SERVICES WE OFFER
We specialize in learning struggles: Dyslexia, Executive Function Deficits, Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, Writing Disorders (Dysgraphia), Specific Language Impairment, Math Disabilities (Dyscalculia), Visual and Auditory Processing Disorders, and Attentional Regulation (Attention Deficit Disorders).
Addressing learning disabilities can be confusing, and the path through remediation to new skills is rarely simple. We bring our personal attention to language, attention, and learning needs. If referrals are necessary, such as when struggles are primarily behavioral or social-emotional in nature, we’ll be working with colleagues we know and trust for their skill and professionalism.
Click below to learn more about each of these areas of our expertise:
For Kids Under 12
For 12 to 18 years
When language and learning disabilities have gone undetected, secondary struggles can manifest in terms of social struggles, organizational difficulties, motivational challenge, and mood disorders. Our evaluations can help disentangle the relative contribution of these and other factors. Our coaching and educational therapy services can help turn educational mountains into molehills.
OLDER THAN 18
A considerable proportion of our clients are adults, and the eagerness with which they approach professional and educational difficulties can be as impressive as it is inspiring. When adversity hits, many can finally push through the shame that has prevented them from seeking help. When young adults are off the beaten path of college in four years (which is increasingly the case), our diagnostic and coaching services can play instrumental roles in identifying and overcoming learning and production struggles.
What is a diagnostic evaluation anyway? Click here to see a video about the process of testing.
What are psychoeducational evaluations?
A comprehensive psychoeducational evaluation documents a child’s, adolescent’s, or adult’s information processing strengths and weaknesses as they impact educational and social functioning. A complete evaluation includes detailed information about cognitive aptitude, thinking skills, memory, executive functioning, visual perceptual skills, phonological processing, receptive and expressive oral language, and academic functioning in reading, written language, and mathematics.
These quantitative psychometric measures are nationally normed and standardized, and because they are individually administered (instead of group-administered tests at school), qualitative approaches to individual items are integrated. These evaluations can be used to guide school services, such as an IEP or 504 Plan.
What are neuropsychological evaluations?
Neuropsychological evaluations broadly assess psychological functioning across attentional, social-emotional, cognitive, and academic domains. They can help rule in or rule out the presence of AD/HD, anxiety, depression, spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, dementia, and other conditions. Our evaluations go well beyond labeling; subtle interplay between neurocognitive strengths and weaknesses can help drive and fine tune recommendations for services provided either at school or privately.
Evaluations are generally scheduled over the course of 2 sequential days. Once the evaluation is complete, we’ll make the results understandable – you won’t just be left with a mere technical printout with statistics! We provide personalized recommendations about what next steps – if any – might be beneficial. Depending upon the findings, next steps may be with us or one of the many providers we partner closely with. Often, our familiarity with the evaluation results and with your child allows us to help him/her make demonstrable changes more immediately.
Children usually enjoy the evaluation process, which is conducted by fun, friendly, and skilled clinicians who appreciate the child’s perspective and individuality. Most of our diagnosticians are former teachers.
Educational therapy helps individuals with average to superior intelligence experiencing academic struggles progress and fulfill their learning potential. Educational therapy is personalized instruction for individuals experiencing learning differences and disabilities, including Dyslexia, AD/HD, Executive Functioning Deficits, Language Disorders, or auditory and visual processing deficits.
Areas where gains are seen in educational therapy include:
- Academic skills (increases in reading, written language, or math scores
- Learning behaviors (organization, problem solving, work initiation, motivation, self-knowledge)
- Social/ emotional (disentangling emotions that interfere in productivity, absorption of new material, or self-defeating thoughts that interfere in assessments)
The difference between educational therapy and psychotherapy is that rather than addressing struggles that are primarily social or emotional in nature, educational therapy targets primarily cognitive and academic skills. Often after navigating school struggles together, the relationship between client and educational therapist develops a “quasi-therapeutic” nature. Our educational therapy pulls from techniques that are both didactic and empathic.
The difference between educational therapy and tutoring is that instead of being curriculum centered (slogging through the “assignment du jour”), in educational therapy the curriculum is your child. Guided by ours or others’ evaluation reports, specific “mental muscles” are strengthened.
The central goal of educational therapy is to foster learners who are self-confident, independent, and knowledgeable about their learning profiles so they can self advocate.
Educational Therapy is a general term that covers a variety of our services.
