Blog

  • Behind the scenes with fellow SLP, Nancy Castilleja

    Nancy Castilleja, SLP

    Nancy, a fellow speech-language pathologist, worked in clinical practice for many years before coming to Pearson. She didn't simply happen upon her career as an SLP. Perhaps like you, Nancy’s interest in following a path to help people with communication disorders was sparked by her experiences with some very special people in her life.

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  • Advocating for At-Risk Students

    by Daniella Maglione, Ed.S., M.S.

    Meet Daniella Maglione, a psychologist (and mother to a son with learning disabilities)

    On any normal day, school was challenging for my ​6th grader, who ​was diagnosed with dyslexia and dysgraphia. He exceeded expectations in other subjects, ​but written expression and ​handwriting were always a point of frustration. ​His performance in these areas was a painful contrast to his otherwise strong grades. Over time, his self-esteem became impacted by his desire to strive in all areas and we made the decision to enroll him in a private school. This decision was based on researching the additional support and resources that would be available to aid his performance in the classroom, such as the ability to type and print his assignments versus handwriting them. 

    Things were beginning to stabilize before COVID-19 caused schools closures. Schools were scrambling just to begin classes online, so custom-designed programs for kids with 504 plans couldn’t be easily accommodated. This was very overwhelming for him. As a parent and psychologist, I knew that I had to look for other options and turned to the National Institute for Learning Development (NILD), which has a tool to identify local therapists for providing ​services that address his areas of need and, in this case, even virtually. 

    The additional support has been instrumental for my son to continue his progress, but the reality is that not everyone is able to secure private help ​for a variety of reasons. In fact, I know others who have sought help, only to get stuck in circuitous paths because of limited, even misguided, direction. It is imperative to understand your student’s rights so that you can be empowered to support them. Turn to resources from organizations like the NILD and International Dyslexia Association (IDA) to explore their services, such as lessons on how best to work with your child or to take advantage of state-run programs.

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  • Dealing with internalizing issues

    Lanterns for Mental Health Awareness

    Supporting a path forward with strategies that work for anxiety and depression

    Explore strategies to help support school-aged students and families while learning at either home or school.

    Many of you have parents and caregivers reaching out for ways to support their students with the potential internalizing issues of anxiety and depression. We’ve assembled some helpful tip sheets focused on dealing with and supporting anxiety and depression in PreK–12 students. Additional insight from Kimberly J. Vannest, PhD will help you provide the guidance families and caregivers may need right now.  

    What to look for and how to help  

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  • How one Wisconsin school district fought increasing student anxiety… and won!

    Illustration of six people arm in arm

    "Committed to community. Committed to children. Committed to excellence.”

    For Waunakee School District teachers and administrators, this isn’t merely a slogan. It’s a promise, and they intend to keep it.

    Waunakee, an affluent, semi-rural town in South-central Wisconsin, is an idyllic place for its 13,000+ residents to call home. Boasting an active social and economic community, higher-than-average median household income, and an excellent, yet challenging, education system — Waunakee clearly takes care of its own.

    In 2018, the county performed the Dane County Youth Assessment and a crisis was consequently uncovered. When compared to the 2015 results of the same assessment, it became clear that anxiety and depression rates across the county were increasing, with 63% of its students reporting “pressure to perform in school” as their greatest concern.

    Traditionally, behavioral health screening doesn’t typically identify mental health concerns related to academic stress, and their results aren’t available until mid-year, but Waunakee administrators knew that this timeline simply wouldn’t do. School officials knew they needed to work quickly to find and implement a solution.

    How did administrators in Waunakee support their students?

    They call it “the sizzle”. Read the case study to find out what it is!

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  • Quickly estimate each student’s reading level with DRA3

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    Whether the first bell of the new school year rings virtually or in person, with it begins the process of benchmarking to determine each student’s ability level in every major domain. Because all learning begins with reading, knowing the strength of each of your student’s reading ability is going to be paramount in the very short term — as if the clock's tick wasn’t loud enough already.

    Half the battle is knowing where to start

    DRA3’s Level Estimator, as its name suggests, will quickly provide you with each student’s estimated reading level, giving you the best possible indication of where to begin instruction.

    Have a minute?

    DRA3’s Level Estimator will give you the in-depth information you need to plan instruction and foster a love a reading... in less time than it takes to watch this video.  

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  • Wondering what behavior management in your classroom will look like?

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    Review360 is with you every step of the way!

    Your back-to learning plan may not look the same as it has in the years past, but one thing is for certain — addressing student behavior will still be at the center of it.

