B-level qualification instruments.  This means most teachers can readily administer the FAR and the FAM. It is not necessary to understand the neuroscience behind each learning disorder subtype, but it is necessary to understand the learning dynamics involved with each skill. For instance, most educators readily understand the role of phonics, fluency, orthography, and comprehension in reading. The FAR can catalogue the relative strengths and weaknesses within each of these processing areas to best inform intervention decision making.

To learn more about the FAR or the FAM, visit their product pages.

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone
ThinkstockPhotos-179152626

Brain-Based Assessment: An Interview with Steven G. Feifer (Part 1)

We recently sat down with Steven G. Feifer, DEd, author of the Feifer Assessment of Reading™ (FAR™) and Feifer Assessment of Mathematics™ (FAM™) for an interview to discuss how to use cognitive neuroscience to better understand why students struggle in school. This is the first part of a two-part interview. Come back next week for the conclusion.

 

What influence did neuroscience and research in this area have on your work in test development?

Steven Feifer: I have spent most of my career as a school psychologist trying to coalesce the fields of neuropsychology and education. I suppose it stemmed from my utter frustration in trying to explain learning simply through the lens of an IQ test score. After all, when was the last time somebody wrote a meaningful goal and objective on an IEP because a psychologist said a child’s Full Scale IQ was 94?

Why was an instrument like the FAR needed?

SF: The FAR was created for a number of reasons. First, I am especially grateful to PAR for recognizing the need for an educational assessment tool based upon a neuropsychological theory: the gradiental model of brain functioning. Second, I think the FAR represents a new wave of assessment instruments that does not simply document where a student is achieving, but explains why. This allows practitioners to better inform intervention decision making. Third, with the reauthorization of IDEA in 2004, school psychologists and educational diagnosticians no longer have to use a discrepancy model to identify a learning disability. However, most examiners are a bit leery about switching to a processing strengths and weaknesses model because of the sheer complexity and loose structure of this approach. The FAR identifies the direct processes involved with reading and makes the process easy without having to rely on a cross battery approach. Lastly, many states have now required schools to screen for dyslexia in grades K-2. The FAR Screening Form is ideal to function in this regard.

How did using a brain-based perspective guide you when developing the subtests and subtypes for the FAR and the FAM?

SF: I have conducted more than 600 professional workshops worldwide to both educators and psychologists. Most educators readily understand that there are different kinds of reading disorders, and therefore different kinds of interventions are necessary.

By discussing reading, math, or written language from a brain-based educational perspective, I try to point out specific pathways in the brain that support phonemic awareness, decoding, fluency, comprehension, and other attributes inherent in the reading process. I also illustrate what a dyslexic brain looks like before an intervention and then after an intervention.

Cognitive neuroscience greatly validates the work of our educators and reading specialists. In addition, cognitive neuroscience also provides the foundation for various subtypes of reading disorders based upon the integrity of targeted neurodevelopmental pathways.

Come back next week for the second part of this interview!

 

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone
ThinkstockPhotos-480217958

The RIAS-2 is Now Available on the Training Portal!

Interested in learning more about the new Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales, Second Edition (RIAS-2)? Now you can enroll in a free training course on the RIAS-2 through PAR’s Training Portal. Whether you have already purchased the RIAS-2 and want to learn more about it or are looking for more information to help you make your purchase decision, this training course will give you a quick overview of the product, explain what changes were made in this edition, and provide insight into scoring and administration. And, best of all, the Training Portal is always available, so you can get training on your schedule.

The RIAS-2 can be used to assess intelligence and its major components in individuals 3 to 94 years.

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™), the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™), the Academic Achievement Battery™ (AAB™), and more!

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone
Many small and black air bubbles over a white background

National Alcohol Screening Day is April 7

Approximately 14 million Americans have alcohol disorders. As prevalent as the disorder is, much can be done to assist those who are dependent on alcohol, and their loved ones.

In 1999, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration partnered to create a community-based intervention to target alcohol abuse: National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD). Screening is held annually on the first Thursday of the first full week of April. For 2016, screening will be held on April 7. NASD’s objectives include:

  • Educating the public on the effect of alcohol on overall health
  • Administering anonymous, free alcohol screenings to the public
  • Providing referrals for those whose screening determined their drinking is at an unhealthy level

Thousands of organizations nationwide offer either on-site and online screenings to college students, military personnel, and the general public. Each organization receives the appropriate resources to help them conduct the program, such as videos, posters, educational handouts, and screening forms. On the day of screening, a 10-question screening scale is administered that was developed to identify those who consume alcohol at hazardous or harmful levels. Those who score above a specified cut-off score are referred for further evaluation or treatment.

Those interested can get started by visiting the website, How Do You Score? There they can take an anonymous self-assessment or search for on-site screening locations, which are located in screening centers across the United States. Those who are screened will be asked a series of questions to determine whether symptoms of alcohol abuse are present and whether medical help is required. At the end of the session, they receive immediate feedback and will be provided resources to assist them in getting the help they need.

