Category Archives: Clinic

Guidebooks for Parents and Educators

Parents and educators are often looking for useful resources in gifted education. We would like to highlight a few. The Davidson Institute’s guidebooks for parents and educators on advocacy, early entrance to college, homeschooling, mentorships, and twice exceptional students can be downloaded for free:

The Belin-Blank Center offers extensive information on academic acceleration in several publications.

  • A Nation Empowered: An update to the watershed report on acceleration, A Nation Deceived, the 2015 report provides the latest research on acceleration. A Nation Empowered: Volume 1 is written in an accessible format for parents, educators, policymakers, and the general public. A Nation Empowered: Volume 2 provides the research and an in-depth look at topics specific to acceleration, including grade-skipping, early entrance to college, twice exceptional students, and longitudinal research.
  • A Nation Deceived, Volume 1: Published in 2004, this volume includes an overview of the issues surrounding acceleration for gifted students. The discussion of the myths is still relevant today.

Two resources on twice-exceptional students are also provided by the Belin-Blank Center:

The Hoagies Gifted website provides a somewhat overwhelming list of books in gifted education. We encourage you to visit the page again and again. Hint: start with the books that have a star next to them. Some of those are classics.

Gifted Education Awareness Month: Services at the ACC – Educational Assessment

In Iowa, October has been declared Gifted Education Awareness Month! To celebrate, we’ll be revisiting some of your favorite posts from the blog all month long. We get a variety of questions about what our Assessment and Counseling Clinic does and how to know if a particular service is right for a given child. Today, we’re focusing on educational assessments.


Services at the ACC: Educational Assessment

Dr. Alissa Doobay, Licensed Psychologist, Supervisor of Psychological Services
Dr. Alissa Doobay, Licensed Psychologist, Supervisor of Psychological Services

Individualized educational assessments are conducted to assist with academic planning.  They involve individual assessment of intellectual and academic skills, including above-level skills, as well as a screening of psychosocial factors that may be relevant in academic planning decisions.  These assessments are not diagnostic in nature; therefore, they cannot be submitted to insurance for reimbursement.

Following the assessment, parents are provided with a comprehensive report detailing the test results and our recommendations. The cost depends on the number of hours spent, but a typical educational assessment includes approximately 6 hours of testing and costs $730.

Some initial reasons to consider an individualized educational assessment include:

  • You’re considering whole grade acceleration and would like to get the bulk of the information needed all at once.
  • The student is in 3rd grade or younger, and therefore too young for most other assessments.
  • The student has behavioral/cognitive factors that result in individualized assessment being more accurate than group-administered (e.g., 2e students who don’t “test” as well as expected based on knowledge).

We also offer twice-exceptional assessments, which include intellectual and academic testing in addition to a diagnostic assessment to determine whether the child meets criteria for a particular psychological diagnosis (e.g., Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, Specific Learning Disorder, anxiety or depression, etc.). These evaluations are conducted by a licensed psychologist and may be submitted to insurance depending on your insurance provider. There is a currently a waitlist for twice-exceptional assessments.

Could an educational assessment help your child?  You can request an appointment through our online intake form.

Originally posted on January 12, 2017

Summer Social Skills Group for High School Students

The Belin-Blank Center Assessment and Counseling Clinic is offering a social skills group for high ability students who are entering 9th – 12th grade who demonstrate strong intellectual or academic abilities and social skills challenges (possibly due to ASD, anxiety, ADHD, etc.). The goal of the group is to facilitate development of improved social skills and peer relationships through natural social interaction and video modeling techniques.

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There will be 6 group sessions, each 50 minutes in length, conducted on the 5th floor of Blank Honors Center. The group will meet weekly on Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. beginning on Tuesday, July 10, and running through Tuesday, August 14.  The fee is $45 per session, and we do accept BC/BS insurance. We will accept up to 6 students for our summer session.

If you have any questions or would like for your child to participate in this group, please contact alissa-doobay@uiowa.edu.

