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PARiConnect is already the most reliable platform in the industry, but our new improvements make it even easier for you to navigate the transition to remote administration.

Digital library

Manage your digital assets easier! With centralized storage provided by the digital library, all e-Manuals you have purchased from PAR are now available in one convenient location. Simply log into your PARiConnect account to access your materials. With this added flexibility, you can now access your manuals from most internet-connected devices—no matter where you are!

Interactive bell curve

Use the interactive bell curve to quickly assess and visually capture scores and see how they relate to  others. This tool is a great way to help explain assessment results to clients.

Both the digital library and the interactive bell curve can be accessed within the PARiConnect Quick Links section.

Don’t have a PARiConnect account? Register for free!

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Have you found forms from outdated assessments taking up space your office? Many Customers are unsure what to do with unused or obsolete test protocols or materials from prior versions of an instrument. Rather than letting old forms collect dust on a shelf, PAR recommends that you destroy and discard these materials in a secure manner. 

If you or your institution does not have access to a secure recycling program, PAR is happy to help! Simply e-mail custsup@parinc.com or call our Customer Support line at 1.800.331.8378 and a specialist will help you obtain a prepaid return label so we may discard the materials through our own corporate recycling program. This program is available only to our Customers in the U.S. 

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Earlier this year, PAR welcomed A. Jordan Wright, PhD, for a webinar concerning best practices in teleassessment. Dr. Wright is the Director of the Center for Counseling and Community Wellbeing at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, where he also coordinates the psychological assessment curriculum in the Counseling Psychology program. He is the author of the upcoming Essentials of Psychological Tele-Assessment. As teleassessment has become an increasingly important part of many clinician’s lives, we are republishing selected questions posed by webinar attendees looking for ways to incorporate teleassessment into their practices. For a full list of the questions asked of Dr. Wright and his responses, click here.  

 

Q: What are your thoughts about using personal protective equipment (PPE) during assessments? If we use PPE, is it okay to change the order in which subtests are administered?  

A: Currently, we have absolutely no research into the potential impact of using PPE on the data that emerge during an assessment. Remember, the more you veer off from standardized administration, the greater the threat to validity. So, changing the order of subtests adds one large variable that changes standardized administration procedures. PPE adds another (and in a way that is likely to be quite significant).  

 

Q:    My school district is asking us to only report confidence intervals due to breaking standardization with PPE during in-person testing. What are your thoughts on only reporting confidence intervals?  

A:    Because we know there are not systematic effects of teleassessment, confidence intervals are helpful (they can remind us and readers that scores are imperfect). However, with PPE, we don’t have research studies to confirm where children's scores would likely fall, so even confidence intervals can be misleading.  

 

Q:    Is there a disclaimer about teleassessment that could be used in reports? Is there specific language that should be used to make it more legally defensible when doing teleassessment?  

A:    Mine is evolving. Here's the gist of the language I include: 1. It should be noted that the evaluation was conducted using teleassessment (remote) procedures. 2. It is known that administering tests in this way may have some effects on the validity of the data that emerge from the tests. 3. However, the teleassessment was conducted in alignment with the best and most current research evidence to elicit data that constitute a valid representation of the client's functioning.  

 

Q:    In your experience, how are teleassessment reports received by schools, testing boards like ETS, etc.?  

A:    Many school districts have developed their own rules. Check with your school district and the state psychological associations in your state.  Advocacy is a role that we as psychologists need to take on so kids can get resources they need. If a school district or company has a blanket statement that they will not accept teleassessments, work toward educating them about the evidence base of conducting teleassessments.  

 

Q:    What information can we share with parents, families, and schools about equivalence and validity?  

A:    We have reviewed the current state of equivalence/validity research across all tests for the Essentials of Psychological Tele-Assessment book. It is of course fair and ethical to discuss the limitations of the evidence base with the interested parties. But you can also summarize the current state of support (for the most part, across IQ and achievement tests, research has shown very little, if any, impact of conducting testing remotely on scores that emerge).  

 

Q:    What’s your best advice when remote testing ELL students with chaotic settings at home (lots of siblings, distractions, limited ability from parent to support)?  

A:    This is really tough, and it's a social justice issue. Obviously, we cannot only provide services to those with “perfect” home environments. A remote, in-office setup is one way that we can balance the safety of tele-assessment with better controlling the environment. If you set up an office with a laptop, any manipulatives and response booklets, etc., and have students come into that office to do their remote assessment, this provides a much more controlled environment. This is also the solution when students/clients do not have access to the necessary technology (e.g., a stable internet connection).  

