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With a global pandemic, remote learning in many areas, and increased isolation from friends and family, it’s more important than ever to screen students for exposure to trauma and related symptoms this school year.

Symptoms of trauma include:

  • Irritability
  • Hyperactivity
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Aggression or defiance
  • Substance abuse
  • Anxiety and depression

Trauma is widespread

View our infographic to learn more about how trauma affects children – click here to view.

Trauma can result from any type of adverse childhood experience (ACE) including physical abuse, substance abuse, divorce, witnessing violence, and certainly a global pandemic and ongoing quarantine. More than two thirds of children report at least one traumatic event by the age of 16 years.

Trauma can affect learning

No matter the cause of your students’ trauma, the effects can have a real impact on their academic success. Classroom problems like behavioral issues, difficulty focusing, and disengagement from social activities can prevent them from learning and succeeding in school.

Screen for trauma to help children sooner

The Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children Screening Form (TSCC-SF) and Trauma Symptom Checklist for Young Children Screening Form (TSCYC-SF) now offer online administration and scoring via PARiConnect to help you connect with your students in the classroom—or remotely—and determine if they need help.

In just 5 minutes, the TSCC-SF (for ages 8-17 years) and TSCYC-SF (for ages 3-12 years) indicate whether a child or youth is at risk for clinically significant psychological disturbance so you can determine if follow-up evaluation and treatment are needed. These important tools support the  trauma-informed care approach, and convenient scoring on PARiConnect provides the information you need in minutes.

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This fall, PAR will add a new neuropsychological assessment instrument to our lineup: the Older Adult Cognitive Screener (OACS), an all-digital informant rating scale that enables you to make quick decisions about your older clients’ (ages 55 to 90 years) mental status. The OACS is designed for early screening of dementia symptoms and will assist with follow-up determinations, including initiating or referring your clients for comprehensive diagnostic testing. Administration and scoring take only 10 minutes.

Working with authors Cecil R. Reynolds, PhD, and Erin D. Bigler, PhD, our goal as we’ve developed the OACS was to provide a rapid, cost-effective, and valid means of screening older adults for cognitive dysfunction based on the observations and knowledge of a reliable caregiver, family member, or friend (e.g., spouse or home health care worker).

Unlike on similar measures, OACS items map directly onto the six principal domains of neurocognitive function identified in the DSM-5®: executive function, complex attention, language, perceptual–motor, social cognition, and learning and memory. Activities of daily living (ADLs) are also assessed.

Related article: TICS: ASSESS FOR COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT REMOTELY

Another significant advantage of the OACS is its digital format, which aligns well with today’s telehealth models and enables you to continue testing even when social distancing is required. Plus, because the OACS is administered through PARiConnect, data are easily exported into an electronic medical record (EMR) system.

The OACS is designed to be used in medical settings by primary care and specialty physicians and can be administered and scored appropriately by nursing staff and properly trained clerical staff. It is also useful for clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, and others who treat older adults on a clinical basis in a variety of mental health settings, including nursing homes and community mental health centers.

The OACS will be released this fall. For more information, or to preorder, visit parinc.com/OACS.

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No matter how unparalleled 2020 has been, your students still depend on you to get the help they need. We want to reassure you that PAR is here to help you meet this challenge.

Our goal is to give you the support you need to help your students. That’s why we continue to develop products to assist you in delivering that help.

We have recently introduced In-Person e-Stimulus books. These tools allow for easy, safer administration of stimuli via an iPad® or tablet during in-person testing sessions. Designed to be convenient and user-friendly, these digital tools provide flexibility and confidence in testing.

We recently released In-Person e-Stimulus books for the RIAS-2 and RIST-2 that are now available to order. In the future, watch for In-Person e-Stimulus books for other products, including the FAR and the FAR Screening Form. Visit our e-Stimulus page for updates.

When you need assistance this school year remember, PAR is here to help you. We thank you for your devotion to helping others, and for your support.

