This is the third part in a series on the Feifer Assessment of Reading (FAR). Catch up on the first part here and the second part here.
The Feifer Assessment of Reading (FAR) stands out from other reading tests not only because it measures several aspects of reading and identifies likely dyslexic subtypes, but also because it provides targeted interventions based on a student’s strengths, weaknesses, and age.
“The FAR is able to say, This is what the kid is really good at in the area of reading, so that tells us we can play into their strengths to help them compensate for their weaknesses,” said Angela Hodges, EdS, NCSP, a school psychologist from Aiken, South Carolina. “It gives a much better diagnostic and even research-based assessment of reading than just basic reading comprehension or reading fluencies or word recognition.”
The FAR features 15 subtests that measure various aspects of reading, from vocabulary and phonological awareness to word memory and reading fluency. Detailed interpretations of index, index discrepancy, and subtest scores are provided in the FAR Interpretive Report, available on PARiConnect, along with targeted reading interventions based on current reading research.
“It helps me tell the team what to focus on in the special education IEP,” said Angela Hoffer, PsyD, NCSP, a school psychologist. “Sometimes, the recommendations or interventions become so general when you say, It’s a reading disability. … Knowing how they perform qualitatively on specific subtests on the FAR can help me with recommendations.”
“The big thing about the FAR is it gives so much more information about the different processes in reading,” Hodges said. “The more you know about the deficit, the easier it is to intervene.
“It helps teachers know where the gaps are and where they need to drill into those developing skills versus a universal screener, which just places a child in a ranking,” she added, “and gives us a clearer picture of the specific areas where the child needs help.”
A FAR Screening Form and FAR Screening Form Remote are also available.
This is the second part in a series on the Feifer Assessment of Reading (FAR). Catch up on the first part here.
The FAR is a comprehensive assessment of reading and related processes that was developed to fill a gap in student testing. It measures the neurocognitive processes responsible for reading, within the actual context of reading, to explain why a student may struggle.
Information gleaned from the FAR can be used to determine if a student is likely to have dyslexia. However, it digs deeper than other measures to identify the likely dyslexic subtype as well, which arms educators with the detailed information they need to develop effective interventions.
“I prefer the FAR over other measures because it gives me more specific dyslexia information,” said Angela Hoffer, PsyD, NCSP, a school psychologist in Aiken, South Carolina. “I like that I can provide more tailored recommendations for students.”
The FAR is based on the premise that interventions for reading disorders vary by dyslexic subtype. The FAR measures four subtypes of dyslexia:
Dysphonic—an inability to sound out words; these students rely on visual and orthographic cues to identify words in print.
Surface—the opposite of dysphonic dyslexia; students can sound out words but have difficulty recognizing them in print.
Mixed—the most severe type of reading disability; these students have difficulty across the language spectrum.
Reading comprehension—these students struggle to derive meaning from print despite good reading mechanics.
Recommendations are based on FAR scores and dyslexic subtype, allowing for more tailored—and effective—interventions to help students become better readers.
The FAR Interpretive Report on PARiConnect also helps explain a student’s reading concerns in ways parents and teachers can readily understand.
“The FAR does a good job of testing for dyslexia but also explaining to parents exactly what dyslexia is,” said Angela Hodges, EdS, NCSP, a school psychologist from Aiken, South Carolina. “It’s not always the stereotypical flipping of letters. It helps parents understand, Yes, your child might have dyslexia, but it really is a comprehension issue or a phonemic awareness issue. It helps parents and even some teachers understand that there are more functions and operations involved in reading than just sight word recognition, fluency, and comprehension. It helps parents understand where their child’s reading gaps are as opposed to, My child can’t read, or My kid’s below grade level in reading.”
A FAR Screening Form and FAR Screening Form Remote are also available!
Each year, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and other advocates sponsor activities related to Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), dedicated to educating the public about mental illness, including issues such as available treatments and methods of support.
This year’s theme for MIAW is “What I Wish I Had Known.” Individuals who have dealt with mental illness will have an opportunity to share their lived experiences, with an emphasis on learnings that could have helped them if they’d known them sooner. You can view videos from people sharing these experiences.
Other organizations such as Mental Health America (MHA) also have events planned during the week, including a free webinar on navigating barriers to treatment. NAMI Minnesota is offering a free week-long series of classes on various aspects of mental illness.
When you are looking for solutions to help your clients, patients, or students facing mental illness, PAR has a wide variety of mental health resources that can help across constructs.
Note: This is the first in a series about using the Feifer Assessment of Reading (FAR) to find out why students struggle with reading.
Several years ago, when Jacqui Veitch-Richie, a school psychologist in Aiken, South Carolina, wanted to evaluate students for reading disabilities, she cobbled together subtests from a variety of academic instruments to evaluate the things she knew were important to measure, like spelling skills and phonemic awareness.
“I actually put together what I considered a rubric of tests that I was separating out myself,” she explained. “There was no standardization, but I was getting samples of the child’s performance. I tried to pull out those processes separately the best I could.”
When a colleague learned what Veitch-Richie was doing, she suggested using the Feifer Assessment of Reading (FAR) instead.