 

Want help with remote and teleassessment? We can help here!  

Want to view the entire webinar? Visit the PAR Training Portal!  

 

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This week’s blog was written by Lindsey O’Brennan, PhD, a licensed psychologist and owner of Morningstar Wellness.

In March 2020, the majority of Americans were faced with the stressful and uncomfortable task of transitioning work to be entirely remote. No more were the days of enduring the rush hour commute or booking flights for work conferences. Instead we spent our energy buying and learning new online platforms and software. The titles of mom and dad were suddenly synonymous with teacher, coach, and classmate. We carved out space for a home office and, if possible, a sense of privacy from family members (our new coworkers). The after work happy hours were replaced with Netflix binging (thank you “Tiger King” and “Ozark” for your life lessons!), learning how to make sourdough bread, or taking our dogs for yet another walk to get out of the house.

The initial phase of lockdown was difficult on even the best of days. Yet there was a sense of unity during those early months. I felt closer to my neighbors who now became the only other people I physically saw beside my immediate family. I relished our neighborhood walks and time spent in the backyard as a family. I frequently saw “We’re in this together” and “Kindness matters” signs in the windows of closed-up shops or spray painted along my neighborhood streets. There was a sense of hope that America was going to get through this. There was also an underlying optimism that we would be waving goodbye to COVID by summer. 

Well hindsight is 2020 (not sure that saying holds up anymore). Despite our desires for a quick vaccine, COVID remained ever steady in our world through the summer and fall months. However, noticeable things were changing across the nation in terms of the reopening of businesses and school districts and the growing need for mental health services.

Related Article: ASSESS THE IMPACT OF THE PANDEMIC ON KIDS

As a psychologist who works both in private practice and with local school districts, I had to decide how and when I was going to return to work following quarantine. During the initial lockdown, I moved my entire business over to telehealth. Because of this, about 25% of my clients—particularly school-aged clients—decided to take a break from therapy until they could be in-person again. I frequently heard from parents that kids were “simply Zoom-ed out” and didn’t want to stare at a computer screen while yet another adult talked to them. I also noticed I was not bringing my best self into the telehealth therapy sessions. I would catch myself glancing down at the clock more frequently. I hated knowing that my inbox was one click away from the telehealth browser window, thus requiring me to mentally refocus more often.

Part of what I love so much about therapy is creating a sacred space for the client where they can unload their emotional baggage. But with telehealth, we did not share the same physical space, so the distractions of the real world felt ever present for me and my clients. It came to a point where for me, the benefits of telehealth (ease, safety, convenience) were not outweighing the risk of contracting COVID-19. My focus was then to develop a plan for how I could safely offer therapy to clients in person and via telehealth depending on their needs and comfort level. 

Related Article: E-MANUALS: CONVENIENT DIGITAL TOOLS TO HELP YOU

I want to point out that my decision to return to my office full-time was a personal one. I’ve talked with a multitude of colleagues—some of whom returned to their office months before me and others who continue to solely provide telehealth services. No matter where you land on the spectrum of remote versus in-person work, here is some food for thought on how to navigate the path to a new normal:  

  1. Listen to your gut instincts on when and how to return to work. People’s perceptions of safety vary greatly. What I may deem to be a “safe” environment may appear to be riddled with landmines to someone else. When it comes to COVID-19, age, weight, race, pre-existing health conditions, access to healthcare, and family members’ risk level all contribute to our comfort level. Beside these factors, the decision to stay home may feel deeply personal and tied to greater beliefs about public health and prevention science. Reflect on what matters most to you and make a choice that aligns with your values, not the values imposed by someone else.
  2. Create systems and safeguards that make you feel safe. A key factor in our perceptions of safety is our sense of control over a situation. The more perceived control we have, the more likely we feel safe. Discuss the safety protocols that have been put in place and advocate for additional precautions as needed. If you are self-employed, design your own protocols regarding masks, temperature checks, screening checklists, etc., that allow you to feel comfortable. In turn, this will allow your clients to feel comfortable.
  3. Be prepared to feel uncomfortable. The initial phase of going back to work may feel overwhelming, especially if you have been away from the office for several months. You may be surprised at how drained or energized you feel after meeting with clients or coworkers in person. You may also feel a little starstruck when you get to see the people from your Zoom calls in real life again! They may look, talk, or act different than you remembered, and they are likely thinking the same about you. If possible, take your time transitioning back into the office. Try going in 1–2 days a week and working up to 4–5 days to help with the initial shock to the system.

