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What is PARtalks?

PARtalks is a FREE one-day lineup of virtual sessions offering you the opportunity to exchange ideas, interact with experts in school psychology, and earn NASP CPD credits*.


The pandemic put mental health issues in the forefront of the American consciousness. As you prepare for the return of in-person schooling, PARtalks offers today’s most in-demand speakers in school psychology.

 

Welcome/Keynote address, 10 to 10:45 a.m. ET

Healing Together: Mental Health, Trauma, and Resilience in the Wake of a Global Pandemic

Presented by Kristin Greco, PAR CEO, and Kirby Wycoff, PsyD, NCSP

Following welcoming remarks from Kristin Greco, Dr. Wycoff will discuss emergent research around the mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and how resilience and connectedness can help communities heal.

Kristin Greco, MBA, is the Chief Executive Officer for PAR. Kristin is responsible for the development and implementation of the company’s core strategic goals and objectives and ensures that the company stays true to its core values and mission.

Kirby Wycoff, PsyD, is a nationally certified school psychologist and director of the Community Trauma Counseling Program and an Associate Professor in the Department of Counseling and Behavioral Health at Thomas Jefferson University.


Session 1: 11 a.m. to noon ET 

The Neuropsychology of Stress and Trauma: How to Develop a Trauma-Informed Assessment

Presented by Steven G. Feifer, DEd, and Terri Sisson, EdS

This presentation will explore the neural underpinnings of stress, trauma, and emotional dysfunction in children and its impact on learning.

Steven G. Feifer, DEd, is a neuropsychologist and internationally renowned speaker and author in the field of learning disabilities. He is the author of the FAR, the FAM, and the FAW, and is currently developing a test that evaluates stress and trauma in youth.

Terri Sisson, EdS, is a licensed school psychologist and educational assessment advisor for national accounts at PAR. She has more than 20 years of experience as a school psychologist in public schools. Terri has held several leadership positions in NASP and is a past president of the Virginia Association of School Psychologists.


Session 2: 1 to 2 p.m. ET 

Learning Disability Evaluations During and After a Pandemic

Presented by Peter K. Isquith, PhD, and Theo Miron, PsyS, NCSP

This presentation will address several challenges practitioners face when evaluating students after more than a year of disrupted instruction, further complicated by restrictions on typical assessment processes and settings.

Peter K. Isquith, PhD, is a practicing pediatric neuropsychologist on staff at Dartmouth Medical School and Antioch New England Graduate School. Coauthor of the BRIEF2 and BRIEF2 ADHD, he specializes in disorders of self-regulation in children and adolescents.

Theo Miron, PsyS, is a nationally certified school psychologist, a licensed specialist in school psychology, and a regional manager for educational assessment at PAR. He has 18 years of experience as a school psycholo­gist and is a member of the Texas Association of School Psychologists.


Session 3: 2:15 to 3:15 p.m. 

Ethics in Psychological Tele-Assessment with Children

Presented by A. Jordan Wright, PhD, ABAP, and Carrie Champ Morera, PsyD, NCSP, LP

This presentation will discuss ethical considerations that practitioners need to keep in mind while conduct­ing teleassessment sessions. Topics include practitioner training and competence, and steps to ensure the client’s safety and appropriateness for telehealth.

A. Jordan Wright, PhD, is a core faculty member in the Counseling Psychology PhD program at New York University, where he also directs the Center for Counseling and Community Wellbeing, NYU’s training clinic.

Carrie Champ Morera, PsyD, is a licensed psychologist, nationally certified school psychologist, a professional counselor, a board-certified telemental health provider, and the lead project and content director at PAR. She has 19 years of experience in the mental health and education fields.


Don’t miss this opportunity to interact with experts in school psychology and earn NASP CPD credits. Register now!

 

 

*Participants wishing to receive NASP continuing professional development credit must attend the entire live webinar and complete the post-webinar evaluation form. PAR is approved by the National Association of School Psychologists to provide continuing education for psychologists. PAR maintains responsibility for the program and its content. PAR’s NASP APS Provider Number is 1051.

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This week is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, a time to address the mental health needs of children and teach them to care for their own mental health as well as the mental health of those around them. 

It is never the wrong time to communicate the importance of prioritizing mental health and offering acceptance, support, and respect for those who are facing mental health challenges. 

