66 Transcript

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[00:00:00] Dr. Sharp: Hello y’all. This is Dr. Jeremy Sharp and this is The Testing Psychologist podcast episode 66.

Hey, before we jump into our interview with Dr. Dan Miller today, which is amazing by the way, I want to let you know about the paperwork packets that I’ve been working on and released about a month ago. These are testing-specific paperwork packets. There’s an administrative packet, there’s a clinical packet and there is a psychometrist training manual. If you need any of those packets for your practice, jump on over to thetestingpsychologist.com/paperwork. You can check out everything that’s contained in each of those packets and if you enter code “podcast”, you’ll get 20% off your entire purchase.

Let’s talk about Dan Miller. Dr. Dan Miller has done so much over the years. He is a school psychologist by training. He was a Professor at Texas Woman’s [00:01:00] University for 25 years before he transitioned to the Woodcock Institute where he now reviews and administers grant money for research. He is also the Director of KIDS Incorporated, which is a training program for school neuropsychology, which is a training program that offers a certificate in a method of assessment that blends school psychology and psychoeducational evaluations with neuropsychological principles.

He talks all about that. He also talks about his new report-writing software that should be released within the next two months. We just had a fantastic conversation. So stick around and check out my conversation with Dr. Dan Miller.

[00:02:00] Hey y’all, welcome back to another episode of The Testing Psychologist podcast. Like I said in the introduction today, I am speaking with Dr. Dan Miller. Dan Miller, gosh, is involved in a lot of different things, which we will touch on over the next hour or so but at the moment, he is the Director of the Woodcock Institute and President of KIDS Incorporated, which is a company that offers training in school neuropsychology. You may have heard of it; I know I certainly have. I’m excited to talk with him today.

Dan, welcome to the podcast.

Dr. Miller: Oh, thank you. It’s nice to be here.

Dr. Sharp: Thank you so much for taking the time and sitting down with me here. You are doing a lot of things these days and you have done a lot of things over the course of your life so I’m pretty excited to dive into some of that.

Dr. Miller: Sure.

Dr. Sharp: Let’s maybe start with a [00:03:00] little overview of your training, your background, how you got to where you are now, and then that’ll lead us into what you’re doing now. How does that sound?

Dr. Miller: That sounds good. Well, I started out as an undergraduate psychology major at the University of Cincinnati. And like many of my colleagues, I was trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do with a psychology degree at an undergraduate level. This was back in the late 1970s

And when you talked to professors, all they talked about is getting a graduate degree in counseling psychology or clinical psychology. They didn’t talk about school psychology. I fell into school psychology accidentally, and I’m very glad that I did. I have done a lot of work prior [00:04:00] to that; volunteer work, working with children, doing some tutoring types of things.

I wanted to work with children and their families but I wasn’t sure what to do with myself after a baccalaureate. So I got one of those things from APA graduate programs, little guide that shows you everything from parapsychology to clinical psychology, everything you want to know about all the various subspecialties. I applied to two places and I ended up going to Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where I got my master’s degree in school psychology.

I really enjoyed that. When I graduated, it was a very intensive program. It was 93 hours and most graduate training in school psychology at that point were 60 hours. Right when I was leaving, they were changing the degree to a specialist degree. So I was trained at the specialist level, but I only got a master’s degree, which is fine.

[00:05:00] And then what I did is I graduated in 1980. If you remember, Public Law 94-142 came out in the mid-1970s and there was an influx of school psychologists coming into the field. Well, when I started out looking for a job, unlike today when there’s a shortage of school psychologists, there was very few jobs available.

So I applied all over the place. I was from Cincinnati, Ohio. I wanted to stay in that area and ended up taking a job in Cambridge, Ohio, which is a rural part of the state on the fringe of Appalachia. I worked there as the sole school psychologist for a number of years. I had six elementaries, one junior high and one high school, and one of me.

Dr. Sharp: Oh gosh.

Dr. Miller: It was a challenge. I evaluated about 150 kids the first year. So [00:06:00] very extensive in terms of evaluations.

The other thing that shaped my life is because IDEA or Public Law 94-142 is coming into play, people were trying to figure out what a child that had a specific learning disability was all about. And when they first identified that as a disability category, they went from a zero to hundreds of thousands of kids be identified as SLD without a clear understanding of what all the implications were.

So the state of Ohio was struggling with that in terms of how to operationalize the definition of SLD, just like every other place in the country. I got a little bit involved with some of the politics around that, was my entree into getting involved with presentations and publications and things like that.

Do you mind if I tell you a quick little short story about a seven-year-old that changed my life?

[00:07:00] Dr. Sharp: Oh gosh, yeah, of course.

Dr. Miller: Okay, what happened is, I was working in the schools and a seven-year-old was referred to me and she was in kindergarten. The first red flag that should tell you is that that’s a little old for a child to be in kindergarten. They should have been beyond that.

And what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to figure out what educational placement should be most appropriate for the following year. I did my evaluation. I think in those days, I gave a Stanford-Binet, and the child’s intelligence scores came out to be below 70.

