What does the science of cognitive neuropsychology—brain research—have to say about why kids struggle to read? Plenty! But it can be very time-consuming for busy professionals to sift through the research, assess kids’ brain functioning, and choose interventions that target their specific needs. This is where the Feifer Assessment of Reading™ (FAR™), a new product from PAR, can help.

The FAR was developed using a brain-based educational model of reading. Research using neuroimaging techniques has clearly shown that specific neural networks in the brain are associated with different aspects of the reading process, such as phonemic awareness, fluency, decoding, and comprehension. This means that interventions for reading disorders vary depending on the specific dyslexic subtype of the individual reader.

Reading expert Dr. Steven Feifer developed the FAR to identify the four most common dyslexic subtypes: dysphonetic dyslexia, surface dyslexia, mixed dyslexia, and reading comprehension deficit. Comprising 15 subtests to measure highly differentiated aspects of reading, the FAR generates five index scores:

  • the Phonological Index, including phonemic awareness, decoding, and positioning sounds;

  • the Fluency Index, including orthographic processing plus both visual perception and verbal fluency;

  • the Comprehension Index, including semantic concepts, word recall, and morphological processing;

  • the Mixed Index (a composite of Phonological and Fluency Index scores); and

  • the FAR Total Index (a composite of all subtest scores).


Clearly, the science is there. But many districts use a Response to Intervention (RTI) approach, with teams of educators planning interventions for kids and monitoring progress to see what’s been most effective. Where does brain science come into play?

RTI is about looking at the evidence—the individual student’s reading behaviors—and designing interventions that address his or her specific needs. Evidence-based interventions require evidence-based assessments. The FAR allows practitioners to conduct an in-depth assessment that provides information about how a child learns and processes information—not a label.

The RTI approach has many strengths, but often it is not sufficient on its own to identify or diagnose a learning disability. Also, remediation strategies are too often “one size fits all” when they haven’t taken into account the reasons behind a student’s reading difficulties. The FAR can support RTI by identifying learning disabilities, thereby reducing the risk of delaying diagnosis or denying students’ eligibility for much-needed services. The included Screening Form is perfect for a quick assessment of student progress—it takes just 15 minutes to complete.

The FAR is designed to integrate cognitive neuropsychology research into the RTI approach, supporting RTI while filling some of the gaps—especially in terms of dyslexia identification and differentiation—that RTI can miss. The FAR offers solutions for school psychologists, reading specialists, and teachers—and most importantly, the potential for real improvements in student reading.

To learn more about the FAR, visit www.parinc.com.
Each year, PAR is proud to present a scholarship to a psychology major at the University of South Florida (USF). This year, PAR selected Christina Barnett, who will graduate from USF next May.

According to Christina, she chose her major as a freshman because “I wanted something where I could make an impact in peoples’ everyday lives. Being an industrial/organizational psychologist would allow me the opportunity to conduct research to help people find more enjoyment and efficiency in their work and nonwork lives.”

During her undergraduate career, Christina has participated in the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the Psi Chi National Honor Society for Psychology, Phi Sigma Pi National Honor Society, the Honors College Council, and is a member of the Herd of Thunder Marching Band. Christina is a member of the psychology honors program and has received the USF Directors Award. She has worked as a research assistant in various psychology labs on campus and is now conducting her own research through the psychology honors thesis program on the relationship between conflict and cardiovascular indicators. She hopes to pursue a PhD once she completes her undergraduate education.

We are proud to acknowledge Christina’s work and dedication to the field of psychology. Congratulations, Christina!

 
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™).

 
PAR is pleased to announce the release of the Feifer Assessment of Reading™ (FAR™) by Steven G. Feifer, DEd. This comprehensive test is designed to help identify specific reading disorder subtypes so clients can individualize a child’s education plan with interventions targeted to that child’s needs.
  • Based on the author’s neurodevelopmental theory of reading, which maps reading disorders to specific neural pathways in different regions of the brain.
  • Aids diagnosis by generating index scores for four dyslexic subtypes: dysphonetic dyslexia, surface dyslexia, mixed dyslexia, and reading comprehension deficits.
  • Puts the I back in IEP by directly informing intervention decisions; helps educators develop customized learning goals and objectives.
  • Features colorful, engaging, and unique item content.
  • Offers norms based on a diverse standardization sample of 1,074 individuals.
  • In just 15 minutes, the Screening Form can identify those who may be at risk for a reading disorder.
  • Can be used by professionals qualified to diagnose reading disorders and by teachers qualified to screen students for reading difficulties, develop individualized interventions, and monitor progress.
  • Includes a Fast Guide, a quick-start manual that will help you get up to speed on the FAR in minutes.
  • Scoring will soon be available on PARiConnect. Free on-demand, training is coming soon to the PAR Training Portal!
For more information on the FAR, visit the product page.

