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. A neuropsychological 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 an increase in emotional symptoms for unclear reasons, 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 flexible in order to suit the needs of the client. Methods include:
Psychotherapy is conducted through play or conversation and addresses expressing emotional states clearly, observing and tolerating emotions with greater ease, developing insight into one’s behavior and patterns in relationships, practicing new ways of communicating with others, and improving problem-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 stress more effectively. For example, breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization provide ways to reduce anxiety and bodily tension. Also, mindfulness activities are used to develop moment to moment awareness of one’s inner world of thoughts, feelings, and sensations with less judgment and reactivity.
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. Interventions that can be helpful include education about the particular problem facing the child or teen, development of a behavioral 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 experienced evaluator of learning and emotional problems, Dr. McIntyre can help parents communicate with school personnel about their child, identify classroom accommodations or special education services that may be appropriate, and interpret standardized testing results.