Coming this summer: An improved PAR Web site!

We are hard at work on a brand new parinc.com experience! Visit us this summer and experience our enhanced search feature, which will help you easily locate the products you need. A new Product Wizard will give you an additional way to browse our offerings.

If you have any questions, be sure to visit our overview blog. We can’t wait to show you what we’ve been working on!

This is the first part in a two-part series. Come back next week to learn more from our experts and authors. Katherine is an 8 year old who attends public school. Following a traumatic event, she began to insist on wearing a helmet to school and during class. When school personnel requested she remove the helmet, she adamantly refused, expressing fear that the ceiling would fall and they would all be killed. Her grades have dropped considerably, and she is having problems socializing with peers. Her mother reports similar disruptions at home. Katherine’s grades have dropped to Ds and Fs, and her behavior has become disruptive in class. She cries frequently and has most recently expressed a desire to stay home from school. Jeremy is a fifth grader who currently receives special education services under the category of emotional disturbance (ED) and other health impaired (OHI). One year after his initial ED diagnosis, he was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). His original ED eligibility was based on violent behavior in kindergarten and first grade. Once it became evident that his violent outbursts were related to characteristics associated with his ASD diagnosis and appropriate interventions were put into place, Jeremy was able to function more effectively at school. His grades are above average, and he has not experienced any behavioral outbursts since second grade. His parents are planning to place him in a private school and have requested an evaluation to eliminate the ED diagnosis. They believe the OHI eligibility is the most appropriate eligibility for him; the school administration and teachers agree. Brian is a 15 year old who was expelled from his last school for calling in a bomb threat. The administration at his home school considers him occasionally volatile and “a constant liar.” His mother confirms the lying and additionally reports daily fights between Brian and her live-in boyfriend. She states that “he hangs with a bad crowd, and his behavior is out of control.” Brian’s teachers describe him as a loner who appears sad throughout the school day. His grades have dropped from Bs to Ds and Fs. These three cases exemplify the diversity and difficulty inherent with evaluating students who have been referred for a comprehensive assessment due to academic and/or behavioral concerns. History of ED Prevalence In the 2001-2002 school year, there were 6.3 million students in special education programs. Of these, 473,663 were classified as emotionally disturbed, according to the National Center for Education Statistics—a number that had increased 18.4% from the previous 10 years (1991-1992). By 2002, ED had become the fourth most prevalent of the 13 exceptionalities served by special education, and there was every indication that an increase in both number and proportion for this group would continue to occur. Instead, we began to see a decline. By the 2011-2012 school year, only 373,000 students were classified as having ED.  It appeared the numbers were dwindling. Yet, recent research has reported that parents and caregivers of more than 8 million school-aged children ages 4 to 17 years have sought help from a mental health professional or school staff member about their child’s emotional or behavioral difficulties. Clearly, questions arise. What accounts for the disparity between those asking for help and those receiving services? How do we account for what appears to be an under-identification of ED in the schools? What can we put in place to stop the decline and get those who require help the services they need? The Difficulty with ED Eligibility Students with emotional disturbance are especially difficult to assess and identify, and the evaluation itself is time consuming. Whether determining, changing, or removing eligibility, clinicians usually have an idea of who needs help emotionally. However, determining whether a student qualifies for special education services within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) category of ED can be complicated. One of the greatest challenges in determining eligibility services involves the social maladjustment/emotional disturbance dichotomy. The term socially maladjusted (SM) has not been defined by IDEA. The federal definition of ED, which was written in 1957 and remains virtually unchanged, leaves the operationalization of the criteria set forth by IDEA to individuals and organizations in the field along with state and local educational agencies, who are responsible for implementing special education services. To further complicate matters, we have only recently begun to question the longstanding belief that SM students externalize their behaviors, while ED students internalize their behaviors. However, since ED was defined in 1957, neuroscience has shown that “brain differences underlie both internalizing and externalizing behaviors,” says Richard M. Marshall, EdD, PhD, author of the Pediatric Behavior Rating Scale (PBRS). “From a neurobiological perspective, therefore, the only difference between the two is the expression of behavior. There is little evidence that students with externalizing behaviors are any more capable of controlling their emotions or behavior than students with internalizing disorders. Yet students with internalizing disorders are provided with interventions, while students with externalizing behaviors are punished.” In addition to the difficulties defining and determining SM versus ED, the federal criteria definition includes two potential areas of ED eligibility that are very broad and have no clinical definition:
    • “An inability to build and maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.”