More than 35 million people worldwide have used the Self-Directed Search® (SDS®) to discover the careers and fields of study that are likely to be a good fit for their interests and skills. Now, the SDS is even better with the addition of a Web-based, easy-to-use report that provides a personalized snapshot of your client’s career-related personality. The new Interactive Report is offered in addition to the traditional printable report at no extra cost!


See what’s important

  • A simple interface allows clients to more quickly and easily navigate the various sections of the report.

  • Custom links enable immediate access to job openings nearby and allow clients to see the typical salary range for their recommended occupations.

  • A Summary and Resources tab provides helpful links and follow-up recommendations.


Customize the experience

  • The SDS display can be customized to show occupation, field of study, and leisure activity results by how closely they match a person’s results.

  • Sorting and filtering tools narrow results.


Be confident in the results

  • The Interactive Report is the newest offering of the SDS, one of the most widely used career interest inventories in the world.

  • A full, printable SDS report with detailed, personalized information is available.


Help your clients find their future with an even better SDS experience. Available only at www.self-directed-search.com!
A nervous laugh when someone has tripped and fallen, or tearful congratulations to the happy couple at a wedding: Many of us can remember an event when a seemingly inappropriate emotional response emerged, unbidden, at exactly the wrong moment. Screaming—normally a sign of acute distress—is common among teenagers at a concert when their idol steps onto the stage. And in the presence of an adorable baby, some people respond by growling or pinching the baby’s cheeks. Oriana Aragon, a post-doctoral associate in the department of psychology at Yale University, wanted to learn more about this common but often misunderstood phenomenon, and especially about the psychological purpose it might serve. Her findings were published in the March 2015 issue of the journal Psychological Science.

Aragon and her colleagues conducted a series of experiments in which they exposed subjects to highly emotional stimuli—for example, a reunion between loved ones or a beautiful, vulnerable baby—and then measured the subjects’ responses. The researchers conclude that negative responses to positive stimuli may be a way for people who are overwhelmed by an emotion to regulate their response. Aragon believes that people have an emotional limit, and when that limit is reached, they ease their response by expressing the opposite emotion.

“People may be restoring emotional equilibrium with these expressions,” says Aragon in a recent interview in the Yale News online newsletter. “They seem to take place when people are overwhelmed with strong positive emotions, and people who do this seem to recover better from those strong emotions.”

The researchers observed that subjects who expressed negative reactions to positive news were able to moderate intense emotions more quickly. They also found that people who tend to express these dimorphous reactions do so regardless of whether the original stimulus was positive or negative—either way, they tend to balance their emotions with seemingly opposite responses. That is, people who typically cry at a weddings also tend to laugh at a sad event, such as a funeral.

“These insights advance our understanding of how people express and control their emotions, which is importantly related to mental and physical health, the quality of relationships with others, and even how well people work together,” said Aragon in the Yale News interview.

What do you think? Do people express dimorphous reactions in order to restore emotional balance, or are other factors in play? PAR wants to hear from you, so leave a comment and join the conversation!

  • Approximately 106,500 psychologists hold current licenses in the U.S.

  • 17,890 psychologists are located in California, the state with the most licensed psychologists.

  • 170 psychologists are located in Wyoming, the state with the fewest licensed psychologists.

  • The District of Columbia has the greatest representation of psychologists per 100,000 population—173.3!

  • There are approximately 33.9 psychologists per 100,000 individuals in the U.S. population. To see the distribution of psychologists in your state, visit APA.

  • More than 6,000 doctorates in psychology were awarded in the U.S. in 2012.

  • Approximately 74 percent of those doctorates were categorized as research/scholarship; 24 percent were awarded as professional practice. To view the breakdown of degrees by subfield, visit APA’s Center for Workforce Studies.


Source: APA’s Center for Workforce Studies
Based on the latest advancements in memory research, the Child and Adolescent Memory Profile (ChAMP) is a fast, easy-to-administer measure that covers both verbal and visual memory domains for young examinees ages 5 to 21 years. Recently we had a chance to catch up with Elisabeth M. S. Sherman, PhD, and Brian L. Brooks, PhD, pediatric neuropsychology experts and authors of the ChAMP.

