Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ascend Psychological Services: Building on your Child’s Strengths/ Helping your Child Overcome Hurdles

by Gretchen Britton, Ph.D.
Do you have any of the following concerns or questions regarding your child?

-Does your child or teen struggle with reading, writing or math?

-Are you concerned that your child has more trouble than most with paying attention and     maintaining focus?

-Is your youngster falling behind in school and you don’t know why?

-Are emotional concerns, worries or sadness impacting your child’s life at home or school?

-Does your youngster need additional time or other accommodations for standardized testing?

-Does your child need testing completed for admission to private school?

-Is your pre-school child ready to begin kindergarten?

-Could your child’s social, behavioral and communication concerns be part of a developmental disorder such as an autism spectrum disorder?

-Would you like a second opinion regarding a psychoeducational evaluation conducted at       your child’s school or would you like help in navigating the special education process?

-Would you like to know if your child is eligible for the Mentally Gifted program?

-Would you like to learn more about your child’s learning style and how he or she learns      best?

-Perhaps your child is already doing well in school and you would like to explore      strengths she could build upon to increase her academic success even more?

Ascend Psychological Services provides comprehensive psychoeducational evaluations of school-age children experiencing academic and behavioral difficulties. Our team of compassionate and committed psychologists specializes in the assessment of autism spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (AD/HD), and emotional problems that impact learning. Ascend provides clients with targeted recommendations individually tailored to meet your child's needs.

What is a psychoeducational evaluation?

A psychoeducational evaluation is a thorough examination of a learner's strengths and needs and includes assessment of cognitive ability, academic achievement, social / emotional and behavioral functioning. The evaluation may also include assessments of a student's sensory-motor skills, attention, memory, language processing, phonological processing, adaptive skills, and executive functioning. Using all of the information gained over the course of the assessment – from interviews, parent, teacher and child rating scales, one-to-one testing results, and observations of the child –the psychologist provides the child, her family and (with consent from the family) her teachers, with a clear picture of her abilities and her needs in the classroom, at home and with peers. The psychologist will compile her findings into a report, and will discuss all findings, diagnoses and recommendations with the family at the end of the assessment process.  Referrals to other services may be made as appropriate, such as to occupational therapy for fine motor concerns or to speech-language pathology for communication di

About Us

We are a team of three psychologists, Dr. Paskiewicz, Dr. Britton and Mr. Mendelsohn. All three of us are certified school psychologists with extensive experience working in the public schools and knowledge of the special education process. Between us, we have advanced training in neuropsychological assessment and the evaluation of ADHD, behavioral and emotional problems, autism, and learning disabilities. Dr. Paskiewicz and Dr. Britton are trained in administration of the ADOS (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule).

Timing is important. If you feel your child may benefit from a psychoeducational evaluation, consider making an appointment before the school year winds down so that any resulting recommendations can be put in place as soon as the 2014-15 school year begins. If you’d like to know more about how we can help, please call us at 215-326-9239, email us at or visit our website at

Nicaragua – Unplugged and Recharged

By Elizabeth Campbell

In February 2013, I traveled as the counseling support for the Yoga Teacher Training Beyond Asana to build a school with the organization Build On in Ganeshpur, Nepal.  My experience deepened my presence in my counseling practice and in other relationships greatly.  This year we traveled to two villages in the mountains of Nicaragua to build schools in San Benito and Las Cuarentas.  The lesson this year was layered onto my experience of last year.  Not only is it possible to communicate with individuals that do not speak our language, but the depth of that very connection is what sustains us all…no matter what language, nationality, or socioeconomic status defines us. 
Two weeks in rural Nicaragua freed up space for me.  There was no electricity, no television, no cell phones, and no running water.  The absence of those luxuries gave me a greater gift…the space to connect.   When we ate meals, no one was taking pictures of the meal to post on Facebook or excusing themselves for a phone call.  The television did not distract us from interacting.  At night, there was nothing to do but engage with one another.  We simply connected.  And joining with the beautiful souls of San Benito and Las Cuarentas completely sustained me, regardless of what luxuries were missing. 

How does one carry that connection back into an area that has traffic, cell phones, television, and any other number of distractions?  The Filial child-parent relationship training that I hold concurrently with play therapy sessions encourages parents to “focus on the donut, not the hole.”  In other words, your relationship with your child is more important than any issue or problem occurring.  Nicaragua taught me that any relationship is more important.  It is more important to look into your loved one’s eyes rather than stare at a television screen, more important to call a friend than to text, more important to enjoy the experience of a delicious dinner than to tell people in social networking about it.  In our attempt to speed up our efficiency and our connection with others, we have efficiently disconnected.  I am carrying the beauty of my experience connecting with those in Nicaragua by connecting with those that I encounter here.  And I would love for this to ripple to others and the beauty of Nicaragua could cause connections upon connections in our community.  Along this line, I call all readers and community members of the Resiliency Center to action.  How can you connect today?