    Review360®, our comprehensive, web-based behavior solution, saves you valuable time and improves communication between teachers, administrators, and home. Suitable for general and special education, Review360 goes beyond typical “behavior management” programs to provide screening for the social-emotional skills and common mental health concerns often at the root of the behaviors themselves.

    Incident reporting, data management, consistent interventions, progress monitoring, customizable reporting, and tailored on-demand professional development are all at your fingertips.

    Feature enhancements and simplified subscription model

    Review360’s 2020 enhancements include:

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  • Behavioral strengths and areas of need

    Four happy children together on a beach

    Using the BASC-3 Flex Monitor to assist in the diagnostic process

    Oftentimes effectively supporting students with behavioral issues begins with gathering the data via assessment. The BASC-3 system includes very comprehensive and useful measurement tools including behavioral rating scales and a Behavior Intervention Guide. Working in step with the rating scales, the Behavior Intervention Guide provides psychologists and educators with evidence-based strategies which can be implemented to support students in their area of need.

    The BASC3-3 Flex Monitor is a web-based tool that allows psychologists to select specific items from a test bank aligned with the BASC-3 behavioral rating scale. Using the Flex Monitor can further inform psychologists whether a child is at risk for specific clinical issues like hyperactivity or depression and can be used to augment the diagnostic process.

    Sample assessment, diagnosis, and intervention plan using BASC-3 components

    Based on her teacher’s and mother’s ratings of her behaviors, Sarah, a third-grade student, is at risk for attention concerns. Using the BASC-3 Intervention Guide, Sarah’s team can suggest interventions such as a daily behavior report card or self-management techniques that would be useful at home and school alike.

    After several weeks her team will monitor her progress to see if the interventions are effective — or if they need to be tweaked. The BASC-3 Flex Monitor can be customized to the needs of individual students in order to better track the effectiveness of interventions. In Sarah’s case, her psychologist can select 10 or 12 key items related to attentional problems that can represent a targeted evaluation of her interventions. As with the full rating scale, her progress monitoring results are compared to a normative sample. If Sarah’s attention is improving, they can continue with the strategies that are working, or adjust her interventions and monitor her progress again in a few weeks.

    Webinar: Learn more about the using the BASC-3 Flex Monitor!

    Improve the Efficacy of Progress Monitoring by Focusing on Student Specific Needs with the BASC-3 Flex Monitor

    Register Now
     

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  • Autism interventions and assessment

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    Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a complex group of related disabilities marked by differences in communication and socialization, a limited range of interests, and the presence of repetitive behaviors (NASP, 2010). Students with ASD often include the following characteristic:

    • Cognitive. Differences in the development of traditional cognitive skills, with incongruencies between development in processing visual/nonverbal information and rote learning with delays in developing skills in processing verbal information and a difference in the learning and use of abstract information;
    • Social skillsPoor development of traditional social skills and rule governed behavior;
    • Communication. Differences in responding to quickly presented verbal information, understanding complex commands, and expressing wants and needs;
    • Organization/self-direction. Organizational abilities do not conform to traditional classroom practices. Often has difficulty screening out distractions, completing activities independently, initiating work activities, organizing free time, stopping one activity and moving on to the next, being flexible, shifting attention to a new focus.

    The Group Autism Speaks

    Provides Excellent resources to assist in the Support of Children with ASD, they also provide information and statistics and information about Autism Research.

    Here are some of the data and information they have recently collected.

    • In 2020, the CDC reported that approximately 1 in 54 children in the U.S. is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to 2016 data.
      • 1 in 34 boys identified with autism
      • 1 in 144 girls identified with autism
    • 31% of children with ASD have an intellectual disability (intelligence quotient [IQ] <70), 25% are in the borderline range (IQ 71–85), and 44% have IQ scores in the average to above average range (i.e., IQ >85).
    • Autism affects all ethnic and socioeconomic groups, but minority groups tend to be diagnosed later and less often.
    • Early intervention affords the best opportunity to support healthy development and deliver benefits across the lifespan.
    • There is no medical detection for autism.

    Evaluation procedures and assessments like the Vineland 3 continue to assist in the identification of students who need support for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), increasing its prevalence and requiring educators to develop practices that allow them to support more students.

    In order to guide our efforts we have worked with Special Educators, surveying them, in order to discover the challenges they are facing in supporting these students.

    They indicated that they need more and better trained coworkers, Professional Development and Resources and instructional programs/materials.

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