Get involved 

  • Download materials from the National Federation of Families, which offers age-appropriate activities and worksheets for students from Pre-K through high school. 

  • Read a book about mental health topics to a child. The Federation of Families of South Carolina has put together a reading list focusing on a number of different mental health topics at various reading levels.  

  • Join “Flip the Script Live,” a free fireside chat with children’s mental health experts from around the country. 

  • Participate in a virtual event sponsored by the Youth Mental Health Project. With events ranging from glitter jar making to a live concert, there’s something for everyone. 

PAR offers many assessments geared specifically toward children’s mental health concerns. Learn more about some of our most popular products for school psychology

 

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Already the most reliable platform in the industry, PARiConnect continues to grow by adding features that complement your online practice. One of our newest additions to PARiConnect is the introduction of the interactive bell curve, where you can:

  • Personalize the interactive bell curve.
  • Input multiple scores.
  • Quickly assess and visually capture how a client scores in relation to others.
  • Easily explain assessment results to clients/parents.

The interactive bell curve can be accessed within the PARiConnect Quick Links section.

Don’t have a PARiConnect account? Register for free and get 3 free assessments and reports.

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Your students and clients deserve a worry-free testing experience—one that doesn’t cause additional concern about cleanliness. But when you’re administering tests that require the use of stimuli, the last thing you want to do is spend an extra hour of your day wiping down hundreds of stimulus pages.

Our new In-Person e-Stimulus Books are the answer. Administered via tablet, they…

  • are easy to keep clean—just sanitize your tablet between sessions
  • are equivalent to their paper counterparts
  • are simple to administer
  • include step-by-step instructions
  • reduce the need to carry multiple paper stimulus books
  • are available for our most popular products, including the Feifer family and the RIAS™-2, and more will be added throughout 2021

In addition, e-Manuals can help you build a digital library of testing resources, accessible from anywhere. e-Manuals are downloadable digital versions of PAR professional manuals, and we offer more than 100 of them for your convenience. (We’re adding more all the time!) Downloading e-Manuals is super easy, but we’ve created a handy video that provides all the information you need to install and use them.

Related article: Advice on teleassessment

Plus, for a limited time, we’re allowing you to go digital for free! Access the the In-Person e-Stimulus Book version of any print stimulus book you own and the e-Manual version of any print manual you own—at no charge! The print version must have been purchased prior to publication of the digital version. Just contact Customer Support at 1.800.331.8378 or via email at cs@parinc.com to request. This offer expires on May 28, so don’t delay!

Visit our e-stimulus page for the latest updates and information on In-Person e-Stimulus Books. For more information on e-Manuals, check out our list of available e-Manuals.

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April 12–16 is National Youth Violence Prevention Week, a time to raise awareness of effective strategies to prevent or reduce youth violence. Founded by Students Against Violence Everywhere (SAVE), a part of Sandy Hook Promise, the focus of this week is to decrease the potential for school violence by promoting meaningful student involvement, providing education on topics of bullying and violence, and offering opportunities to make our communities safer for all. 

Learn more about how you can get involved: 

Encourage the positives by recognizing those in your community who work to create inclusivity and foster a safe, positive, and friendly school or community. SAVE offers tons of ideas on how students and adults can use this week to encourage empathy, connection, and outreach. 

Download “A Comprehensive Technical Package for the Prevention of Youth Violence and Associated Risk Behaviors” from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website and learn strategies your community can put into place to prevent youth violence. 

Understand how prevalent youth violence is in your community. One out of every five high school students reported being bullied at school in the last year, and homicide is the third leading cause of death for individuals ages 10–24 years. Youth violence is a serious problem that requires everyone to focus on prevention. The CDC has compiled a list of youth violence resources with reports, articles, and data on the topics of school violence, bullying, and more.   

Educate yourself and others on the signs of violent behavior. This article from the American Psychological Association can help you recognize warning signs. 

 

“Creating Connections. Changing Lives.” It isn’t just a slogan here at PAR. It is part of our commitment to creating a better world. We   offer several tools designed to assess risk of violence in youth, including the Structured Assessment of Violence Risk in Youth™ (SAVRY™) and the Psychosocial Evaluation & Threat Risk Assessment™ (PETRA™), as well as several measures that can help students who have experienced trauma, such as the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children™ (TSCYC™) and the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children™ (TSCC™)

 

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The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in the United States has risen from 1 in 125 children in 2010 to 1 in 59 children in 2020. It is more important than ever that individuals with autism, as well as their families, friends, schools, and communities receive support, services, and acceptance.  