Related article: Read Dr. O’Brennan’s blog on her initial shift to telehealth services.

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Mark Ruiz, PhD, ABPP, is a licensed psychologist at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital and coauthor of the Personality Assessment Inventory Interpretive Report for Correctional Settings (PAI-CS). He specializes in competency to stand trial, mental state at the time of offense, violence and sexual recidivism risk assessment, and sentencing mitigation. In today’s blog, PAR Project Director Sierra Iwanicki, PhD, talks to him about the use of the Personality Assessment Inventory™ (PAI®) in forensic evaluations, how he became drawn to the field, and where he thinks forensic psychology is going in the future.


How did you become involved in forensic evaluations?

It happened by accident. During my undergraduate and graduate training, I had brief experiences working with juvenile and adult offenders. I took some workshops about competency and sanity evaluations through the University of South Florida. Following the workshops, some opportunities to do court-ordered evaluations opened in the county I was in and it took off from there.

Why is it helpful to include a measure of personality in these evaluations?

Psychological testing that can address multiple clinical issues in an objective manner adds credibility to any evaluation. Judges, juries, and law enforcement often are not reassured when a clinician makes an opinion based solely on the words that came out of the client’s mouth. “Because he told me so” is not typically a persuasive argument. Psychological testing backed by science tends to be well received in the court of law.

Describe your use of the PAI in forensic evaluations.

I typically use the PAI in risk assessment and sentencing mitigation evaluations. The evidence-based validity scales are important for gauging the client’s approach to the evaluation. The PAI’s broad coverage of mental health and substance use disorders is also helpful in clarifying the diagnostic picture. Additionally, the well-validated Antisocial Features (ANT) and Aggression (AGG) scales are central to opinions of future risk for reoffending and violence.

What makes the PAI unique from other instruments?

The PAI’s ability to measure personality pathology and substance use independently is critical in many forensic evaluations. The growing body of research validating the use of various PAI scales, most notably Negative Impression Management (NIM) and Antisocial Features (ANT), is helpful in generating persuasive opinions in the forensic setting.

How do you see the field of forensic psychology changing in the next 10 years?

The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an emphasis on telehealth. As such, technologies to ensure the availability and integrity of psychological testing will be very important. Forensic clinicians who typically work in correctional or criminal justice settings are hampered by a lack of access to facilities and an inability to do face-to-face encounters due to the infection control protocols in place. Even in situations where access is available, many clients do not have the know-how or computer access to take a psychological test remotely. Having the capacity to administer tests via telehealth and to ensure the validity of the results will be crucial for forensic psychology.

What advice would you give to anyone interested in pursuing forensic psychology?

Forensic psychology is like scotch—you must have a taste for it. Attorneys play by a different set of rules than mental health professionals, with the main goal of the legal system being to sharpen conflict to resolve a particular issue. Unconditional positive regard is not often practiced in the courtroom. Psychologists are not typically comfortable with the baseline level of hostility and conflict present in the courtroom.  However, the role of the legal system is to resolve conflicts in pursuit of justice; any psychologist interested in stepping into that forum should be ready for the culture that comes with it.  

What is one thing we can glean from psychological science to improve mental health outcomes during the current collective pandemic crisis?

I think psychology has emphasized the importance of human connection, something that has taken a big hit with the social distancing and protective protocols that come with our response to the pandemic. Efforts to maintain connections during this time are more crucial than ever, particularly for the elderly and for vulnerable populations that have been isolated for extended periods of time.

Related article: Mendeley bibliographies available for the PAI!

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School psychologists are facing a school year full of unknowns. PAR reached out to three different professionals to find out how they are adapting and what advice they have for others as they embark on a very different kind of school year.

Tamara Engle-Weaver, MS

Certified school psychologist, Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13 Sensory Impaired Program, Pennsylvania

I have classrooms located in more than one school district. Our districts are creating their own plans for the school year. Some are doing hybrid; some are face-to-face. Given that our classrooms are intermediate unit special education classrooms, they will most likely be operating 5 days per week with face-to-face instruction.

I plan to use a lot of technology this year. I will be trying to utilize virtual methodology as much as I can to reduce the amount of time I am in the classroom. I don’t feel the schools will be encouraging additional bodies to be in the classrooms. I will try to create social skill videos for my students that teachers can present at their leisure.