This approach is not psychotherapy, nor is it subject tutoring. Rather, educational therapy goes above and beyond the usual intervention. The educational therapist fully understands the child’s challenges and talents, and uses an approach tailored to the individual, grounded in academic research and professional experience. Our educational therapy approaches, individualized for each learner, are best used for dyslexia, nonverbal learning disabilities, writing disorders (dysgraphia), specific language impairment, math disabilities (dyscalculia), visual and auditory processing disorders, attentional regulation (attention deficit disorders), executive function deficits, written expression, and word retrieval.
You can expect:
- Gains, even when tutoring and other programs have disappointed
- Progress measured in Standard Scores, used to develop Education Plans in schools
- Goals set by Students, supported by their parents and the clinician
- Skills developed one-on-one and strengthened to automaticity, then applied to the classroom and homework struggles.
Executive Function Coaching, Working Memory Training
Executive function is the term used to describe how we manage time, prioritize tasks and organize information – in other words, all the meta-cognition that relates to how we plan and execute our thinking and learning. In a very common example, when getting ready for school in the morning, it’s helpful if the child thinks first of the probably weather before they choose their clothing – this kind of planning can be difficult for those with executive function deficits. Coaching helps in measurable and practical ways that become automatic for the learner. Ultimately, the coach is no longer needed – that’s just what we want!
Working memory is the term used for the information that we need to keep at our fingertips to complete a given task. We use working memory to calculate the tip on a restaurant bill in our heads, to remember the steps of a recipe while we are cooking, and to recall the time and date of an appointment until we can enter it into our calendar.
We’ll work intensively on these areas, and your child will learn approaches that will benefit them throughout their educational career.
Standardized Test Preparation
Standardized Test performance can make a huge difference in a student’s ability to access opportunities.
We’ll work directly with your child to make the most of their skills and build any areas that may be holding them back. We specialize in individualized test preparation, based on your child’s strengths and weaknesses. The skills we help them develop will apply to standardized tests they encounter in the future, as well as the one they face more immediately.
You can expect:
- Proven test-taking strategies
- Realistic assessment of predicted gains
- Personal tutoring plan based on target score & time available
- Success, even when other programs have disappointed.
Screening for Giftedness
Individualized learning can take place on either end of neurotypicality – or both at the same time!
Through gifted screenings, we help parents understand their child’s learning strengths in more depth – which specific areas of talent or giftedness should be cultivated most actively? How can I communicate my child’s specific learning proclivities to his/her teacher?
Being “twice exceptional”, or “2E”, explains how a student can excel in one academic area while clearly struggling in another.
Double exceptionality is the term used to describe the simultaneous presence of giftedness with a learning disability or attention disorder. Our evaluations can help delineate the talents and challenges inherent in your child, and our reports and advocacy help communicate these to teachers, parents, specialists, and the child themself.
Consultation, Advocacy, Educator-to-Educator Liaison
If you or your child has already had a psychoeducational or neuropsychological evaluation, or has been screened for giftedness, we will review and clarify those results. From there, we can help you and your child decide what – if any – next steps would be beneficial.
If you have already received recommendations about the best therapies, but you want a second opinion, we’re happy to review the information and give you our independent perspective.
Advocacy is a crucial skill for families of people with learning disabilities.
We’re here to guide you in this, with years of experience seeing what approaches have worked best for other families with similar needs. We can help you be sure you have the understanding, the language, and the clarity of focus so that you can be your learner’s most effective advocate.
At the appropriate time, youth with learning differences will also need to learn the crucial skill of self-advocacy. We’re ready to support your child directly – after all, they’ll need to speak up for themselves for the rest of their lives. We empower them to verbalize their differences, clarify their needs, and to discern the best way to get their needs met.
Many parents choose to use us as a liaison to create a productive relationship with their child’s schools.
It is unfortunate but true that parents of atypical learners must often be a “squeaky wheel” in order to get needed accommodations in place at school or in testing situations. This can place a strain on the parents, who may find themselves in an unwantedly adversarial relationship with their child’s teachers, in spite of every attempt to be collaborative. We can circumvent confrontations with teachers and staff when proposing accommodations feels fraught.
Let us, the professionals, talk amongst ourselves; be assured that we will keep your child’s best interest at the center of the conversation. We already have cooperative relationships with many teachers, schools, and institutions across the North Shore of Chicago, and as your child experiences more support at school, your relationship with the teachers will also be strengthened.