How can you participate? 

Get the facts. The Autism Society of America provides a list with facts and statistics about autism.  

Take action. Autism Speaks is asking those who wish to show their support to make a commitment to kindness. You may register on the website to participate in daily acts of kindness and fundraising following one of two paths: Learn with Kindness for schools or Lead with Kindness for workplaces. Each day offers a fun, interactive calendar designed to encourage acceptance, understanding, and inclusion. 

Personalize the impact of autism. Read firsthand accounts on the impact autism has had on a variety of individuals. This site offers personal stories and can help individuals to truly understand the many ways autism impacts people—whether they are living with autism, are supporters and donors, or researchers. You can even filter by location to see the stories of people who live near you! 

Share the message. A great library of downloadable social media images is available for your personal use here. Use #LightUpWithKindness and #KindnessCounts hashtags on your posts! 

 

Proper identification and early intervention are critical when it comes to an ASD diagnosis. Learn more about the PDD Behavior Inventory™ (PDDBI™) family of products and how it can help screen, diagnose, monitor, and intervene throughout the life span. 

 

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The Hopkins Verbal Learning Test–Revised™ (HVLT-R™) and the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test–Revised™ (BVMT-R™) are now available for scoring on PARiConnect. The HVLT-R assesses verbal learning and memory, while the BVMT-R measures visuospatial memory. Both tests are neuropsychological assessments that can be used together as part of a battery. 

HVLT-R and BVMT-R Score Reports generated by PARiConnect provide: 

  • A score summary table that provides raw scores, T scores, and percentiles 

  • A raw score profile 

  • T-score profile 

Save valuable clinical time by letting PARiConnect handle the scoring. Now you can easily score these assessments online and without the expense of software or licenses. Learn more about the HVLT-R and the BVMT-R now! 

Don’t have a PARiConnect account? It’s easy to sign up! Learn more 

Interested in research conducted using the HVLT-R and BVMT-R? Click here and here to see our lists of research articles.  
 

 

Related article: New on PARiConnect: Digital Library  

 

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Bark in the Park, an annual fundraiser for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, is one of PAR’s most popular staff events. It brings together our mission of giving back with our love of animals. In 2020, it was our final in-person group event before the pandemic and quarantine.

The event was virtual this year due to COVID concerns, but that didn’t stop the PARty Animals from rolling up their sleeves and raising money for Tampa’s homeless, hungry, and helpless animals.

Neighborhood walks coupled with a robust fundraising campaign led to an all-time high of more than $11,000 in donations. PARty Animals Captain Melanie Casey, PAR’s Communications Manager, and CEO Kristin Greco attended a scaled-down event at the recently renovated HSTB shelter on March 27 where they learned, following a tight race, that they were this year’s “Top Dog” fundraisers.

The HSTB raised more than $125,000 overall, which will help house, heal, and feed more than 500 animals. Learn more about the event and HSTB at humanesocietytampa.org.

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This week’s blog was contributed by Jeremy Sharp, PhD, licensed psychologist and clinical director at the Colorado Center for Assessment & Counseling and the host of the Testing Psychologist Podcast. Dr. Sharp earned his undergraduate degree in experimental psychology from the University of South Carolina and earned his master’s degree and doctorate in counseling psychology from Colorado State University. He specializes in psychological and neuropsychological evaluation of children and adolescents and provides private practice consulting for psychologists and other mental health professionals who want to start or grow psychological testing services in their practices. He lives in Fort Collins, Colorado with his wife (also a therapist) and two kids.

First, what IS trauma? The DSM-5 definition is easy to find, but the very first requirement for a PTSD diagnosis (“Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence…”) does not capture the broad range of experiences that may lead to a trauma response. Right away, we find the categorical nature of the DSM-5 may not adequately conceptualize or capture the huge continuum of traumatic experiences. I think we can all agree that not all “traumatic” experiences involve exposure to death, serious injury, or sexual violence. What about neglect? What about emotional or psychological abuse? It is necessary to further define trauma and the many ways it can occur. One way to break it down a little further is to distinguish between acute (“Big T”) trauma and developmental or complex (“little T”) trauma. 

