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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. 

  1. Before your first remote session with your student, let them know what to expect. Replicate what you would do during an in-person session. 

  1. Before beginning teleassessment, ensure your client has all the materials they need. We developed a checklist to help you get started, available here

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. Establish boundaries and expectations. Expect the child or adolescent to come prepared for the session as if they were meeting you in person. 

  1. 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. 

  1. Openly discuss technology and platform challenges. Discuss and plan for any challenges with internet connections and anything relevant to the platform you are using. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

  1. 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. 

 

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We’re excited to announce the publication of another instrument to add to your digital tool kit! The Identi-Fi Remote, a digital adaptation of the paper-and-pencil version, is an appealing and accurate test of visual organization designed specifically for testing your clients when you’re apart.

Related article: Now available: Identi-Fi

The Identi-Fi Remote has several distinct advantages:

  • Because administration relies on videoconferencing, you and your clients can connect regardless of physical location.
  • Equivalency between paper-and-pencil and digital formats has been studied and supported. Read our white paper to learn more.
  • Only 10 minutes is needed to obtain the Visual Organization Index, which allows you to quickly and accurately evaluate the examinee’s visual organizational and visual processing skills.
  • Features the same full-color, up-to-date stimuli illustrations as the paper-and-pencil version, making the test salient to current populations and adaptable to mildly visually impaired individuals.
  • Motor demand is low, requiring only a one-word utterance or a simple pointing response.
  • Useful in a variety of contexts:
    • when assessing individuals with traumatic brain injury and other forms of central nervous system compromise
    • when visual perceptual or processing skill deficits are suspected in the evaluation of reading disorders
    • when monitoring recovery following a brain injury or other CNS compromise
    • when right hemisphere dysfunction or deficiencies are hypothesized
    • when visual attention is an issue
  • A technical paper provides detailed administration instructions, and a white paper details the paper-and-pencil to digital equivalency study.

Learn more!

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We’re happy to welcome a new member to the Feifer family of products. The only remote dyslexia screening tool currently available, the FAR Screening Form Remote is a digital adaptation of our trusted dyslexia screener, designed specifically for testing your students when you’re apart.

  • Use with confidence. Proven to be equivalent to the paper-and-pencil version.
  • Get the same results in less time. Indicates risk for dyslexia using phonological and comprehension subtests in just 12 minutes.
  • Ensure your students’ safety. Stay socially distant and safe while testing via teleconferencing.
  • Boost your ability to flexibly serve students. Screen for reading ability from a distance in a variety of circumstances, even beyond pandemic needs.
  • Easily learn to administer. Learn more in the available technical paper and white paper.

Visit the PAR Training Portal for an in-depth demonstration of FAR Screening Form Remote administration, hosted by Dr. Feifer.

To learn more or to order, click here.

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School psychologists are facing a school year full of unknowns. PAR reached out to three different professionals to find out how they are adapting and what advice they have for others as they embark on a very different kind of school year.

Tamara Engle-Weaver, MS

Certified school psychologist, Lancaster-Lebanon IU 13 Sensory Impaired Program, Pennsylvania

I have classrooms located in more than one school district. Our districts are creating their own plans for the school year. Some are doing hybrid; some are face-to-face. Given that our classrooms are intermediate unit special education classrooms, they will most likely be operating 5 days per week with face-to-face instruction.

I plan to use a lot of technology this year. I will be trying to utilize virtual methodology as much as I can to reduce the amount of time I am in the classroom. I don’t feel the schools will be encouraging additional bodies to be in the classrooms. I will try to create social skill videos for my students that teachers can present at their leisure.

When you are on an airplane, they tell you to take care of yourself before you help the person you are with. I think that will be critical this year because there will be many students and staff who will be struggling with all aspects of coping with this virus. If we are not in a healthy mental state, we will not be able to help others achieve one either. We all need to do our best to care for ourselves and be compassionate and patient with others.

Maria Isabel Soriano-Lemen, PhD, RPsy
Director, Center of Psychological Extension and Research Services, Philippines

We are doing 100% online classes this year here in the Philippines. I usually ask students to work with a partner to come up with a psychological report that includes these areas of functioning: cognitive, psychological, emotional, behavioral, interpersonal, and interpersonal. So that requires them to work with different tests. I am at a loss at how to teach students to score their test results. I’m also concerned with access to testing materials and how students will be supervised. At this time, I really don’t know what to do. Classes will start in November.

Heather Bravener, DEd

School psychologist, Duncannon, Pennsylvania

At this time, parents have been given the choice to enroll in either the district’s cyber program or attend school for face-to-face instruction 5 days a week. We are a small district with three buildings on the same campus with graduating class sizes of approximately 140. The area’s COVID numbers are currently in the low range, which allows for the reopening of school with face-to-face instruction while implementing recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus.

My colleague and I are determining how to best complete assessments with students for the upcoming year in light of the pandemic. Considerations include wearing a mask, use of a plexiglass divider, a pencil for each student to use and then take with them, using a plastic screen to cover the manual, and use of disinfectant wipes. We are also considering the use of digital assessments.

Once schools closed in March, I had to balance completing my job at home while supporting my daughter during remote learning. It was quite a challenge and I can empathize with parents out there who are struggling to assist their child in learning.

As school psychologists, we are in a unique position where our roles may change significantly this fall. Flexibility will be key!

Related: Find out how the Pandemic Anxiety Screener for Students–12 (PASS-12) can help!

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No matter how unparalleled 2020 has been, your students still depend on you to get the help they need. We want to reassure you that PAR is here to help you meet this challenge.

Our goal is to give you the support you need to help your students. That’s why we continue to develop products to assist you in delivering that help.

We have recently introduced In-Person e-Stimulus books. These tools allow for easy, safer administration of stimuli via an iPad® or tablet during in-person testing sessions. Designed to be convenient and user-friendly, these digital tools provide flexibility and confidence in testing.

We recently released In-Person e-Stimulus books for the RIAS-2 and RIST-2 that are now available to order. In the future, watch for In-Person e-Stimulus books for other products, including the FAR and the FAR Screening Form. Visit our e-Stimulus page for updates.

When you need assistance this school year remember, PAR is here to help you. We thank you for your devotion to helping others, and for your support.

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Dr. Carrie Champ Morera, project director, and Daniel McFadden, director of Customer Support, were thrilled to join Dr. Jeremy Sharp from The Testing Psychologist podcast to discuss telehealth.

They chatted about topics to consider regarding remote assessment, addressed concerns such as technology issues and cultural factors in remote administration, talked about PARiConnect, and provided information on how PAR continues to support clinicians during the COVID-19 crisis.

Listen today!

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