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Our new school resources page has products and resources to help you support your students as they return to learning this fall. If many of your students will be learning virtually, or you won’t be returning to school right away, we have specific solutions to ease assessment during this time—while ensuring your students get the help they need.

  • Step-by-step instructions on how to remotely administer some of our most popular performance-based and cognitive tests to your students via videoconferencing and software or PARiConnect: IGT2, RAIT/TOGRA, and WCST,.
  • Now available! The RIAS-2/RIST-2 Remote allows you to assess your students when you’re apart via your videoconferencing platform along with minimally modified test materials.
  • Visit our Remote Assessment Solutions page for more information on how PAR can help you stay safe and serve your students while you’re social distancing.

 

Learn more by visiting parinc.com/School_Resources.

 

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This week’s blog was written by PAR Project Director Carrie Champ Morera, PsyD, NCSP, LP

Millions of children have experienced some type of trauma including, but not limited to neglect, abuse, natural disasters, death of a parent, and violence. These negative experiences subsequently can alter brain development, contribute to health problems, and impair functioning in multiple areas. We now know through the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) study that the effects of stressful and traumatic events can have immediate and lifelong impacts. Trauma manifests itself in various ways. In the short term, behavioral issues, academic issues, and emotional dysregulation may be observed in the school, community, and home settings as a result of trauma. Years later, substance abuse, cancer, depression, and even heart disease can be linked to childhood trauma. Education, prevention efforts, and strategies to develop resilience in children are needed to break the cycles of abuse, addiction, and disease, which in turn, will lead to more positive outcomes in children and provide them with the opportunity to live emotionally stable and productive lives.

Assessments are like puzzles, and addressing trauma is one of the many pieces needed in a comprehensive evaluation. In the school setting, one would not imagine leaving out academic measures as part of a psychoeducational evaluation. That is the way we need to think about trauma in school and community-based evaluations. As a starting point, we need to address whether the child experienced any type of trauma, how often, and to what extent. We need to intervene if there are immediate safety concerns. We need to uncover what supports, coping skills, and resources the child or adolescent utilizes. Trauma does manifest itself in many ways, and children and adolescents will respond to traumatic experiences differently, some in a more complex manner than their peers. However, if an assessment of trauma is not at least considered in our evaluations, this could lead to misdiagnosis, implementation of inappropriate interventions, and/or treatments that do not address the root cause of the problem. If an assessment of trauma is incorporated in an ethical, safe, and caring manner, we are minimizing the risk of harm and increasing the risk at a chance for positive outcomes in all children we evaluate.


 

Further reading on trauma:

Essentials of Trauma-Informed Assessment and Intervention in School and Community Settings

“Trauma is there, it is happening. We can either chose not to acknowledge it and continue to fall short in meeting needs, or we can acknowledge it is there and figure out how to help. We need to know how to effectively and ethically assess for its presence and then use assessment data to drive intervention planning.”  -coauthor Kirby L. Wycoff, PsyD, EdM, NCSP

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

The ACES study has unveiled that childhood trauma is much more prevalent than previously thought; therefore, it is imperative that schools are better informed of the cognitive, academic, and social-emotional manifestations of trauma in order to provide appropriate accommodations to help ensure student success."-Steven G. Feifer, DEd


To learn more about what school professionals can do to understand trauma in light of the COVID-19 crisis, visit PAR’s YouTube channel to watch a recorded webinar presented by Terri Sisson, EdS, and Carrie Champ Morera, PsyD, NCSP, LP.

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More than 41 million individuals in the U.S. primarily speak Spanish at home, many of them between the ages of 5 and 17 years. With only a small percentage of psychologists able to administer assessment measures in Spanish, misdiagnosis due to lack of cultural or linguistic awareness is possible. That’s why it’s important to provide practitioners with tools that help Spanish-speaking and bilingual clients and students get the mental health support, monitoring, and treatment they need. 