At-risk drinking can be identified based on how much a person drinks on any given day, and how often a person has a heavy drinking day. In general, the following limits identify at-risk drinking:

  • Men: More than 4 drinks in a day or 14 per week
  • Women: More than 3 drinks in a day or 7 per week

As with any illness, early detection is the key to increasing chances of swift recovery. Alcohol abuse is misunderstood and is, therefore, often not considered a legitimate disorder that can be treated. National recognition goes a long way toward educating the public and reducing the negative effects of alcohol abuse for those affected and their families.

Share your thoughts on alcohol abuse risks and screening. PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone
imsis400-019

Using cognitive neuroscience to understand why kids struggle in school

The term dyslexia has been a part of the education lexicon for decades. When it was first “discovered” in the 1970s, there were no technological processes yet in place to prove it was a brain-based condition.

However, writes Martha Burns, PhD, in a Science of Learning blog, “psychologists, neurologists, and special educators …. assumed dyslexia [had] a neurological basis. In fact, the term ‘dyslexia’ actually stems from the Greek ‘alexia,’ which literally means ‘loss of the word’ and was the diagnostic term used when adults lost the ability to read after suffering a brain injury.”

At the time, the cause, “was deemed not important,” continues Burns. “Rather, the goal was to develop and test interventions and measure their outcomes without an effort to relate the interventions to the underlying causation.”

However, using neuroscience to pinpoint exactly why a student struggles in reading or math can help educators come up with specific and effective interventions.

School psychologist Steven G. Feifer, DEd, ABSNP, became interested in neuroscience as it relates to reading when, early in his career, he had an opportunity to evaluate a very impaired student named Jason.

“His IQ was 36,” recalls Dr. Feifer, “but he was an incredible reader.   This was pretty difficult to explain using a discrepancy model paradigm, which falsely implies that an IQ score represents a student’s potential.  I made a concerted paradigm shift, and tried to find a more scientifically rigorous explanation for Jason’s amazing skills.  This quickly led me to the research library at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

“As it turned out, Jason was quite easy to explain,” he continues. “He had a condition called hyperlexia. After much research, I presented information about the neural mechanisms underscoring hyperlexia at Jason’s IEP meeting.  The IEP team was incredibly receptive to the information and immediately amended Jason’s IEP so he received inclusionary services in a regular fifth-grade classroom.

“Jason turned out to be the single highest speller in fifth grade. I was convinced that discussing how a child learns from a brain-based educational perspective, and not solely an IQ perspective, was the best way to understanding the dynamics of learning and inform intervention decision making.

“The following year, I enrolled in a neuropsychology training program and was fortunate enough to study with the top neuropsychologists in the country.”

Dr. Feifer, who has 19 years of experience as a school psychologist, was voted the Maryland School Psychologist of the Year in 2008 and the National School Psychologist of the Year in 2009. He is a diplomate in school neuropsychology and currently works as a faculty instructor in the American Board of School Neuropsychology (ABSNP) school neuropsychology training program.  He continues to evaluate children in private practice at the Monocacy Neurodevelopmental Center in Frederick, Maryland, and consults with numerous school districts throughout the country.

Dr. Feifer has written several books and two assessments that examine learning disabilities from a neurodevelopmental perspective—the Feifer Assessment of Reading (FAR) and the Feifer Assessment of Mathematics (FAM).

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone
ThinkstockPhotos-514616989

Now Available! The Feifer Assessment of Mathematics!

FAM_ManualCover2Identifying and addressing characteristics of a math learning disability gives clinicians and educators the tools they need to develop appropriate interventions specific to the individual child, so he or she can succeed in math.

The Feifer Assessment of Mathematics™ (FAM™) isolates, measures, and quantifies three subtypes of developmental dyscalculia to explain—from a neurodevelopmental perspective—why a child may have difficulty in math.

The 19 subtests of the FAM help determine not only if a child has the characteristics of a general math learning disability (MLD), but also his or her specific subtype of dyscalculia:

  • Procedural: A deficit in the ability to count, order, or sequence numbers or mathematical procedures.
  • Verbal: An inability to use language-based procedures to assist with arithmetic skills.
  • Semantic: A core deficit in both visual-spatial and conceptual components.

Created by Steven G. Feifer, DEd, author of the Feifer Assessment of Reading™ (FAR™), the FAM is:

  • Unique: It’s the only math assessment that identifies specifically WHY a student is struggling in math by identifying his or her specific type of dyscalculia.
  • Fast: The available Screening Form takes just 15 minutes, and comprehensive testing can be completed in less than an hour.
  • Easy: Administration and scoring are straightforward and streamlined.

Take advantage of introductory pricing! Order now and get the FAM Comprehensive Kit for only $445 or the FAM Screening Form Kit for just $235!

To learn more or to order your FAM kit, visit www.parinc.com or call 1.800.331.8378.

Share this post: Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on StumbleUponEmail this to someone

Creating Connections. Changing Lives.