We are so excited to welcome Dr. Christopher Smith to the Belin-Blank Center! Dr. Smith is joining the Assessment and Counseling Clinic as a licensed psychologist.
Dr. Smith earned his BA from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell and his MA and PhD from Alliant International University in San Francisco, CA. He completed his internship at an inpatient psychiatric hospital in Augusta, Maine, and his post-doctoral fellowship working with children and adolescents at an eating disorder clinic in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He holds psychology licenses in Iowa, New York, and Massachusetts. Most recently, he worked as a licensed psychologist at ChildServe in Iowa City.
We are looking forward to having Dr. Smith on the team at the ACC! He will be involved in providing clinical assessment and counseling services to gifted and twice-exceptional students and supporting research and other clinic initiatives.
Be sure to check out all of the clinical services we provide in our Assessment and Counseling Clinic. If you are interested in requesting more information about scheduling clinic services, you can do so here!
Dr. Amanda Berns is a Licensed Psychologist who is joining the clinical staff in the Assessment and Counseling Clinic. She attended the University of Iowa while obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Education Specialist, and Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology. Dr. Berns gained experience working in schools, outpatient clinics at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, the local homeless shelter, and children’s homes through the Early Access Autism Resources Team at Grant Wood Area Education Agency. She also completed an iLEND fellowship and externships at Nisonger Center and St. David’s Center.
For two years in graduate school, Dr. Berns held an assistantship providing mentorship to talented and gifted college students at the Belin-Blank Center, as well. Dr. Berns attended a predoctoral internship at Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health and a postdoctoral fellowship at The Counseling Center of Nashua. She also worked in public schools as a traveling school psychologist and Autism Consultant, and outpatient settings at Wisconsin Early Autism Project (WEAP).
Besides having a wealth of clinical experience across these settings, Dr. Berns has particular expertise in assessment and intervention services for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In particular, her research background is in the social-emotional experiences of those who are twice-exceptional. She is excited to join the Belin-Blank Center’s Assessment and Counseling Clinic, where she is conducting twice-exceptional evaluations and providing counseling services.
Be sure to check out all of the clinical services we provide in our Assessment and Counseling Clinic. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment or requesting more information, you can do so here!
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
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.
Whatever your involvement with bright students, our upcoming webinar can help you understand the research and best practices for working with them.
Counseling in Gifted Education: Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going
Drs. Megan Foley Nicpon and Susannah Wood January 30, 4:30 – 6:00 PM
Counseling is considered an integral part of the “whole child” approach to working with gifted children. This webinar session will a) provide a historical overview of counseling the gifted; b) highlight 10 major areas of research related to counseling the gifted individual; and c) apply these findings via recommendations for practice for counselors, teachers and administrators.