Six new tests now offer forms in Spanish to help you help your bilingual and Spanish-speaking clients. Scoring sheets remain in English, allowing clinicians who do not speak Spanish to easily score and interpret these instruments.

Learn more about personality with the NEO-FFI-3 Form S Adult Item Booklet , the NEO-PI-3 Reusable Form S Item Booklet, and the NEO-PI-3 Hand-Scorable Answer Sheet.

Evaluate for symptoms of psychopathology with the PAI-A Hand-Scorable Answer Sheet, the PAI-A Softcover Reusable Item Booklet, and the PAS Hand-Scorable Response Form.

Measure depression and anxiety in children and adolescents with the RADS-2 Hand-Scorable Test Booklet and the RCDS-2:SF Test Form.

Prior to testing, make sure to use our updated Language Acculturation Meter form. Now with a scoring sheet, this free resource helps provide a framework for testing to help you choose the most appropriate assessment instrument and interpret test results.  A Spanish version is also available.

We’ve also updated the accompanying Language Acculturation Meter white paper, which now includes an appendix with normative data and a new section describing the normative process.

Visit our Spanish-Language page to learn about the more than 40 products PAR offers in Spanish.

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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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Recently, PAR Project Director Carrie Champ Morera, PsyD, NCSP, LP, interviewed Kirby Wycoff, PsyD, EdM, MPH, NCSP, the coauthor of Essentials of Trauma-Informed Assessment and Intervention in School and Community Settings to learn more about what inspired her to write this book, who would benefit from reading it, why it’s important to assess trauma in schools and community settings, and what she learned while writing it.

Check out the article under the Resources tab on the product page to learn from childhood trauma expert Dr. Wycoff!

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The COVID-19 crisis has changed the world as we know it. On a professional level, social distancing and safer-at-home guidelines mean that many practitioners are now using the internet and other technologies to stay in touch with their patients, clients, and students.

Although they can no longer come into the office, older patients with conditions causing cognitive impairment or dementia still need to be evaluated and monitored. Many of these patients may not be familiar or comfortable with video chatting or other common online tools.

The Telephone Interview for Cognitive Status (TICS) can help. In clinical and research use for more than 30 years, the TICS was the first measure developed specifically for remote cognitive assessment. It provides a quick and easy way for clinicians to screen patients and clients for cognitive impairment and has proven itself in hundreds of studies and clinical trials. It has also been translated into several foreign languages and is available for licensing.

“The TICS is meant for remote assessment,” said test coauthor Jason Brandt, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences and Neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Even if you can’t see the patient in person, you can still get an indication if he or she is having difficulty thinking, remembering, or communicating.”

Consisting of just 11 items, the TICS takes about 10 minutes to administer by telephone. A family member or other proctor is required to be with the examinee to ensure the environment is appropriate for testing. An S-level product, it can be administered by anyone with appropriate training, including nurses and trained research assistants.  Results are reported using a qualitative impairment range and T scores.

With the current constraints of COVID-19, checking up on elderly patients who have or are at risk of having cognitive impairment is essential. “In just minutes,” Brandt said, “the TICS gives you a snapshot of the person’s cognitive functioning and allows you to make more informed clinical decisions.”

Learn more or order.

 

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It’s time for the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Convention. This year’s event will take place February 18 to 21 in Baltimore and PAR will be there. If you’re going to NASP, please stop by the PAR booth (#413) to visit us. You can see samples of our products, pick up some giveaways, and enter a raffle to win a BRIEF2 or FAR kit!

While you’re at NASP, make sure to attend some of the many presentations being hosted by PAR authors. For a complete listing of sessions, dates, and times, see our author presentation schedule.

Yet another reason to visit the PAR booth—we will be offering special discounts on all purchases made at our booth during NASP. You’ll save 15% on your order plus we’ll include free ground shipping!

We’ll be looking for you in Baltimore!