This week’s blog was contributed by Melissa Milanak, PhD, PAR’s clinical assessment. 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.
As your trusted source for assessments for all your clinical needs, PAR is excited to also partner with you in many practical ways as you conduct your research, whether it be a large federally funded grant, a manuscript you are preparing to submit, or a course project with your students and trainees running on zero budget. Here are just a few of the ways PAR can help researchers.
The submission deadline is approaching, and it is time to write the methods section. Instead of spending hours pouring through assessment manuals and reading journal article after journal article to extract psychometric data for the one paragraph, consider reaching out to PAR directly. Our psychologists and researchers have already prepared and formatted the assessment info paragraphs for you that you can insert into your manuscripts and grant applications. Don’t see the one you need there? Let us know and we will get you the info you need.
Through our data sharing program, you can partner with our R&D team to help us collect important data on our assessments all while receiving discounts and/or free usage of the related assessments. All data sharing is of course de-identified and confidential to protect participants.
Through our digital assessment platform, PARiConnect, you can email HIPAA-compliant links directly to research participants to complete all of your research assessments online, expanding your geographical reach. You can also access observer and collateral research data without requiring additional individuals to come into your data collection site. Plus, if you send out an assessment link and a participant decides not to participate, you can revoke the link and reuse the assessment with another participant without having to pay for an unused assessment.
By using PARiConnect, either through a HIPAA-compliant email link or in-person digital entry option, participants enter their own data, removing a layer of data entry error (and the need to invest in time for research assistants to enter and check data entry). Plus, with settings to prevent skipping questions, you can reduce the risk of missing data.
In less than a minute, you can download item-level assessment data to a CSV spreadsheet formatted to integrate with statistics software such as SPSS to increase the ease of data processing and analyzation.
Through our FREE Training Portal and team of clinical assessment advisors, PAR provides on-demand training for you and your research teams to learn about the assessments from underlying constructs to administration, scoring, and interpretation.
As you are designing your research, clinical psychologists, neuropsychologists, and psychometrists who have a history of successfully securing federally funded grants and publishing in high impact-factor journals are available to consult with you to build effective, efficient research assessment batteries.
These examples are just the beginning when exploring ways that PAR can partner with you to design, conduct, and publish your research using high-caliber, industry gold-standard assessments. Reach out to our team today to learn more!
Check out this video on ways PAR can help you easily integrate digital assessments into your practice.
This week’s blog was contributed by Terri Sisson, EdS, educational assessment advisor, national accounts. Terri spent more than 20 years in public schools as a licensed school psychologist. She is a past president of the Virginia Association of School Psychologists.
Many students with executive function deficiencies find their performance in both the home and classroom environments is negatively impacted. When I practiced in the schools, I wrote my recommendations with parents and teachers in mind, as these were the people who would read and use my recommendations. I found that if the intended audience understood executive functions and how they impact learning, they were more likely to be effective at implementing successful strategies.
Lauren Kenworthy, PhD, coauthor of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, 2nd Ed. (BRIEF2) and the Unstuck and on Target! curriculum, and her colleagues have created a free video series designed for parents and teachers that explains different executive function concepts and provides recommendations for intervention.
Some videos are designed specifically for teachers and offer free training (with continuing education credits). For parents, informative videos and tip sheets help explain the executive functions in a way they can easily understand. Some videos are available in Spanish.
Although the videos support the Unstuck and on Target! curriculum, which improves flexibility, planning, organization, problem solving, and coping, they provide useful information for all parents and teachers about how to improve executive functioning in students. Check out the videos for teachers or parents and share them with others who may benefit.
Learn more about Unstuck and on Target!
This week’s blog was contributed by Darla DeCarlo, PsyS, LMHC, PAR’s regional manager–educational assessments. Darla is a certified school psychologist who spent more than 30 years providing professional services in a variety of settings.
Anxiety is not always a bad thing. In fact, our ancestors could not have survived without it. Fear and worry are aspects of the human condition that we need—to some degree—in order to survive and thrive. However, when anxiety interferes with daily activities and becomes overwhelming, it can be restraining, debilitating, and even paralyzing.
