When a child or teen seems to have a learning, developmental, or emotional problem that is puzzling to parents or teachers, an evaluation using standardized measures may be an option. Whether overwhelmed by schoolwork, slow in development of language or academic skills, or showing changes in his or her school performance or mood, evaluations can help to pinpoint the problem and lead to appropriate recommendations.
If you suspect your child has a learning or attention problem, a neuropsychological evaluation can be used to clarify the diagnosis and offer recommendations for appropriate school interventions and accommodations. This type of assessment provides a comprehensive view of your child’s strengths and weaknesses as a learner and helps to identify the underlying reasons for a learning problem. This evaluation includes assessment of the following areas: intelligence, attention and executive functioning, language, visual-spatial, visual-motor, and fine-motor skills, memory, and social-emotional functioning, as well as academic skills in reading, spelling, writing, and math.
When children are exhibiting emotional symptoms that are puzzling to parents, teachers, and therapists, a psychological assessment can be a means to help with diagnosis and recommendations. This evaluation includes assessment of general intellectual and social-emotional functioning, and includes self-report and parent and teacher reports of the current concerns.
An educational assessment provides a current view of a child’s academic functioning using standardized measures, that is, in comparison to others of the same age and grade. This can be helpful information when parents are considering a school change, requesting testing accommodations, and when a learning problem has already been clearly identified and parents would like an update on the child’s academic progress.
Dr. McIntyre is trained in a variety of therapeutic approaches including psychodynamic, cognitive- behavioral, and behavioral therapies. The therapy approach is flexibly tailored to suit the needs of the client and his or her family. Methods include:
Through conversation or play activities, the therapist gains an understanding of the areas of greatest concern for the client. In therapy, the client learns to express emotional states clearly and appropriately, observe and tolerate emotions with greater ease, gain insight into his or her behaviors and patterns in relationships, practice new ways of communicating with others, and improve problems-solving and social skills. The child or adolescent is viewed in the context of the whole family and his or her unique temperament and developmental experiences.
Mindfulness, Distress Management, and Relaxation Exercises
Exercises and practices are introduced that can help clients manage the stresses of life. For example, breathing exercises, progressive musle relaxation, and visualization provide ways to reduce anxiety and bodily tension. Mindfulness emphasizes moment to moment awareness of one’s inner world of thoughts, feelings, and sensations without judgment.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
DBT is a more intensive form of therapy designed to help people changes patterns of behavior that are not effective, such as self-harm, suicidal thinking, and substance abuse. This therapy helps people develop greater self-acceptance and motivation for change. DBT clients learn skills for emotional regulation, distress tolerance, interpersonal effectiveness, and mindful awareness of one’s behavior and emotions. Clients attend one skills group per week as well as one individual therapy session per week.
• What is DBT? [link]
Parent involvement is an important part of the treatment of children and adolescents. Parents can present their concerns about their child or teen’s behavior. Interventions that can be helpful include education about the particular problem facing the child or teen, development of a behavior intervention plan for the home, and guidance in effective communication between parent and child. Dr. McIntyre can also refer parents to resources in the community that might be helpful.
Consultation about School Problems
Sometimes parents are unsure if a school situation is meeting their child’s needs. As a former school psychologist and an experienced evaluator of learning and emotional problems, Dr. McIntyre can help the parents communicate with school personnel about their child, identify classroom accommodations or special education services that may be appropriate for their child, and understand standardized testing results.