Our Clinic Staff Are Hitting the Road

The Assessment and Counseling Clinic staff have a busy fall of presentations scheduled!  Will they be near you?  We made a handy-dandy Google Map so you can find out.

 

Changes to Family Therapy Services

Frequent readers of our blog will remember our posts on the variety of services offered by our Assessment and Counseling Clinic, including family therapy.

Family therapy can help parents, kids, and teens find better ways to communicate and help families create schedules and routines. Family therapy can also help families navigate mental health issues such as depression, anxiety or eating disorders and can help and provide families with a framework for coping through developmental transitions. Previously, we included family therapy as an option on our intake form for clinical services; however, now we are asking that families schedule directly with Dr. Jacob Priest, Assistant Professor in the UI Couple and Family Therapy Doctoral Program and supervisor of the family counseling service. To schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Priest at jacob-b-priest@uiowa.edu or 319-335-6044.  Appointments will occur at the Lindquist Center on the University of Iowa campus, and this service is free of charge.

Services at the ACC: Family Therapy

We get a variety of questions about what our Assessment and Counseling Clinic does and how to know if a particular service is right for a given child.  This week, we’re focusing on the services the Clinic provides, the people who provide them, and how to know if your child could benefit.  Today, we’re focusing on family therapy.

Nathan Hough

Nathan Hough, Graduate Student

This week, we’ve already talked about individual therapy, in which the child is the client and the focus is mostly on their individual needs.  In family therapy, the whole family is the client as opposed to one child. Therefore, the whole family is usually involved in the work, although this can vary to some degree based on the needs of the family.

The goals for this kind of therapy are usually to improve ways the family members communicate and relate to each other, as well as to address specific areas of concern.

Nathan Hough, doctoral student in Couple and Family therapy, has experience in working with families of high ability students presenting with a variety of issues, including twice-exceptionality, sibling conflict, and complex mental health concerns.

Family therapy is currently free. If a family indicates interest in this service, their information is shared with Armeda Wojciak, faculty in the Couple and Family Therapy (CFT) doctoral program, and then scheduling is handled by the individual therapist (currently, Nathan). Supervision is provided by the CFT faculty, but Belin-Blank Center psychologists are available for consultation with the CFT student as needed. Appointments take place in the Assessment and Counseling Clinic.

Does family therapy sound like a good fit for your family?  You can request to participate in family therapy through our online intake form.

[EDIT, September 2017]: We are now asking that families schedule directly with Dr. Jacob Priest.  To schedule an appointment, please contact Dr. Priest at jacob-b-priest@uiowa.edu or 319-335-6044.

What Kind of Test Should My Child Take?

Often, we hear from parents and educators who are seeing the signs that children aren’t being challenged, and they’re looking for a way to assess their current level of knowledge so they can make appropriate curricular adjustments.

The Belin-Blank Center offers two major kinds of assessment: above-level testing, and individualized educational assessment.

Above-level testing means giving a test designed for older students to younger students.  For instance, I-Excel consists of 8th grade content, but we administer it to high-ability 4th-6th graders.  Some reasons to consider above-level testing:

  • Parents and/or teachers suspect that the student isn’t being challenged.
  • Parents and/or teachers are looking to understand what level of content the student is ready to learn.
  • The student would like to participate in programs (IOAPA, some summer programs) that require the scores.

And the student should meet the following criteria:

  • Scoring at the 95th percentile or higher on any main subject of a standardized grade-level test.
  • Able to sit still and concentrate for 2 1/2 hours with a short break halfway through.

Learn more about above-level testing through the Belin-Blank Exceptional Student Talent Search (BESTS).

Individualized educational assessments are conducted to assist with academic planning.  They involve individual assessment of intellectual and academic skills, including above-level skills, as well as a screening of psychosocial factors that may be relevant in academic planning decisions.  These assessments are not diagnostic in nature; therefore, they cannot be submitted to insurance for reimbursement.  The results are more detailed than above-level testing, and the cost to complete them is higher.  Some initial reasons to consider an individualized educational assessment include:

  • You’re considering whole grade acceleration and would like to get the bulk of the information needed all at once.
  • The student is in 3rd grade or younger, and therefore too young for the grade-level assessments or I-Excel.
  • The student has behavioral/cognitive factors that result in individualized assessment being more accurate than group-administered (e.g., 2e students who don’t “test” as well as expected based on knowledge).