When you are on an airplane, they tell you to take care of yourself before you help the person you are with. I think that will be critical this year because there will be many students and staff who will be struggling with all aspects of coping with this virus. If we are not in a healthy mental state, we will not be able to help others achieve one either. We all need to do our best to care for ourselves and be compassionate and patient with others.

Maria Isabel Soriano-Lemen, PhD, RPsy
Director, Center of Psychological Extension and Research Services, Philippines

We are doing 100% online classes this year here in the Philippines. I usually ask students to work with a partner to come up with a psychological report that includes these areas of functioning: cognitive, psychological, emotional, behavioral, interpersonal, and interpersonal. So that requires them to work with different tests. I am at a loss at how to teach students to score their test results. I’m also concerned with access to testing materials and how students will be supervised. At this time, I really don’t know what to do. Classes will start in November.

Heather Bravener, DEd

School psychologist, Duncannon, Pennsylvania

At this time, parents have been given the choice to enroll in either the district’s cyber program or attend school for face-to-face instruction 5 days a week. We are a small district with three buildings on the same campus with graduating class sizes of approximately 140. The area’s COVID numbers are currently in the low range, which allows for the reopening of school with face-to-face instruction while implementing recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus.

My colleague and I are determining how to best complete assessments with students for the upcoming year in light of the pandemic. Considerations include wearing a mask, use of a plexiglass divider, a pencil for each student to use and then take with them, using a plastic screen to cover the manual, and use of disinfectant wipes. We are also considering the use of digital assessments.

Once schools closed in March, I had to balance completing my job at home while supporting my daughter during remote learning. It was quite a challenge and I can empathize with parents out there who are struggling to assist their child in learning.

As school psychologists, we are in a unique position where our roles may change significantly this fall. Flexibility will be key!

Related: Find out how the Pandemic Anxiety Screener for Students–12 (PASS-12) can help!

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     We know how important it is to keep your clients, students, and patients safe during these uncertain times. Our two new white papers describe in detail how to administer the IGT2 and the WCST to your clients while staying apart, using the product software and a videoconferencing platform. Available to you completely free, these guidelines allow you to comply with social distancing requirements while continuing to serve those in need.

The IGT2 is a computerized assessment that assists in the evaluation of decision making, while the WCST is used primarily to assess perseveration and abstract thinking. The remote administration guidelines can also be used with the WCST-64These white papers continue our series of resources to help you serve your clients while you’re apart. Our recently released white paper on the RAIT and TOGRA offers similar instructions to help you evaluate intelligence via PARiConnect and a videoconferencing platform.  

  

  

  

  

  

 

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As remote testing becomes a necessity, PAR is working to assist our Customers. We are offering free e-Manuals to Customers who have previously purchased the printed version of manuals published by PAR.

If you currently don’t have access to a PAR-published print manual due to social distancing, we will provide you with free access to an e-Manual version of that same assessment for free. It’s our way of helping our Customers adapt and adjust to providing care remotely.

We’ve also developed a short video on how to use our e-Manuals. The video walks you through downloading and installing an e-Manual, then covers specifics on the convenient features our e-Manuals offer, such as search functions, bookmarks, etc.

To request your free e-Manual, contact Customer Support at 1.800.331.8378 or via e-mail at cs@parinc.com. Please reference your account/previous order information for the manual in question.

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In this time of great uncertainty, the changes to normal routines and practices can cause stress and anxiety. Please know that PAR is still here to serve our Customers and we plan to continue to do so in even broader ways. One of those ways is to provide you with information about the COVID-19 pandemic that is relevant and specific to your needs and the needs of those you serve. We have put up a web page that will be updated with new resources and information as we identify solutions. We hope you find it a valuable resource. 

 

 

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PAR is pleased to announce that we’ve added a page to our website dedicated to our Spanish language products. This page provides a centralized source of information for our Customers looking for assessment products in Spanish.

The page is categorized by construct, each listing the specific products that have Spanish content. It also provides links to those specific product pages where customers can learn more about the product or place an order. We also offer customers a link to a brief, alphabetized listing of all our products that offer Spanish language options, along with the specific items that are available in Spanish. And we’ve included links to our Spanish language brochure and the Language Acculturation Meter page!

 You can find the new web page via this direct link or by typing parinc.com/Spanish-language-products into your browser.