    • “Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.”Also, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has never provided official guidelines for potential exclusionary criteria for an ED diagnosis such as severity, educational impact, and duration. Although some feedback on these issues has been provided, no formal guidelines have been published. The federal definition does allude to some clinical conditions (e.g., depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia), but it doesn’t provide guidelines for how these conditions should be diagnosed.Lastly, we cannot negate the fact that in the past, psychologists lacked psychometrically sound instruments to provide them with the hard data needed to substantiate a well-informed decision in regards to ED eligibility.
Come back next week to learn more on this topic from our experts.
Did you know that some of Hollywood’s popular celebrities majored in psychology? From athletes to actors to musicians, many have backgrounds in the study of the mind. Some of these include producer Jerry Bruckheimer, horror writer Wes Craven, singer Gloria Estefan, and comedian Jon Stewart. Others have even more lofty accomplishments to add to their resume—they have authored psychological studies.
  1. Lisa Kudrow – Lisa is known for her quirky roles as Phoebe Buffay on Friends and as Ursula on Mad About You. Lisa is the daughter of neurologist Lee N. Kudrow, who specialized in the treatment of migraine headaches, which both he and Lisa have suffered from. Lisa wrote an article with her dad, along with two others, regarding the relationship between handedness and headaches. They studied two groups of those suffering headaches and found that they did not differ significantly from each other or from the expected 10% frequency of left-handedness in males and females. Ironically, Lisa went on to star in a TV series called Web Therapy, where she plays an unorthodox psychologist.
  2. Colin Firth – Colin is an actor known for The King’s Speech and Love Actually. Because of his appearance on a BBC radio show, he authored a study that appeared in Current Biology about the neurological roots of political affiliations. Neuroscientists scanned the brains of politicians from the UK’s Conservative and Labour parties, Alan Duncan and Stephen Pound because Firth wanted to determine whether they had differences in their political leanings. Scientist Geraint Rees continued this research and found that liberal and conservative attitudes were associated with thicker parts of the brain. Researchers concluded that political leanings could be predicted with 72% accuracy by evaluating brain structure.
  3. Natalie Portman – Natalie is an actress known for V for Vendetta and Star Wars: Return of the Sith. Natalie majored in psychology while she was at Harvard, under the name Natalie Hershlag. She studied the neuroscience of child development and conducted a study with several prominent psychologists, investigating the link between frontal lobe development and visual knowledge in infants. They used various fMRI scans to determine which brain areas correspond to object permanence. The researchers discovered that frontal lobes kicked in when children develop the knowledge that hidden objects still exist. The study also demonstrated that near-infrared spectroscopy could be used to successfully study the brain development of very young children.
  4. Tim Duncan – Tim is a retired professional basketball player who played with the San Antonio Spurs for almost 20 years. He is a five-time NBA champion and a 15-time NBA All-Star. When he was an undergraduate at Wake Forest University, he and his professor, psychologist Mark Leary, coauthored a chapter in a book called Aversive Interpersonal Behaviors. It evaluated reactions to narcissistic behaviors. Duncan and Leary concluded that one or more of the following produces and maintains egotism: a sincere, but usually mistaken, belief that one is better than others; an attempt to create a positive impression on others; and a concerted effort to defend against deep-seated feelings of inferiority.
  5. John T. Teller – John is one half of the popular comedic magician duo Penn & Teller. They have appeared on numerous television shows, conducted many world tours, and written three New York Times best sellers. In 2008, John authored an article that appeared in Nature Reviews Neuroscience called “Attention and Awareness in Stage Magic: Turning Tricks Into Research Regarding How Magicians Can Contribute to the Study of Human Attention and Awareness.” The study indicated that “by studying magicians and their techniques, neuroscientists can learn powerful methods to manipulate attention and awareness in the laboratory. Such methods could be exploited to directly study the behavioural and neural basis of consciousness itself, for instance, through the use of brain imaging and other neural recording techniques.”