Individualized educational assessments are available through our Assessment and Counseling Clinic.  You can request an appointment with the Clinic using this form.

Invitation to Participate in an Intervention Study for Youth Diagnosed with ADHD

Pearson’s Center for College & Career Success and the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa are pleased to invite parents of students who have a diagnosis of ADHD to apply for participation in a study examining Cogmed Working Memory Training.

Students should be between the ages of 7 to 15 and identified with a diagnosis of ADHD.

The training protocol is 50 minutes per day, five days per week, for the duration of five weeks (a total of 25, 50-minute sessions).

The purpose of this research study is to evaluate the effectiveness of the CogMed Working Memory Training program as an intervention for students who have ADHD. Individuals will be compensated up to $30 for study participation.

Interested families are encouraged to contact Megan Foley Nicpon at megan-foley-nicpon@uiowa.edu

We look forward to hearing from you!

Did You Miss Our 2E Webinar?

Feb16_webinarIt’s not too late to see one of our most popular webinars yet. Nurturing the Potential of Twice-Exceptional Students: Practical Guidelines for Understanding and Supporting 2e Students is available to order on DVD.

 

Information on relevant legislation, research, clinical findings, and recommendations/resources regarding twice-exceptional students was discussed. Specific information was provided about high-ability students with ADHD, learning disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and anxiety/depression.  DVDs of the webinar can be used by schools, area education agencies, psychologists, and parents to gain additional information about the needs of twice-exceptional students.

We also have a free online publication, The Paradox of Twice-Exceptionality: Packet of Information for Professionals (PIP-2), that provides recommendations for addressing the classroom needs of twice-exceptional students.

Belin-Blank Center Social Skills Research Opportunity

The Belin-Blank Center Assessment and Counseling Clinic is pleased to invite students with social skills challenges (either due to ASD or another diagnosis) to apply for participation in a social skills intervention group. Students should be in grades 9 through 12 and demonstrate high ability on an individually-administered intellectual assessment (e.g., Wechsler Scales of Intelligence). There will be 10 group sessions, each 60 minutes in length, conducted at the Belin-Blank Center Assessment and Counseling Clinic during the Spring 2016 semester. Parents, students, and the students’ teacher will also be asked to complete rating scales regarding the student’s psychosocial functioning.

The social skills group will be part of a research study examining the effectiveness of a particular social skills training intervention with high ability students. There will be no charge for this service. Applicants will be screened for inclusion in the group, and the intervention implemented will be tailored to the specific needs of the group based on information obtained during the recruitment process. Parents will be asked to provide documentation of the adolescent’s cognitive abilities and diagnosis. Interested families are encouraged to contact Alissa Doobay, PhD, at 319-335-6148 or alissa-doobay@uiowa.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

Family Therapy Services Offered at the B-BC

The Belin-Blank Center Assessment and Counseling Clinic is pleased to be continuing collaboration with the Couple and Family Therapy Program (CFT) at the University of Iowa College of Education in order to offer family therapy services to high-ability/twice-exceptional students and their families.

Family therapy services will be provided by masters-level therapists who are working on their doctoral degrees, under the direct supervision of Dr. Armeda Wojciak, Assistant Professor and licensed marriage and family therapist in the CFT program, and with consultation from Dr. Alissa Doobay, licensed psychologist at the Belin-Blank Center.

A limited number of therapy slots are available for this semester, and we currently have openings. These family therapy services will be provided free of charge. If you are interested in this service or have any questions, please contact Dr. Alissa Doobay at alissa-doobay@uiowa.edu or Armeda Wojciak at armeda-wojciak@uiowa.edu.

