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!
Each year, PAR employees take part in a week-long United Way fundraising campaign. This year, we exceeded our fundraising goal, resulting in nearly $102,000 in employee contributions to help United Way Suncoast and their partner agencies! This surpassed our 2019 giving by 1.6%, an incredible achievement in such a challenging year. We are proud to say that through our involvement with United Way, we will help make a difference in the lives of so many people in the Tampa Bay area.
Learn more about how you can help United Way in your community!
Tomorrow is Veterans Day in the U.S., a day we pause to pay tribute, honor, and thank those who have served in the branches of our armed forces.
PAR would like to sincerely thank each and every one of you who made the choice to serve our country and defend our freedom. You chose to leave familiar surroundings, family, and friends in service to your country. Your sacrifice has made a true difference in the life of every American and is a debt we can never truly repay, but we can certainly tell you just how much we value and appreciate your selflessness. It is the foundation that our country is built on.
We’d also like to give a special thanks to the members of our PAR staff who have served in our military.
Thank you for your service and thank you to all veterans on this special day!
PAR would like to thank you for all you have done—especially this year—to help those you serve. We would like to take this opportunity to honor our Customers during our annual Pay It Forward campaign. Keep your eyes on your email—in the next week, you will be receiving a list of charities with a link to select your favorite. On behalf of our Customers, we will give a $5,000 donation to whichever charity receives the most votes.
“We are so inspired by the work our Customers do, and it is an honor to be able to donate on their behalf to a worthy organization of their choosing,” said PAR CEO Kristin Greco. “We are so fortunate to be able to pay it forward.”
This year, you will be able to choose between the American Red Cross, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the California Fire Foundation, Feeding America, and Prevent Child Abuse America.
We are grateful to assist you in the important work you do and we are thankful for your business!
Dementia is one of the most devastating diagnoses a patient and family can receive. It is a major cause of disability and dependency among older people worldwide, and nearly 10 million new cases are diagnosed globally each year. Early screening of dementia symptoms in older adults is critical to ensure timely treatment and intervention—and to minimize the impact on the patient and family.
PAR’s new neuropsychological assessment instrument, the Older Adult Cognitive Screener (OACS), will help you serve your older patients and their families with quicker answers. An all-digital informant rating scale, the OACS is designed for early screening of dementia symptoms for patients ages 55–90 years and will assist with follow-up determinations, including initiating or referring your clients for comprehensive diagnostic testing. Results are based on the observations and knowledge of a reliable caregiver, family member, or friend (e.g., spouse or home health care worker).
How does the OACS help you screen for neurocognitive impairments?
1. Administration and scoring are rapid and reliable.
Raters can complete the items in only 5–10 minutes online, and scoring is instant via PARiConnect. Change Reports are available to help you track change over time.
2. The OACS is entirely digital, ideal for telehealth and social distancing.
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.
Related article: SPEAKING MORE THAN ONE LANGUAGE MAY DELAY ONSET OF DEMENTIA
3. Items map onto DSM-5 domains.
The OACS is the only neurocognitive screener with items that 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. An additional item addresses activities of daily living (ADLs) to help you determine how the patient performs common physical tasks.
Why should I use the OACS?
Designed to be used in medical settings by primary care and specialty physicians, the OACS can also 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.
It was developed by trusted authors Cecil R. Reynolds, PhD, and Erin D. Bigler, PhD, to provide a rapid, cost-effective, and valid means of screening older adults for cognitive dysfunction.
To learn more or to order, visit parinc.com/OACS or call PAR Customer Support at 1.800.331.8378.
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:
Related article: Read Dr. O’Brennan’s blog on her initial shift to telehealth services.
As children return to school, many may exhibit signs of anxiety and stress. Your job is to find out whether these are existing issues or whether they are related to the pandemic and quarantine.
Help is here.
The Pandemic Anxiety Screener for Students–12 (PASS-12) is a 12-item checklist developed by FAR, FAM, and FAW author Steven G. Feifer, DEd, designed specifically to evaluate the impact of a pandemic on a child’s school-based functioning.
Related article: OUR STORIES: STARTING THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR
A parent rating form, it allows you to rate the severity of anxiety symptoms specific to the pandemic and quarantine and provides information to help school professionals make important decisions.
To learn more or order, visit parinc.com/PASS-12.
Serving your clients and students is getting a little easier.
e-Manuals—downloadable digital versions of PAR professional manuals—are becoming more and more useful as having remote access to files is increasingly necessary for you to do your job efficiently.
In our uncertain times, you can’t always rely on paper. e-Manuals allow for greater flexibility in how you access important product information.
In addition to the nearly 100 e-Manuals previously available, 13 new e-Manuals can now be purchased and downloaded for your digital tool kit:
CAS (Children’s Aggression Scale) e-Manual
CAS (College Adjustment Scales) e-Manual
PAI-CS Module e-Manual
PAI Public Safety Selection Report e-Manual
TSCC/TSCYC Screening Form Technical Paper e-Manual
And, over the next several months, we’ll release dozens more.
Related article: REMOTE ADMINISTRATION FOR THE IGT2 AND WCST!
The best part? If you’ve already purchased a print professional manual for which we carry an e-Manual equivalent, we’ll provide that e-Manual to you at no charge, for a limited time. Simply call us at 1.800.331.8378 to request your free download.
Keep checking parinc.com as we add more e-Manuals to our lineup, or call our Customer Support team at 1.800.331.8378 for more information.
PAR is proud to announce our latest innovation, a product designed so you can more efficiently serve those you help. ChecKIT on PARiConnect offers you a centralized location for brief, commonly used mental health checklists that offers so much more! ChecKIT allows you to save repeated administrations in one location and regularly track client symptoms across therapy sessions.
Flexible purchase model
Buy multiple units of checklists up front, but you don’t need to decide which checklists you want to use until you are ready to administer them.
Score reports and technical papers
After administration, receive a score report that offers interpretive text that can be easily incorporated into your professional reports. You can also export data to have a ready-to-analyze dataset to facilitate research. Furthermore, each ChecKIT product offers a complimentary technical paper that explains the development behind the measure.
Check back often
We are constantly expanding the ChecKIT product family so you can have a variety of tools that work for you!
Check out ChecKIT today!
Related article: Screening for trauma is more important than ever
Whether you want a deeper understanding of a favorite product or want a sneak peek into a test you are considering, the interactive courses, recorded webinars, video tutorials, and supplemental materials on the PAR Training Portal give you greater insight into some of our most popular products.
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