PAR: What compelled you to want to develop a memory test?

Sherman and Brooks: At the heart of it, we’re primarily clinicians who work with kids, some of whom have severe cognitive problems. Most can’t sit through lengthy tests. We could not find a memory test for kids that was easy to give, accurate, and also quick. We really developed the ChAMP because there wasn’t anything else like it out there. We hope other users like using the ChAMP, too.

PAR: How have you used memory testing in your clinical work?

Sherman and Brooks: Memory is such an important part of success in school and life. As clinicians, we evolved from giving memory tests selectively, to giving them to most children we assess. Children may have different reasons for having memory problems (i.e., developmental or acquired), but capturing their memory strengths and weaknesses allows us to better understand how to help them. Interestingly, in working with very severely affected children with neurological conditions, we realized that some kids have intact memory despite devastating cognitive conditions. The ability to detect an isolated strength in memory really gives educators and parents something tangible to use in helping those children.

PAR: How has the experience of developing a memory test been different from your other projects?

Sherman and Brooks: Developing the ChAMP was an amazing opportunity to get into the nitty-gritty of test design, planning, and execution. A lot of our other work so far has focused on reviewing, evaluating, or critiquing tests (e.g., Elisabeth is a co-author of the Compendium of Neuropsychological Tests from Oxford University Press). In the development of the ChAMP, we realized quickly that it is much easier to critique tests than to create good tests. Creating the ChAMP was a humbling but exciting process for us. It was a great opportunity to put theory into practice, with all the challenges and benefits that brings. We are excited about the ChAMP, and hope other clinicians will be, too.

To learn more about the ChAMP, please visit www.parinc.com or call 1.800.331.8378.
The movers and shakers on Team PAR have been very busy, participating in community service projects and supporting causes that are making a real difference! Here are a few highlights of our activities so far this year.

The PARty Animals emerged as leader of the pack in raising funds for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay at the annual Bark in the Park event this spring, keeping the trophy in its rightful place—the lobby here at PAR headquarters—for another year! A large contingent from our staff, along with their four-legged friends, joined the happy throng at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park to support the Humane Society and its vital work in our community.

“Love is Blue,” according to the old song, and that sums up one of Team PAR’s true labors of love: our support for autism awareness and research. But why blue? On World Autism Day each year, the Autism Speaks organization encourages people all over the world to “light it up blue” by wearing blue clothing and displaying blue lights in their homes, schools, and businesses. PAR staff turned out in our best dress blues that day; we also held a week-long silent auction and raffle, where theater tickets and fine wine were among the generous donations that had us all raising our bids. An enthusiastic team of walkers capped off the week by participating in the annual Autism Walk, engaging sponsors and raising thousands of dollars for autism research.

Earlier this year, PAR was thrilled to be honored as the 2015 Outstanding Corporate Partner for the PACE Center for Girls. The PACE Center in Tampa provides at-risk teen girls an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy. With a balanced emphasis on academics and social services, the PACE model is recognized as one of the most effective programs in the country for keeping girls from entering the juvenile justice system.

PAR was also honored to participate in this year’s Cup of Compassion Breakfast to benefit the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. Through their crisis hotline and support services, the Crisis Center brings help, hope, and healing to people who are experiencing the devastating trauma of sexual assault or abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts, and other crises.

Each week throughout the year, PAR employees deliver a hot meal and a warm smile to Meals on Wheels recipients in our area. Many are elderly or disabled, and they often don’t get much company, so we try to take a few moments to chat with these neighbors who help to brighten our day as well. This April, we continued with our annual tradition of making and delivering an extra treat: cheerful gift baskets, brimming with goodies and designed to say, “Welcome, spring!”

Above par, below par, or just from PAR…it really didn’t matter at a recent golf tournament, where our foursome of keen PAR golfers helped raise funds to benefit The Children’s Home of Tampa. This event is one of the many ways that PAR supports The Children’s Home in its work to strengthen families in our community.

The Bloodmobile (a.k.a. OneBlood Services) makes regular stops at PAR, where they know that our regular donors—and a few first-timers, too—can be counted on for donations of blood and platelets. The experts on the Bloodmobile team make it easy for us to do the right thing!

These are just a few of the many ways that PAR gives back to our community. “Creating Connections, Changing Lives” is more than just a tagline at PAR—it’s a commitment. Please visit the Community PARtners page on the PAR Web site to learn more!
This 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.

 

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