New Social Skills Group for High School Students

The Belin-Blank Center Assessment and Counseling Clinic is pleased to invite students with social skills challenges (either due to ASD or another diagnosis) to apply for participation in a social skills intervention group. Students should be in grades 9 through 12 and demonstrate high ability on an individually-administered intellectual assessment (e.g., Wechsler Scales of Intelligence). There will be 10 group sessions, each 60 minutes in length, conducted at the Belin-Blank Center Assessment and Counseling Clinic during the Fall 2015 semester. Parents, students, and the students’ teacher will also be asked to complete rating scales regarding the student’s psychosocial functioning.

The social skills group will be part of a research study examining the effectiveness of a particular social skills training intervention with high ability students. There will be no charge for this service. Applicants will be screened for inclusion in the group, and the intervention implemented will be tailored to the specific needs of the group based on information obtained during the recruitment process. Parents will be asked to provide documentation of the adolescent’s cognitive abilities and diagnosis. Interested families are encouraged to contact Alissa Doobay, PhD, at 319-335-6148 or alissa-doobay@uiowa.edu. We look forward to hearing from you!

Have You Seen Our February Newsletter?

Feb15newsletter

We’ve got news, details about our summer programs, an exciting new blog, and more!  Visit belinblank.org/newsletter to get the latest news from the Center.

Want to be the first to hear news from us?  Subscribe to our newsletter!

Social Skills Intervention Group for High Ability Students

The Belin-Blank Center Assessment and Counseling Clinic is pleased to invite students with social skills challenges (either due to ASD or another diagnosis) to apply for participation in a social skills intervention group. Students should be in grades 6 through 8 and demonstrate high ability and/or achievement on the Iowa Assessments, Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT), or other individually-administered assessment measures (e.g., Wechsler scales). Recruitment for the group will take place from February 16, 2015 through February 27, 2015. Group sessions will be conducted on Thursdays from 3:30 to 4:30 beginning in March 2015. There will be approximately 8 group sessions, and parents will be asked to participate in a one-time interview about their child’s experience at the conclusion of the intervention. Parents, students, and the students’ teacher will also be asked to complete rating scales regarding the student’s psychosocial functioning.

The social skills group will be part of a research study examining the effectiveness of particular interventions with high ability students that have been developed by experts in the field of ASD. There will be no charge for this service. Interested families are encouraged to contact Nancy Whetstine, the clinic secretary, at 319-335-6148/800-336-6463 or nancy-whetstine@uiowa.edu. Applicants will be screened for inclusion in the group, and the intervention implemented will be tailored to the specific needs of the group based on information obtained during the recruitment process. We look forward to hearing from you!

Message from the Director: How Do We Know What’s Next?

“…the adjacencies of technology and scientific progress dictate what is invented next.”

From Steven Johnson, author of How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World.

 

It likely will not come as a surprise that practically everything I do outside of the Belin-Blank Center, including leisure reading, seems to circle back to the work I do in the Belin-Blank Center. This was certainly the case while I was reading Steven Johnson’s highly informative new book, How We Got to Now.

Each of the six chapters (“Glass,” “Cold,” “Sound,” “Clean,” “Time,” and “Light”) is packed with useful facts and insights that span millennia and project into the future.   Every topic features multiple advancements that relate, in some cases profoundly, to the Center’s day-to-day work: innovative programming, research, services, and teaching. Hence the saliency of the quote, “…the adjacencies of technology and scientific progress dictate what is invented next.” Choosing just one topic was difficult; however, the final chapter, “Light,” had the most notes and highlighted text, which is why I settled on that chapter as the emphasis for the Director’s message for this issue of the Vision newsletter.

Unsurprisingly, Johnson focused on the light bulb, including the multiple ways in which the light bulb has become the symbol of invention and innovation. The entire discussion is fascinating and informative, starting with a review of the role of the individual experimenter/inventor, then moving into the importance of an interdisciplinary team model that fosters collaborative creativity. The next time you flip a switch, remember that for hundreds of years, the main way that humans brought light into their dark living spaces was via the candle. It was only at the end of the 19th century, after decades of many inventors determining important technical aspects of the light bulb, that Thomas Edison – and his team – through relentless experimentation threw the switch that lit up Pearl Street in New York City.