“She said, ‘that’s pretty much what the FAR does for you. You should take a look at it,’” Veitch-Richie, the District 504 Coordinator, recalled, “and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so wonderful!’”
Standardized achievement tests, commonly used by school psychologists for initial evaluations, don’t typically offer much beyond a reading score and a rating. And while they may indicate that a student has a problem with reading, they don’t explain why that student struggles—or provide ways to help.
“If all I’m showing is a weakness in reading, that doesn’t generate any kind of conversation,” Veitch-Richie said, “and it doesn’t give me the tools to help it or fix it any way.”
In contrast, the FAR comprehensively deciphers the neurocognitive processes responsible for reading—and measures them within the actual context of reading—to explain why a student may struggle with reading instead of merely reporting the level at which a child can read.
Another benefit of the FAR is its robust interpretive report, available only on PARiConnect. Along with student scores and score interpretation, it generates specific recommendations, based on those scores, along with resources designed to help educators develop their own tailored interventions.
“You have to know what you’re doing with your interventions and your remediation,” stressed Veitch-Ritchie. “I think that is what teachers are missing. What I’m starting to see with the FAR and the interpretive report is there are lots of interventions that we can use.”
Learn more at parinc.com/FAR
PAR is proud of our ongoing support of United Way Suncoast. For more than 20 years, PAR staff have taken part in an annual fundraising campaign. We hosted our 2022 fundraising drive last week, where we spent time learning more about the impact United Way has on our community and taking part in team challenges and interdepartmental games.
We are thrilled that we had 100% staff participation and exceeded our fundraising goal—raising $113,278 in staff contributions to benefit those in need.
In the Tampa area, United Way aims to break the cycle of generational poverty through initiatives targeted at education, literacy, financial education, disaster services, neighborhood programs, and strategic community partnerships. We were fortunate to have leaders of our local United Way visit this week and share the impact our donations have had on our community.
Want to learn more about how you can help United Way where you live? Visit unitedway.org.
One of PAR’s core values is to give back to our community. Learn more about some of the ways we do that throughout the year.
Suicide is a major mental health concern that devastates lives and causes unimaginable pain. In fact, in 2020, suicide was the 12th leading cause of death in the U.S., with nearly 46,000 people dying this way. What can we as mental health professionals do to help conquer this issue?
We need to understand better the clinical reasons behind the decision to commit suicide. Suicide doesn’t have a clear etiology, and many factors influence whether a person will become suicidal, including their neurobiology, personal and family history, stressful events they may have experienced, and sociocultural environment. However, suicide can be viewed as “a behavior motivated by the desire to escape from unbearable psychological pain.” Psychological factors, including personality and emotions, also contribute. Interestingly, decision-making impairment seems to be an increasingly important influence.
It's critical that we promote within our own organizations and communities the fact that suicide is preventable. Years ago, researchers found that almost half of people who commit suicide visit a primary care doctor within 1 month of death but don’t admit to or consult with the doctor about any suicide intent or ideation. Many people who commit suicide are social and active—they are struggling under the surface and do not seek help.
September 5–11 is National Suicide Prevention Week. This week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) encourages everyone to put the topic of suicide prevention top of mind. Make sure your patients, clients, and students know about suicide risk factors, warning signs, and what they can do to prevent suicide. And be sure to emphasize the new three-digit phone number for the Suicide Prevention Lifeline—made active across the country in July: 988.
For more information about what you can do this week to promote suicide prevention, visit this site.
If you are treating patients and need more information about tools you can use for assessing suicide intent, visit our mental health resources page.
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, you are not alone. Dial 988 to reach the Suicide Prevention Lifeline for immediate help, 24/7.
As the new school year begins, PAR’s team of educational assessment advisors is ready to serve your school district. We can provide sample materials, conduct onsite or virtual trainings, and provide web-enabled presentations so you can better serve your students. Plus, we can help create a cost-effective solution for your district by leveraging volume discounts and creating customized quotes.
Need training for your school?
Our team is available for onsite product-specific training and can arrange author presentations. It’s easy to arrange a PAR-sponsored workshop in your area. Workshops may also be given as webinars for smaller groups or to reach several sites simultaneously.
Want NASP continuing education credit?
PAR’s educational assessment advisors host a wide range of presentations and continuing education workshops via the PARtalks webinar platform. Our webinars and continuing education sessions are free! If you haven’t registered for our new PARtalks platform yet, it’s easy to do! Visit PARtalks for more information and to register for upcoming sessions.
Interested in a customized quote for your district's order?
Simply compile a list of the products you'd like to order, and then email the complete list to your assessment advisor. We'll generate a personalized price quote for the assessment materials you need and email it to you by the next business day. Your quote will include all applicable discounts and any reduced shipping rates for which your district qualifies.
Questions? Simply contact your assessment advisor, and they will guide you through the process. If this is your first time working with an assessment advisor, call 1.800.331.8378 for more information.
Seeking additional school resources or support?
Your students will always need your help with various challenges, including behavioral, mental, social–emotional, interpersonal, adjustment, and learning difficulties. PAR offers many solutions to assist you and your students during the school year.
