51 Transcript

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[00:00:00] Hey y’all, this is Dr. Jeremy Sharp and this is The Testing Psychologist podcast episode 51.

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Q-interactive.

Q-interactive is Pearson’s iPad-based system for testing, scoring, and reporting. They help you increase your efficiency and client engagement with over 20 of the top psychometric tests that you can do digitally. You can learn more at helloq.com. We use Q-interactive in our practice quite a bit, and the little kids like it. Kids gravitate toward iPads, usually for the best. Pearson also has some webinars coming up to help you learn how to use Q-interactive if you’re a new user. The next one is on May 16th at 12 pm Eastern Time, and you can earn CEUs for that. So check it out if you’re interested.

All right, let’s go.

[00:01:08] Hey, y’all, welcome back to another episode of The Testing Psychologist podcast. I’m Dr. Jeremy Sharp. It’s been a few weeks since I talked with you. I have admittedly been crazy with the practice. A lot of y’all know that I am the director and the owner of our practice here, and we’ve been busy hiring a few new folks and continuing to grow our services. So super excited about that, but took a little bit of a break to play more of a director’s role than the podcaster role here over the last few weeks. So things are settling down. Also wrapped up a big forensic evaluation that was pretty novel and interesting. I might talk about it at some point in the future, but just wrapped that up. That was taking a lot of my time as well. But here we are.

Today’s podcast, for me, definitely [00:02:00] has a little bit more of a personal flavor to it. I don’t know that it’s going to be a long podcast, but I’m going to be chatting with you about the experience of having a kiddo who falls outside the norm, or at least falls outside expectations.

I have talked a little bit about our kids on the podcast before, primarily our oldest. We have a 5-year-old little girl and a 6-year-old soon to be 7-year-old boy. It’s been interesting. Many of you know this is teacher conference time. We’ve attended these teacher conferences and had some interesting experiences.

Just to back up, I’ve talked before about my little boy in particular, [00:03:00] he’s been on the radar with teachers over the years. In preschool, he was having some trouble with outbursts in the classroom, some hitting and striking out at other kids, being unsafe, and things like that.

We talked to the teachers. It was funny. I came in with some BASCs to have them rate his behavior. I think they were like, what in the world is this guy doing? But that’s what I do when I experience emotional events. Let’s try to put some data to it. So that’s what I did. So we got some ratings back then that were honestly hard to look at for me to see those numbers in black and white and to see that his behavior was genuinely outside the norm, at least as far as the BASC could report to us.

So, we ended up making some pretty major changes to our lifestyle. That was [00:04:00] one of the first steps towards my wife thinking about going into private practice so that at least one of us could have more flexibility and that we wouldn’t have to keep them in preschool or daycare for as many hours per day.

So we changed some things in our life. We switched schools. Not that we were unhappy with the school that he was at, but we started looking around and found at that point he was going to be heading into the pre-K kindergarten phase. So we switched over to a Montessori school and felt like that was a pretty positive change.

We also took them out of daycare for two days a week and just had one-on-one attention with a nanny in the house. I recognize we’re very fortunate to be able to do that, but it also involves some [00:05:00] sacrifices for us just to try and see if that would help. And it did. The short story is that it did. He did well for two years. And now here we are in his Kindergarten year. Montessori does a blended classroom. So I lose track of where he’s actually at grade-wise, but for all intents and purposes, it’s kindergarten.

We just had our teacher conferences. There’s a lot to be said about these teacher conferences, but the main thing that I wanted to talk about here is that experience of being a parent and being on the other side of feedback. I’ve done podcast episodes here in the past on feedback. I interviewed Dr. Karen Postal several episodes ago about her book all about how to do feedback. If you didn’t check that out, look back in the archives. Dr. [00:06:00] Karen Postal. Her book is called Feedback That Sticks.

We talked about a lot of cool stuff in terms of delivering difficult feedback and how to manage a feedback session and join with your clients and your parents. I thought about that stuff a lot. This time, being on the side of the parent and getting not-so-positive feedback about our kids.

It turns out both of them are having some behavior concerns in the classroom. It’s really interesting. I thought about that and it reminded me of this other book that I think I’ve mentioned on the podcast, but it’s worth mentioning again. It’s called Not What I Expected. It’s by Rita Eichenstein. I’ll have links to that in the show notes.

I went back to that book, read through it, [00:07:00] and found how much I was resonating with this. She talks a lot about, I guess the process that parents go through when they get feedback or a diagnosis or neuropsych testing for their kiddo and it’s not what they expect. In her book, it’s geared more toward parents and kids who have more significant diagnoses. So maybe it’s autism. Maybe it’s being developmentally delayed or an intellectual disability.