“The light bulb was the kind of innovation that comes together over decades, in pieces. There was no light bulb moment in the story of the light bulb” (p. 211). “The other key ingredient to Edison’s success lay in the team he had assembled around him … memorably known as the ‘muckers.’ The muckers were strikingly diverse in terms of professional expertise …the diversity of the team turned out to be an essential advantage for Edison…Menlo Park marked the beginning of an organizational form that would come to prominence in the twentieth century: the cross-disciplinary research-and-development lab.” (p. 213)

The astute reader has already anticipated the analogy with the Belin-Blank Center. The programs and services that we provide at the Belin-Blank Center, which you will read about in the various sections of Vision, are the result of 26+ years of bringing together professionals with diverse backgrounds and training that allow us to combine classroom and clinical experience with research and professional development. Every day we learn something new from our colleagues and, thanks to our founders, who were also our benefactors, we have a foundation from which we continue to build programs and services. We also have the space and flexibility to try new approaches that will serve gifted students, their educators, and their families.

The adjacencies of technology, teamwork from a dedicated, multi-talented staff, careful financial planning, and opportunities that arise from private and state funding dictate what happens next at the Center. Stay tuned over the next several months and issues of Vision to learn about:

There’s a New Way to Request Clinical Services

The Assessment and Counseling Clinic’s waitlist has just been re-opened for families interested in individualized assessment services.  The Clinic has also developed a convenient new online form for requesting these services.

If you wish to obtain information about our clinical services or are interested in scheduling an assessment, counseling, or consultation, please complete the online form.

B-BC Clinic Seeking a Licensed Psychologist

The Belin-Blank Center is seeking to add a new licensed psychologist to the clinic staff. Please contact Alissa Doobay at alissa-doobay@uiowa.edu for information about the position and how to apply.

Free Counseling Services for Families with High-Ability/2E Children

Could you use some assistance with parenting strategies, managing your child’s difficult behaviors, coping with family stressors, or improving communication between family members? We currently have openings for FREE family counseling services at the Belin-Blank Center.

Due to a recent collaboration with the Couple and Family Therapy Program (CFT) at The University of Iowa College of Education, we are able to offer family therapy services to high-ability/twice-exceptional students and their families. These services are provided by a team of advanced-level doctoral students in the CFT program under the direct supervision of Dr. Jacob Priest, faculty member in the CFT program, and with consultation from Dr. Alissa Doobay, licensed psychologist at the Belin-Blank Center.

Please direct questions about this service to Dr. Alissa Doobay at alissa-doobay@uiowa.edu or Jacob Priest at jacob-b-priest@uiowa.edu.

Current Therapy Openings at the B-BC Clinic

The Belin-Blank Center Assessment and Counseling Clinic currently has openings for individual counseling for gifted and twice-exceptional students. Therapy will be provided by an advanced-level doctoral student under the supervision of Dr. Megan Foley Nicpon. For more information about services offered at the B-BC, please visit our website at http://www2.education.uiowa.edu/belinblank/Clinic/. If you have questions or are interested in scheduling an appointment, please contact Nancy Whetstine at 319-335-6148/800-336-6463 or nancy-whetstine@uiowa.edu.

The family therapy program continues to have openings. These services are provided at the B-BC by doctoral students in the University of Iowa Couple and Family Therapy Program under the supervision of Dr. Jacob Priest. For more information or to request services, please contact Dr. Alissa Doobay at alissa-doobay@uiowa.edu.

Currently, the assessment waitlist is closed for new referrals because we are booked through Spring of 2014. The assessment waitlist is scheduled to re-open on November 1st. At that time, please contact Nancy Whetstine at 319-335-6148/800-336-6463 or nancy-whetstine@uiowa.edu regarding this service.