You may know the Trauma Symptom Checklist for Children (TSCC) evaluates posttraumatic stress symptomatology in individuals 8 to 16 years old. Here are five things you may not know:
  1. The TSCC is comprehensive: The TSCC measures posttraumatic stress and related psychological symptomology in children and adolescents  who have experienced traumatic events such as physical or sexual abuse, major loss, and natural disasters.
  2. The TSCC is customizable: The test features separate self-report profile forms for males and females, with items for ages 8-12 years on one side and items for ages 13-16 years on the other side. An alternate form, the TSCC-A, makes no reference to sexual issues.
  3. The TSCC is reliable and valid: It meets the new 2017 standards for use in Children’s Advocacy Centers.
  4. The TSCC has free online training. Get up to speed quickly with a short instructional video describing the administration, scoring, and interpretation of the TSCC—available at no charge on the PAR Training Portal.
  5. The TSCC is convenient. Administer and score with paper and pencil or 24/7 via PARiConnect, our online assessment platform.
During the next month, PAR will be offering free Webinars on many of our newest products. Whether you have already begun using these assessments and are seeking a deeper understanding of the science behind the test or you are considering adding the assessment to your professional library, these Webinars will offer insight into the measure, explain administration and scoring details, and assist in interpretation. Each Webinar will give you the opportunity to ask questions and interact with knowledgeable PAR staff. If you’ve been wondering about PAR’s newest assessments, take this opportunity to learn more! Space is limited, so register today! Introduction to the Academic Achievement Battery (AAB)–Screening Form Wednesday, September 28, 2016 2:30 to 3 P.M. ET Register here Assess four areas of achievement throughout the life span Introduction to the Academic Achievement Battery (AAB) –Comprehensive Version Thursday, September 29, 2016 1 to 2 P.M. ET Register here Assess seven areas of achievement throughout the life span Introduction to the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales, 2nd Edition (RIAS-2) Wednesday, September 28, 2016 1 to 2 P.M. ET Register here Assess intelligence and its major components Introduction to the Child and Adolescent Memory Profile (ChAMP) Tuesday, September 27, 2016 1 to 2 P.M. ET Register here Assess visual and verbal memory in children, adolescents, and young adults Overview of the Feifer Assessment of Reading Tuesday, August 30, 2016 1 to 2 P.M. ET Register here Examine the underlying cognitive and linguistic processes that support proficient reading skills Introduction to DBR Connect Thursday, September 15, 2016 12 to 1 P.M. ET Register here Rate student behavior in minutes Register today! Space is limited!
Interested in learning more about the new Child and Adolescent Memory Profile™ (ChAMP™)? Now you can enroll in a free training course on the ChAMP through PAR’s Training Portal. Whether you have already purchased the ChAMP and want to learn more about it or are looking for more information to help you make your purchase decision, this training course will give you a quick overview of the product, explain what makes it unique, and provide insight into how it was developed. And, best of all, the Training Portal is always available, so you can get training on your schedule. The ChAMP, authored by renowned pediatric neuropsychology experts Elisabeth M. S. Sherman, PhD, and Brian L. Brooks, PhD, is a research-based memory assessment specifically designed to be engaging and relevant to children, adolescents, and young adults ages 5 to 21 years. Covering verbal, visual, immediate, delayed, and total memory domains in a brief, easy-to-use format, the ChAMP takes about 35 minutes to administer—and its Screening Index takes only 10 minutes. To access the Training Portal, use your parinc.com username and password to log in. Don’t have a free account? Register now. Training courses are also available on the Vocabulary Assessment Scales™ (VAS™), the Test of General Reasoning Ability™ (TOGRA™), the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™), and the Academic Achievement Battery™ (AAB™).  
Autism speaks 2This weekend, PAR staff took part in Walk Now for Autism Speaks Tampa Bay. Funds raised from walks like these are earmarked for research into the cause, treatment, and possible cure for autism. In addition to walking as a team to raise community awareness for autism, we held a raffle and a silent auction the week before the walk to generate additional donations. In all, we are proud to have raised $4,015 for this great organization! Want to get involved with Autism Speaks in your community? Here’s a list of other communities hosting local walks to raise awareness for autism.