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.
Calling all test developers, researchers, data collectors, and potential authors—we want to work with you! We recently revamped our Partner with PAR programs and are proud to announce two new opportunities, in addition to our longstanding data collection and assessment publishing programs.
Visit parinc.com/PARtner for more information on all our programs and for details on how to get in touch with us.
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.
The newest member of the Feifer Family is now available!
The Feifer Assessment of Writing (FAW) is a diagnostic achievement test designed to examine the underlying cognitive, motoric, and linguistic processes that support proficient written language skills. It is the third and final member of the Feifer family of diagnostic achievement test batteries, joining the Feifer Assessment of Reading (FAR) and the Feifer Assessment of Mathematics (FAM).
Results of the FAW help specify, from a neuropsychological perspective, exactly why a student struggles with written language so clinicians can develop appropriate, customized interventions. It also provides additional information about a student’s writing skills that allow users to dig deeper into a student’s abilities. Unlike other writing tests, the FAW provides an Administration and Scoring Guide that helps to clarify the qualitative aspects of assessing writing and serves as a go-to resource throughout scoring.
The FAW can be administered to individuals from prekindergarten through college. Depending on a student’s grade level, administration can take between 20 and 65 minutes. A screening version is also available for individuals in kindergarten through college, which can be administered in 15-20 minutes. Scoring will be available later this year via PARiConnect.
Learn more or order today!