Autism used to be a rare disorder, but as many as one out of a hundred children have autism. Early treatment is important, so you should know the signs of autism in your child. On this episode of Education Revolution, Dr. Kari talks with Joanne Lara, autism education and movement specialist, who shares the signs your child may have autism and tells parents what to do if you suspect your child has autism.
One of parents’ most worrisome concerns is whether their child has ADD or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Finding out for sure is crucial to your child’s future. In this edition of of the online radio show Education Revolution, Dr. Kari Miller is joined by Dr. Ann Simun, clinical neuropsychologist and specialist in diagnosing ADD and ADHD who explains the symptoms of ADD and ADHD, what testing for ADD and ADHD involves, and how parents can help their child with this condition thrive in school.
All children develop at their own rate. Parents often wonder if the problems and inconsistencies they observe in their child’s behavior are indicative of learning issues that should be checked out by professionals.
You can use the checklist below to get an idea of whether your child shows warning signs that you should investigate further. This checklist is not exhaustive, but it has most of the signs of learning problems that are relevant for parents to be aware of.
As you complete the checklist, remember to take into consideration not only the number of symptoms you notice in your child’s behavior, but also the severity of the symptoms you observe. You may want to share the checklist with your school district or private educational evaluator to communicate your concerns.
Dr. Ann Simun, Los Angeles clinical neuropsychologist and licensed psychologist, discusses the nuts and bolts of a neuropsychological evaluation.
What is neuropsychology?
Neuropsychology is best described as a scientific evaluation of the functions of the brain and nervous system.
What is the purpose of a neuropsychological (NP) evaluation?
An NP exam can be very helpful in making a specific diagnosis of a person’s strengths and needs and establishing a baseline, or “before” picture of intellectual function to be used for future comparison. A good evaluation will reveal a developmental or neurological problem and clarify how a problem is manifesting in the brain.
With children, generally we are investigating how a child learns and what patterns of strengths and needs are evident. The evaluation will also provide suggestions of what may be done to alleviate a problem. A good evaluation will give the family and the medical/educational team information about what type of intervention is appropriate.
Dr. Allison Kawa, Los Angeles child psychologist, discusses early assessment for autism spectrum disorder.
Increased public awareness has put autism spectrum disorders on everyone’s radar. Since one in every 110 children has an autism spectrum disorder, chances are that autism has somehow touched your life.
Yet for many people, questions persist about what autism really is and how it is diagnosed. The term “autism spectrum disorder” (ASD) refers to a cluster of three diagnoses: Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).
The common symptom for all three conditions is impaired social-communication, meaning difficulty communicating effectively with others in socially meaningful exchanges. Read more
By Dr. Ann Simun, Los Angeles clinical neuropsychologist and licensed psychologist
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD (also known as ADD), is a neuro-developmental condition which impacts attention, impulse control, and behavior; it can also impact learning, social skills, and adaptive functioning.
A thorough evaluation for ADHD should be comprehensive and include assessment of general cognitive skills, specific sensory processing skills, academics, and emotional functioning. The best evaluations also include information (interview and standardized rating scales) from the parents and teacher, and an observation of the child in school.
The following is a partial list of tests used to diagnose ADHD. Read more about the diagnostic process for identifying ADHD.
Continuous Performance tests such as the following: Individual Variables of Attention, Test of Variables of Attention, and Connors Continuous Performance Test. These are computer-based “continuous performance tests” where the child gives a very simple response (e.g. click a button) to a simple stimulus (numbers, letters, etc.) on a computer screen; such tests are long and boring with little feedback. Therefore, kids with ADHD often “drift off” and make many mistakes. Mistakes have patterns which can be analyzed in detail to help understand a child’s individual weaknesses. Children with poor impulse control will show specific types of errors on this test; some of these tasks also measure hyperactivity. Read more