We're ready to help!
This week’s blog was contributed by Carrie Champ Morera, PsyD, NCSP, LP. Carrie is a licensed school psychologist and the lead project and content director at PAR.
During in-person assessment sessions, you're in control of setting up the physical environment to make it conducive to success. When you work with children and adolescents via telehealth, specifically for teleassessment, you provide not only clinical services but also guidance to prepare younger clients for their remote sessions. Failure to do so can interrupt telehealth treatment or teleassessment, decrease remote participation and engagement, and jeopardize the ideal conditions needed to establish rapport and build a therapeutic alliance.
Here are 10 tips to consider as you design and maintain a working teleassessment environment with children and adolescents.
Before your first remote session with your student, let them know what to expect. Replicate what you would do during an in-person session.
Before beginning teleassessment, ensure your client has all the materials they need. We developed a checklist to help you get started, available here.
Provide the client with a moment to adjust after entering the assessment space. Take your time. Children may need some time to orient themselves to the virtual space.
Assess the environment. Ensure your client is in a quiet and comfortable environment, has a clear working space, and has minimal distractions. Be proactive and develop a safety plan.
Establish boundaries and expectations. Expect the child or adolescent to come prepared for the session as if they were meeting you in person.
Consider factors unique to teleassessment—for example, age. For younger children, testing sessions may need to be shorter depending on the type of task the test requires.
Openly discuss technology and platform challenges. Discuss and plan for any challenges with internet connections and anything relevant to the platform you are using.
Discuss any concerns about teleassessment. Though many individuals are comfortable with technology and using devices in general, they may be fearful or lack confidence about engaging in telehealth.
Consider your physical environment and telehealth setup. Mimic your in-person setting as much as you can. Maintain neat dress, minimize distractions, display a clean background, use sufficient lighting, and have your technology devices and materials ready.
Relationship is key! Go back to the basics. What helps you establish rapport when you're in person? Apply some of the same strategies when using telehealth.
In primary care settings, it’s essential to quickly identify health beliefs and practices that may impact an individual’s health functioning. The Multidimensional Health Profile™–Health Functioning form (MHP™-H), designed for use in health-related settings, is now available for administration and scoring on PARiConnect.
The MHP-H consists of 69 items that provide information on five major areas of concern: adult health history, response to illness, health habits, health care utilization, and health beliefs and attitudes. Using the MHP-H can help you identify patients who may need more follow-up care, support, or assistance to improve their long-term health outcomes.
Psychological concerns can influence a patient’s vulnerability to physical illness, perceptions of their symptoms, patterns reporting, and compliance with medical advice. Furthermore, some individuals overuse medical services. A measure like the MHP-H can help you determine who may benefit from psychosocial interventions, preventive efforts, educational programs, and support groups to improve functioning and reduce health care costs.
Research supports the use of the MHP-H for gastric bypass evaluation; it can be used to determine if dysfunctional attitudes and health-compromising habits may influence recovery or use of services.
Learn more about the MHP-H on PARiConnect now!
This week’s blog was contributed by Melissa Milanak, PhD. Melissa is a licensed clinical psychologist and internationally recognized academic. She has extensive clinical experience providing therapy and conducting assessments with a diverse array of patient populations.
Learning more about assessment products can improve our ability to provide the best care for our clients, patients, and students. However, continuing education can also directly relate to other professional duties, such as keeping our license current and educating trainees.
For example, when your job is to train future providers, having accurate, easily accessible resources not only saves time but also engages trainees in new and exciting ways. PAR’s Training Portal features product-specific videos, resources, and practical applications that can provide hours of didactic support for trainees. These tools are also ideal for established providers who want to learn more about a new product or get a refresher on an instrument they might not have used recently. PAR’s Training Portal is completely free of charge and available on demand, 24/7. New content is added regularly, so it’s good practice to check back frequently for information relevant to your practice.
You can easily put products into practice using the 40% discount we offer on training materials that provide hands-on, practical experience. With PAR’s University Partnership Program (UPP), you can determine the tests that best fit your syllabus and get access to concierge support to design your own training (including PowerPoint slides, free test kits, and products), along with student discounts and faculty research discounts.
In addition, as a licensed provider, you must receive continuing education (CE). Though requirements can seem arduous and tedious, it’s important for you to continually learn about the tools and practices that can best help your patients and clients—and it can often be an exciting way to learn about what’s innovative and new in the industry. Even gold-standard assessments are updated and renormed as the literature grows and new insights are uncovered. The key as a provider is to balance relying on the assessments we know and love and have served us well (and helped many of our patients and clients over the years) while also keeping current with updates and edits, new product offerings, and useful new applications of our reliable tools!
PARtalks, our webinar platform, offers a vast array of CE sessions on products and applications. Featuring experts from a variety of backgrounds and topic areas, as well as insight from product authors and knowledgeable PAR staff, our webinars cover many topics relevant to psychological practice. Check out PARtalks frequently to see what webinars are coming up and which offer CE credits. And if you miss a live session, head back to the PAR Training Portal to view a recording.
Whether you are working with trainees or looking to further your own education on a topic, PAR offers a number of options to help you!