The old thinking was that if your family had a pet, the children were more likely to become allergic to the pet. And if you came from an allergy-prone family, pets should be avoided.”
~ James E. Gern, M. D.
As humans, we are often known to show superior attitudes to our fellow dwellers of this planet. In fact, we not only have an ability to cognitively outwit the animal kingdom and we have a means with which we can measure our intellectual superiority through IQ (Intelligence Quotient) testing. Ironically, despite our intellectual superiority over the animal kingdom, we have yet to manufacture a substitute for our four legged friends. Moreover, the health benefits received from relationships with our four legged and feathered friends seems to be irreplaceable.
What is it about the relationship with our pets that we cannot live without? Why is it that children are instantly drawn to a new puppy or kitten? What causes the heart of a hardened criminal to melt like butter when playing with a puppy?
Continue reading *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA
As part of my PhD school psychology program I was placed at a practicum site which conducts neuropsychological testing. During this experience I was given a student’s file to look over for the purpose of making recommendations to assist with classroom and academic difficulties. The file contained the student’s background family information, academic testing results, and neuropsychological test results. What was interesting about this experience was that I was given the file to examine in pieces. First I was given the academic testing results, which combined with various types of background information are the results most school psychologist have to work with when making recommendations. I was then given the neuropsychological testing results, followed by the student’s family and developmental history.
Based on the results of the academic testing alone it was clear that the student had a math learning disability. His overall IQ result was in the above average range and his math scores were 2 standard deviations below. At this point, my recommendations centered on additional math supports to address the specific areas of mathematical difficulty. When I was given the results of the neuropsychological tests a very different picture began to emerge that revealed a young man with many areas of the brain that were not functioning well. These results are not typically evident on the standard academic tests used by school psychologists. The final piece of the puzzle was an overview of the student’s developmental and family history. When the file information was put together in its entirety a very different diagnosis emerged. In the end, the student was given a diagnosis of a non- verbal learning disability.
What was important about this experience was the realization that as school psychologists we often rely on academic testing and background information to make our recommendations when we may not be getting the complete picture. This may result in the implementation of recommendations that are not in the best interest of the student. In the above noted case, the student had not yet begun to experience many of the secondary disabilities or adaptive functioning deficits that are likely to accompany this type of diagnosis, so the referral was to address the obvious math difficulty. Although school psychologists typically do not receive training in neuropsychological testing, it is clear that having a base knowledge in neuropsychological testing and assessment can help us to look beyond academic testing results to better understand the needs of our students. *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA