Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a Licensed Educational Psychologist?
  • What is a psychoeducational assessment?
  • What can I expect from the assessment?
  • What is a learning disability?
  • Can a psychoeducational assessment benefit people who are not students?
  • What about college students? Can assessment benefit them?
  • What is dyslexia?
  • What is ADHD?
  • What is Giftedness?
  • When is an assessment warranted?

  • Q: What is a Licensed Educational Psychologist?
    A: A Licensed Educational Psychologist is a specialist devoted to the identification and remediation of learning difficulties. All Licensed Educational Psychologists meet qualifications put forth by the Board of Behavioral Sciences for the State of California. Licensure by the State of California requires specific academic preparation, supervision, and direct training in child assessment and intervention. All Licensed Educational Psychologists must pass a competency exam developed by the Board of Behavioral Sciences. A Licensed Educational Psychologist must possess at least a Master's Degree, but many have doctoral degrees in education, psychology, and special education.

    Serving a wide range of ages and student populations, a Licensed Educational Psychologist works closely with students to identify specific learning problems and develop strategic intervention strategies aimed at creating academic, behavioral, and personal success.

    Although Licensed Educational Psychologists have extensive training and direct experience working with students of a wide variety of special needs, Licensed Educational Psychologists specialize in a wide range of educational services. Some offer assessment and diagnostic educational services, while others focus on behavioral interventions aimed at improving a student’s social, emotional, and behavioral functioning. Others provide educational consultation, counseling, and direct remediation.

    Under the California Business and Professions Code (Section 4986-4987), a Licensed Educational Psychologist is “authorized to perform any of the following professional functions pertaining to academic learning processes or the educational system”:

    (1) Psychoeducational evaluation assessment of academic ability, learning patterns, achievement, motivation, and personality factors directly related to academic and learning problems.

    (2) Counseling services for children or adults for the amelioration of academic learning problems.

    (3) Educational consultation, research, and direct educational services.

    Q: What is a psychoeducational assessment?
    A: Students often experience undiagnosed difficulties for years, which frustrate the child, their teachers, and their parents. Psychoeducational assessment can identify learning disabilities, processing deficits, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, other behavior problems, and gifted potential.

    All evaluations begin with a thorough developmental history. An evaluation includes a comprehensive assessment of intellectual and educational potential. Standardized tests are used to identify strengths and weaknesses in cognitive processing and academic achievement. Following the evaluation, a meeting will take place with the parents and student to discuss results and individualized recommendations to promote success. Consultation with school staff is welcomed. A thorough report covering all findings and recommendations is provided. To insure a comprehensive assessment of a child’s needs, I encourage the participation of the child’s teacher and administrator whenever possible.

    Q: What can I expect from the assessment?
    A: An individualized assessment provides strategic information regarding a student’s unique learning profile. Understanding how a child learns and ways to maximize academic achievement is invaluable for parents and educators who strive to support a student’s performance.

    Although testing for special education eligibility is a service provided by public schools, there are often other situations for which further assessment is desired.

    Most of the referrals I receive from my private practice come from parents who desire a more in-depth evaluation of their child than is generally available through their local school district. Often, their primary interest is not special education eligibility, but rather, learning all they can about their child’s learning, behavioral, and emotional functioning.

    I also receive requests from adults to evaluate possible attention and memory deficits that they believe impact on their work performance or achievement in higher education. I have assisted those individuals in applying for the accommodations they may receive as a learning disabled adult.

    Q: What is a learning disability?
    A: A learning disability is a permanent condition that affects the way individuals of at least average intelligence are able to process, retain, and retrieve information.

    Federal law defines a learning disability as a disorder in one of the basic psychological processes that are involved in understanding or using spoken or written language. According to federal definition, a learning disability may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or use mathematical calculations.

    A learning disability is characterized by a cognitive processing deficit. It means that because of a breakdown in cognitive processing, information is not accurately stored or retrieved from memory. Learning disabilities can specifically impair visual processing and/or memory skills, auditory processing and/or memory abilities, oral or written expression, reading, math, and/or sensory-motor skills.

    The cognitive processing disorder is presumed to have its origin in central nervous system dysfunction. The learning difficulty may be in a very specific area, including the acquisition and use of listening, speaking, reading, writing, spelling, reasoning, memory or mathematical abilities, or it may involve difficulty in a combination of these areas.

