Oakland Neuropsychology Blog

College Students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD

College Students with Learning Disabilities and ADHD

While most individuals with learning disabilities and ADHD are diagnosed as children or adolescents, some are diagnosed with these issues later on as adults, frequently while in college. While they may have been struggling with reading, writing, or math skills over their entire academic careers, they compensated adequately through hard work, extraordinarily high levels of … Read more

ADHD Treatment In Michigan

‘I Think It’s More Than ADHD’

Quite often, parents tell me that they suspect that while their child has a diagnosis of ADHD, they ‘feel there is something else’ interfering with learning or with their child’s ability to socialize. While teachers and even family members often agree with them, everyone finds it hard to ‘put their finger on it.’ For a … Read more

Being Prepared For IEPs In Michigan

Donna’s Blog: Being Prepared for IEP’s

Before I started working at Oakland Neuropsychology Center, I was a parent trying to navigate the special education world. Through this, I have experienced highs and lows. I am sharing some of the things I have learned along the way. First and foremost, each parent is their child’s first teacher in life and their best … Read more

What are the ‘Red Flags’ for Learning Disabilities

What are the ‘Red Flags’ for LD?

For many children and parents, the beginning of the school year is an exciting time. But for others, this excitement is quickly replaced with worries. Although we are only a few days or weeks into the school year, your child’s teacher already called to talk about behaviors she’s observed during class, or concerns she has … Read more

IEE for psychological or neuropsychological testing in Oakland County

IEE For Psychological Or Neuropsychological Testing In Oakland County

It is not unusual for our office to receive calls enquiring about Dr. Beaulieu’s availability to conduct an IEE, which stands for Independent Educational Evaluation. Typically, an IEE is requested when parents do not agree with the school’s assessment and therefore, are asking for an independent assessment of their child’s abilities at public expense. These … Read more

Psychological Testing for Adults In Michigan

Psychological Testing for Adults? Absolutely!

Many adults call our office to enquire about testing for various difficulties they encounter on a regular basis. For some, they find that their daily struggles with staying focused on tasks is overwhelming, and they feel inefficient and frustrated with their difficulties keeping track of what they need to accomplish for work or at home. … Read more

psychological-testing-benefits

Michigan Psychological Testing: How Will This Help Me or My Child?

School can be a very exciting and stimulating place for many children and adolescents. For a number of others, however, it is a place where they feel stressed, inefficient, confused, and unfortunately, defeated at times. As parents, we want to help them but often end up feeling frustrated as everything we try just doesn’t seem to work or ‘doesn’t stick.’ You follow the teacher’s suggestions and while everyone is working hard, the progress is so slow. Something seems to be missing. Many parents contact us sharing these issues and feeling this way: rest assured, you are not alone and we can help.

Testing can be very helpful in cases such as these. It is often a good place to start. It provides a comprehensive overview of learning strengths and weaknesses, which help explain why someone is struggling and most importantly, how to help them using their own personal strengths. Testing looks into abilities such as attention and concentration, memory, processing, reasoning and problem solving, as well as academic skills. For children or adolescents with social difficulties, there are also measures that are sensitive to one’s ability to process information that is crucial to develop efficient peer relationships. As part of the evaluation, we also take into account and directly measure parent and teacher perceptions of a child’s abilities; how they function in different learning and social environments is a very important piece of the puzzle. In some cases, Dr. Beaulieu will directly observe children while they are in class or during recess, to understand what their particular struggles and needs are.

Testing can help determine if there are one or more conditions that may be interfering with learning or social skills. For example, it is not uncommon for individuals with learning disabilities to also struggle with attentional issues, such as ADHD. They may be struggling emotionally, and display features or problems that are consistent with an anxiety disorder or with depression. Depending on your child’s profile, a specific and individualized intervention plan is put forth that highlights strengths (ex. strong verbal memory skills, attentive to details, great interpersonal skills, etc.) which can then be used to address weaknesses in other areas. This information is presented in a helpful and accessible fashion for parents, teachers, pediatricians, and therapists. The goal, ultimately, is to help your child feel confident and successful in school so that learning becomes an activity they enjoy as much as their peers.