School shootings, the pandemic, increased societal violence, and a generally chaotic world have set the stage for an increase in mental health issues in children. As school psychologists and educators, we worry about the impact this has on our students—and about the subsequent impact it has on their ability to learn and succeed in school.
A recent study conducted by the Wisconsin–Minnesota Comprehensive Center (WMCC), in conjunction with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE), confirmed what educators and administrators have been reporting in recent years: Student mental health is suffering, and anxiety is playing a large role.
Parents further confirm this. The Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago studied 1,000 parents from around the U.S., and what they learned was astounding: 71% of parents said the pandemic had taken a toll on their child’s mental health, and 69% said the pandemic was the worst thing to happen to their child.
The increase in mental health issues among students predates the pandemic. A recent U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study showed a significant increase in reported mental health conditions in children ages 3 to 17 years between 2016 and 2020. During this time, anxiety diagnoses in this age group grew by 29% and depression diagnoses increased by 27%.
Every child is unique, so responses to stressful situations vary from child to child. Perception also differs from child to child, so what one sees as unmanageable another may see as a challenge.
Keep in mind, these signs and symptoms are not only associated with anxiety. We might see these same symptoms for completely unrelated reasons.
• Upset stomach or stomach pains
• Chest pain, palpitations, or increased heart rate
• Decreased appetite, comfort-eating, or binge-eating
• Pretending to be sick to avoid activities
• Mood swings
• New or recurring fears
• Increased crying, anger, stubbornness, or aggression
• Decreased concentration or motivation
• Regressing toward comforting behaviors from early childhood (i.e., thumb-sucking, nail-biting, sleeping with a stuffed animal)
• Social isolation, withdrawal, or unwillingness to participate in formerly enjoyed activities
• Increased irritability
• Difficulty falling or staying asleep
• Difficulty separating from parents
• Refusal to go to school or participate in other activities, including those for fun
• Difficulty meeting new people
• Not speaking to people outside of the family
• Nervous tics
PAR offers a variety of assessment products to address anxiety throughout the life span. Learn more.
This week’s blog was contributed by Eric Culqui, MA, PPS, PAR’s educational assessments advisor–regional accounts. Eric is a licensed school psychologist with more than 14 years of experience and a NASP-certified crisis response trainer and first responder.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, educators were struggling with increases in disruptive behaviors. In a 2019 study of nearly 1,900 elementary school teachers, administrators, and staff, behavioral disruptions including tantrums, bullying, and defiance were noted to have increased in kindergarten through fifth-grade classrooms.
Beyond impeding instructional time, these behaviors had a negative impact on the mental health of students. Trauma in the family, untreated mental illness, overexposure to electronic devices, and inadequate playtime, in addition to changes in parenting styles, were cited as suspected factors in these behaviors. Upon the return to school after quarantine, these behaviors were noted to have increased and were observed in much younger students. This was further exacerbated by increased mental health needs of students. Traditional methods and resources were not seen to be sufficient. Given the increased need for mental health intervention and promotion, strengths-based assessment can be used to evaluate strengths and competencies as part of a comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation and to plan for an individualized behavioral, educational, and/or treatment plan.
The Social Emotional Assets and Resilience Scales (SEARS) is a system for assessing, from multiple informants, the social–emotional competencies and assets of children and adolescents ages 5 to 18 years across multiple settings. Social–emotional assets and resiliencies can be broadly defined as a set of adaptive characteristics that are important for success at school, with peers, and in the outside world. The SEARS offers assessment professionals the opportunity to measure common constructs of self-regulation, responsibility, social competence, and empathy.
The SEARS utilizes a strengths-based approach to guide interventions that help identify a child’s internal assets as opposed to focusing on their deficits. This allows for a diversity of intervention strategies across a multi-tiered system of supports as opposed to making a referral directly to special education assessment. Addressing the whole child by helping them identify and leverage their strengths is critical given myriad stressors impressed on our students as a result of COVID-19.
Read more about recent research on SEARS that supports its clinical use or visit the PAR Training Portal for an on-demand training course.