    A learning disability is not due to limited school experience, attendance, or unfamiliarity.

    Learning disabilities are often called the “invisible” disability because they are not easily visible to others

    Some of the common misperceptions of learning disabilities include: -Students with LD really have emotional or behavioral problems.

    -Students with LD cannot be successful in school or go to college.

    -Students with LD will grow out of it.

    -Gifted students cannot also have LD at the same time.

    Q: Can a psychoeducational assessment be appropriate for people who are not in school?
    A: Absolutely. An assessment can be tailored to investigate individual concerns. Strategies can be developed from assessment results to maximize success in employment.

    Processing, memory, and attention deficits impact on all areas of life. Employment, relationships, daily functioning, and self-esteem are all affected by problems in memory, processing, focusing, and distractibility.

    Like any assessment, the goal of the evaluation is to translate findings into strategic recommendations to improve performance across a variety of settings. Most clients report that the assessment is a very positive experience that increases self-awareness and improves success through the use of efficient strategies.

    Q: What about college students? Can assessment benefit them?
    A: A learning disability is a permanent condition that affects the way individuals of at least average intelligence are able to process, retain, and retrieve information. Usually learning-disabled students in college possess high average to superior intelligence, but experience extreme difficulty recalling information for tests, comprehending lengthy reading material, developing well-supported essays, and completing exams within time limits. Learning-disabled college students notice that they spend much more time studying than their peers, yet usually do not fare as well on college exams. In class, learning-disabled students readily understand the concepts, but “blank out” once tested on them. These individuals may also demonstrate inconsistent performance, understanding concepts one day but then forgetting them the next.

    A learning disability may remain undiagnosed until students begin college simply because their strong intelligence and diligent study habits have “masked” the learning disability in earlier school years. When the reading and recall demands become much higher in college, these individuals encounter significant problems and may blame themselves for “not working hard enough." Other students may enter college after receiving support services in high school as a learning disabled student.

    Q: What is dyslexia?
    A: Dyslexia is a specialized term that describes a type of learning disability that affects reading ability. The term is frequently used when neurological dysfunction is suspected as the cause of the reading disability. Dyslexia refers to the selective impairment of reading skills despite normal intelligence, sensory acuity, and opportunity for instruction. Dyslexia impairs the reader’s ability to link the sound of the letter with the letter in print and process the “language” in written form. A dyslexic individual has problems recognizing and recalling the sound that goes with a letter.

    Several perceptual studies also suggest that dyslexic readers process visual information much more slowly than their peers. Because of the slow rate at which visual information is processed, and the difficulty linking sound to letters, dyslexic readers often read slowly and inaccurately.

    Q: What is ADHD?
    A: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder characterized by a short attention span, poor concentration, impulsivity and hyperactivity. Children and adults with ADHD are easily distracted by sights and sounds in their environment, cannot concentrate for long periods of time, are restless and impulsive, have a tendency to daydream, and are often slow to start and complete tasks.

    Individuals with ADHD have difficulty listening and following through with instructions. They are easily distracted by their surroundings or by random thoughts that distract them away from the task at hand.

    There are subtypes of ADHD. Some individuals with ADHD only exhibit symptoms of inattention, while others struggle with restlessness and impulsivity in addition to a short attention span. Some individuals seem as if they are “always on the go.” Individuals with a “hyperactive” or “combined” type of ADHD fidget constantly, act impulsively without thinking through actions, interrupt others or blurt out comments, and have difficulty waiting their turn.

    Q: What is Giftedness?
    A: Answer to question number nine.

    Q: When is an assessment warranted?
    A: An assessment is warranted whenever an individual’s achievement falls short of expectation. Poor success at school or on a job can obviously result from a variety of factors. However, in cases when the individual encounters repeated frustration or failure despite attempts to improve, an assessment can be vital.

    Identifying a pattern of personal strengths and translating them into efficient strategies can have a dramatically positive impact on performance, self-esteem, and self-confidence. Pinpointing specific weaknesses in cognitive processing or attention can often explain ongoing struggles in school or employment.

    From the assessment an “action plan” is developed to work around areas of difficulties. Recommendations are tailored to address the individual’s needs across a variety of settings.

    2062 John Jones Road, Suite 210
    Davis, CA 95616
    (530) 758-3114      (707) 435-0147
    Jennifer Grimes, Ph.D.
    Licensed Educational Psychologist