I don’t mean to present things that way by any means. We’re very fortunate. Our kids are both, I think, largely neurotypical and certainly don’t have any physical concerns or anything like that. So we’re very fortunate. I don’t want to present it like we’re struggling with a difficult kid compared to some others.

But that process of [00:08:00] hearing feedback that’s challenging and punches you in the gut was hard. There’s no other way to put it. I found myself moving through, she describes these stages of acceptance when you get feedback that’s difficult. Of course, there’s some denial. There was this sense of, well, you don’t know them. You don’t see them all the time. It was quite defensive. I think I held it and checked in these meetings, but of course, went home and was like, well, what is going on at school that it’s not going on at home because we don’t see this stuff, those kinds of reactions.

There was an element of being ashamed, certainly. Being a child psychologist, a developmental [00:09:00] psychologist, and having kids that are not super well-behaved, at least in some circumstances, was challenging. I felt like the teacher and the head of the school were attuned to that. They didn’t say that explicitly, but of course, I projected that like, why doesn’t this guy know how to have his kids behave? So all these are things that parents probably struggle with in our feedback sessions as well.

I went through my own process with that. I’m still going through my own process with that. I, again, went back to the data and was asking for an FBA, a functional behavior assessment which they denied.

Anyway, there was a lot of reactions with these meetings. Two things came out of that though. One is, [00:10:00] Oh gosh, it just gives me such an understanding and some empathy for parents that I work with. I think it can apply not just to parents, but to any family member who might, or even an individual who is getting difficult feedback.

It gave me such a renewed appreciation for what that process might be like for folks and how challenging that can be. I think having that reignited in my mind and my heart was amazing. It was really important. So I’m carrying that forward into the next several feedback sessions that I’ve got coming up and exercising as much compassion as possible in those moments.

The other piece of that is I kept falling back to some of the things that Karen Postal and I talked about, and that’s contained in her book about giving hard feedback.[00:11:00] That is one part of this process that I feel like I can own and step into is that there are more positive ways to give difficult feedback and that there are less positive ways to give difficult feedback.

In the instance of these teacher conferences, my wife and I walked away with the sense that there wasn’t a whole lot of tact or appreciation for our experience as parents or a curiosity even about how we might think or feel about some of these behaviors. And so, I think having that in mind is also important. Being curious about your parents’ experiences. Being willing to ask what have you already done? What do you think might be contributing to this? Is there anything going on at home that might be affecting your kid’s behavior? [00:12:00] What ideas do you have? Anything along those lines, which goes along with, I think, treating the parent largely as an expert on their own kid, rather than being the person to tell them exactly what they need to do about their kid, or telling them generally what their kid is like. 

I don’t think that there are any amazing revelations here. Nothing brand new certainly. I focus a lot on this podcast on the ins and outs and the details and the nuances and the technicalities of testing. I’ve interviewed some cool guests who are experts in what they do. So we have that flavor, but today I was feeling a little bit more of the call to be more open about this personal process and tie that [00:13:00] into my work and into the work that a lot of us are doing.

So maybe some of you out there have had a similar experience. I would love to hear from you if that’s the case. I know that that’s fairly common, but it hit me. So I thought here was as good a place to share it as any.

That’s all that I have for you today. I’ll list those books in the show notes like I mentioned. Great time to get back to those if you haven’t checked them out already.

Coming up, we have lots of good stuff. I have more interviews scheduled. Ben Lovett is coming back for a second round to talk about his book on Testing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities. He had a great podcast the first time around, so looking forward to having him back. I’m going to be talking with someone about immigration evaluations and [00:14:00] all sorts of good stuff coming up. So if you have not subscribed to the podcast, I would love to have you take 30 seconds and do that. You can subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. That way, you don’t miss any.

If you have not joined us in the Facebook group, please come check us out. It is The Testing Psychologist Community on Facebook. You request membership, answer a couple of questions and you can jump into some great discussions about testing, the business side, the billing side, and anything testing-related. So come check us out there as well.

One last shout-out to Q-interactive as our podcast sponsor. Q-interactive is that digital platform for administering many of the top tests that a lot of us give. You can find out more at helloq.com. We love it here in our practice. We use it daily. They also have, again, two webinars coming up where you [00:15:00] can find out more about Q-interactive and learn how to use it. The next one is May 16th at 12 PM Eastern time. You can find that on the Pearson or Q-interactive websites.

Thanks so much for listening, y’all. This is awesome. I love doing this. I love talking to y’all. I’ll look forward to interviewing some more folks and bringing you some more content in the future.

All right. Take care until then. Bye-bye.

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