Acute trauma refers to a discrete event that occurs at a single point in time. With acute trauma, one can generally identify a clear change in functioning from before the event to after the event. An acute trauma may be something like a sexual assault, a car accident, or being held up at gunpoint. Complex trauma is more complicated and refers to ongoing, recurrent traumatic experiences. When these recurrent traumatic experiences happen during childhood, the collective experience is called developmental trauma.


Related post: Assess the impact of the pandemic on kids—the PASS-12 is now available!

 

Why is this distinction relevant for us as clinicians? Because it affects how we assess and treat individuals. We know that individuals with acute trauma typically may have a quicker path to recovery, while individuals with complex trauma tend to show more chronic symptoms. Acute trauma is also easier to assess in the sense that we are only gathering information about one event, with a relatively clear before and after, while complex trauma tends to be multilayered.

Regarding the assessment process specifically, detailed questions about trauma should be included in nearly all diagnostic interviews. As mentioned earlier, many parents and individuals can overlook or downplay potentially traumatic experiences. Kids also may not share their traumatic experiences with their parents or others unless asked directly. There are a couple of ways to get at these concerns without coming across as too heavy-handed. One is to say something like, “Tell me about some of the most important events in your life” or “What are the top three hardest/worst things that you can remember?” or “Have you held any secrets for a long time that you’d like to share?” Note that forensic interviewing is a clear subspecialty in our field. Do NOT practice outside the scope of your expertise! Another way to explore these questions is to use a broadband questionnaire as a guide for topics/events to inquire about. If your client shares anything that warrants further exploration, you can integrate a narrower questionnaire to drill down on specific trauma symptoms.

Moving further down the path of the assessment process, it is important to think through the relationship between trauma and other mental health diagnoses. A question that comes up often is, how to separate trauma from ADHD/autism/anxiety, etc. As Dr. Maggie Sibley and Dr. Julia Strait noted on past Testing Psychologist podcast episodes, maybe we don’t. Maybe we need to stop thinking about how to separate these diagnoses, because it is nearly impossible to do so, particularly in the case of developmental trauma. Even going by the DSM-5 definition of PTSD or acute stress disorder, there are many PTSD symptoms that occur in other diagnoses. These symptoms include repetitive play (autism), intrusive memories/thoughts (OCD), distress when exposed to certain cues (specific phobia), poor memory (ADHD), and alterations in cognition (depression, anxiety, ADHD), just to name a few. Unless we have a clear picture of functioning before the trauma started, it is extremely challenging to know if these symptoms “belong” to the trauma or something else. In these (and all) cases, gathering an accurate history is crucial to establishing context to interpret an individual’s symptoms and assessment results. 

In cases when an accurate history is not available from the primary caregiver, clinicians may need to expand the scope of the evaluation and incorporate a broader record review or interviews with additional people in the client’s life. Even then, we sometimes must simply do our best with what we’ve got to come up with meaningful conceptualization and recommendations.

Ultimately, we want our assessment to guide treatment and provide helpful recommendations for our clients. By conducting a thorough clinical interview; utilizing well-standardized assessment instruments; and providing realistic, evidence-based recommendations, testing psychologists play a vital role in helping individuals identify and heal from their adverse experiences.

Catch up with the Testing Psychologist podcast on their website, via Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or on Spotify.
 

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The PAI Plus takes the existing PAI items and gives users an updated way to interpret the data. Using the original PAI items, the new report offers: 

  • DSM-5® update: Diagnostic possibilities align with the most up-to-date criteria. 

  • Alternative Model for Personality Disorders Profile: An optional new profile scores the PAI in accordance with the model. 

  • Additional supplemental indices:  15 new supplemental indices plus supplemental clinical indicators provide additional profile information. 

  • Context-specific norm groups: Profile overlays for new normative groups can be compared to the examinee’s profile. 

 

Related post: Now on the Training Portal: PAI Plus webinar! 

 

The PAI-SP offers exclusive features 

The PAI Plus Interpretive Explorer, only available on the PAI-SP, enables you to interact with PAI reports to access definitions, review supplemental indexes, and compare client data with normative and clinical samples to offer additional insights into your client.  

Further additions allow users to compare client scores to context-specific norm groups via z scores. 

Order or upgrade today!