Oakland Neuropsychology Center
Office: (248) 644-9466
4190 Telegraph Rd, Suite 2700
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302

Misdiagnosis

Misdiagnosis: How To Avoid It. Psychological Testing In Metro Detroit

Frequently, parents will tell me that they are frustrated with the lack of progress or change they see in their child despite the many treatments and interventions they have tried over months, or even years in some cases. Often, they have a difficult time explaining the reasons for their child’s difficulties. Is it ADHD, given that teachers are reporting lack of focus and effort? Is it dyslexia, given that their child has never liked to read? Maybe it is ‘emotional’ or ‘lack of confidence’, given that their child appears to be increasingly struggling with self-esteem issues with every passing year? Or, maybe it’s something else, such as ‘high functioning autism,’ because their child has been struggling to make friends? It is not unusual for the children and adolescents we see to have collected various diagnoses along the way, put forth by different therapists and doctors, or by school district staff. At other times, there are no clear explanations or diagnosis…. Just a lot of confusion, frustration, and discouragement.

I often suggest to parents that before they invest their time, resources, and efforts into specific medical or educational interventions it may be helpful to determine what are the underlying issues in the first place and then determine whether this is truly what their child needs. Many difficulties can masquerade or look like specific conditions. For example, an anxious child may be feeling so nervous when it comes to schoolwork that they are unable to complete tests or schoolwork without parent’s or the teacher’s help because they fear making mistakes. They can become overwhelmed and shut down when faced with extensive reading or writing demands, making them look like they are not proficient readers and writers. In class, the teacher might perceive them as ‘ADHD’ because they are slow, inattentive, or oppositional when it comes to doing their work, and barely complete any work without assistance. They may have meltdowns when working or playing with their peers, as their anxiety makes it hard for them to be flexible when conflicts arise. Without a proper evaluation, this child may be misdiagnosed as having a learning disability, an oppositional/defiant disorder, ADHD, or even an autistic spectrum disorder. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis leads to the wrong treatment approach.

If you are finding yourself in this situation, it may be helpful to consider obtaining a comprehensive evaluation to rule-out conditions that may look like specific diagnoses at first glance. Often, scheduling a consultation with Dr. Beaulieu is the right first step for the families we see, to determine if testing is the best option at that time. You may also talk to your pediatrician about your concerns, and determine if a referral for testing may be indicated before specific treatment options are attempted.

Oakland Neuropsychology Center
Office: (248) 644-9466
4190 Telegraph Rd, Suite 2700
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302

Is Your Child Dysgraphic?

Is Your Child Dysgraphic? Academic Testing In Michigan

Handwriting is a very complicated task, for many students. It often leads to resistance for many different reasons, at home and at school, especially in elementary school. For some, the actual act of holding and writing using a pen or pencil is very challenging, laborious, and uncomfortable. They will say that their ‘hand hurts,’ as they hold their pencil with a tight grip or put too much pressure on their pencil when forming letters on paper. While they put in as much or more effort than their peers, their writing is often messy or illegible as letters and numbers are poorly formed. Their writing is characterized by unusually large or small letters, and misspelled words. Sentences are difficult to decipher due to missing words, lack of appropriate spacing between words, and poor use of punctuation and capitalization. Some may have a difficult time staying on the line when writing sentences.

Dysgraphia is a neurological disorder, and not the result of a child being ‘lazy.’ Their fine motor skills are often weaker than expected for their age. Many dysgraphic children we see will have a history of frustration and oppositional behaviors when it comes to writing. They are overwhelmed with the writing demands and with the amount of erasing they have to do on each assignment, further impacting on neatness and legibility. On the other hand, they are often very articulate children with great expressive language skills. They are able to explain concepts clearly and generate detailed and interesting stories orally, but cannot convey this same level of proficiency when this information is in written format.

The first step in determining whether a child is dysgraphic is to examine the different aspects involved in writing. For some children, the fine motor demands of handwriting and drawing are not commensurate with what might be expected for their age. Perceptual-motor and visual-spatial skills are also evaluated, to determine whether difficulties processing visual information may also be contributing to the difficulties observed. For others, concentration issues lead to careless errors, spelling mistakes, or inattention in reading writing prompts. Careful assessment of the many different aspects involved in writing will be useful in determining what the underlying issues are, and how to best help your child reach their full potential. If you have questions about dysgraphia, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with Dr. Beaulieu.

Oakland Neuropsychology Center
Office: (248) 644-9466
4190 Telegraph Rd, Suite 2700
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48302