The rule of thumb that I have, what I was taught in graduate school, and what I’ve taught my graduate students over the years is, when you’re identifying a child as intellectually disabled for the first time, you really want to make sure that you’re doing a good thorough job because it’s a high-stakes diagnosis to put that label on a child.

What I always do is I at least give [00:08:00] two tests of cognitive abilities just to make sure that I’m not getting any false positives. I actually gave two full batteries and a brief battery and everything came below 70. I gave an achievement test, everything was below 70, and adaptive behavior skills were all below 70.

When I was taught, I was taught that I was dealing with a child that was intellectually disabled. Well, in the meantime, that child was taken to Ohio State University, to the big city, and was evaluated by a neuropsychologist. And they came back to the school, you probably have experiences like this, where you’re sitting in a meeting and the parents bring in that definitive report from the outside experts. The outside experts said that the child was learning disabled.

That’s interesting. I’m not a database problem solver, tell me about that. How’d you come up to that conclusion? Well, it was based on the fourth subtest of the Categories Test that the child did not do well on, therefore, the diagnosis was SLD.

Well, [00:09:00] I was never trained in the Categories Test. I didn’t know that neuropsychological battery wasn’t part of my training, and it really piqued my interest in terms of, wow, if there’s a test out there that has that good diagnostic sensitivity for LD versus non-LD, I need to know more about it.

It was one of the only times in my career, I’ve done it a few times, where I actually wrote a minority report for the IEP team because they felt that, okay, here’s the outside expert, they must know what they’re talking about. Let’s go ahead and classify this child as SLD when I believed the child was intellectually disabled. I felt it was doing a disservice to the child to …

LD usually implies average ability with below-average achievement and you’re trying to close the gap over time based on instruction. And this child was working up to their potential and I felt it was a disservice to say the child was SLD.

So anyway, I started looking around for doctoral training programs and ended up at Ohio State University. I did a one-of-a-kind [00:10:00] doctoral training program. I was very fortunate to meet a guy by the name of Dr. Marlin Languis. He was the first person in the country who was running an electrophysiological laboratory where he was actually recording EEG while children were having their brain electrical activity recorded while they were performing neurocognitive tasks.

I ended up being the coordinator of a Brain Behavior Laboratory for three years. I was like a kid in a candy store. It was high technology, taking things out to the schools, doing cutting-edge research. It was just a lot of fun.

So my doctor’s work was a blend between electrophysiology and school psychology. I worked with Jack Naglieri at Ohio State University as one of my advisors. And then I also worked with David Hammer who was the neuropsychological person that I worked with, so electrophysiology, school psychology, and neuropsychology is my doctoral training, if you will.

And then I was looking for a [00:11:00] job. I ended up at Texas Woman’s University in 1990 and I’ve been there ever since. They were looking for someone to develop a minor or area specialization for their doctoral training program in neuropsychology. So I came down there and I’ve been involved with that university ever since. That’s my background and training in terms of my education.

Dr. Sharp: So you worked in the university setting then for, you said 20+ years, right?

Dr. Miller: I did. I have done a variety of activities. I came from Ohio and Ohio is pretty much the birthplace of school psychology. A lot of activities took place early on when NASP was being formed. I was really spoiled. I would go to the Ohio School Psychology Association, and as a rural school psychologist, when you’re an N of one, you rely on your state associations for continuing education [00:12:00] credit and networking and support.

I would go and I would have close to a thousand people at these state conferences.

When I came to Texas, there was nothing like that. There was no separate organization for school psychology. I was the founding president of the Texas Association of School Psychology in 1993. And then I did a variety of things; I became the delegate to the National Association of School Psychologists for Texas and served in a variety of capacities with NASP.

And then I had the privilege of serving as the president of NASP in 2002-2003. I traveled to 26 states during my presidential year talking to school psychologists in the trenches and finding out what was the practice like, and it was just an enjoyable experience. I’ve done a lot in terms of service to the profession.

And then over the years, [00:13:00] after teaching neuropsychological assessment for a number of years, somebody asked me, a colleague said, you need to write a book. So I wrote The Essentials of School Neuropsychological Assessment, the first edition in 1997, I think it was. Did the second edition several years later and then I just submitted, in the last two weeks, the third edition, which will come out in February of 2019.

Dr. Sharp: Oh, congratulations.

Dr. Miller: Thank you. It’s like giving birth. It’s nice to get that off my, and it’s a never-ending process. Then you got to wait to galley proofs and indexing. It’s a yearlong process to write a book at least. It’s very exciting.

Dr. Sharp: Oh, that’s fantastic. So then what does your day-to-day life look like right now? How much are you doing research versus clinical versus teaching versus whatever else you do?

Dr. Miller: Well, in 2003, I tried to retire from the university [00:14:00] and I had been asked in late 2002 to sit on the board of directors of the Woodcock-Munoz Foundation. Whenever somebody buys a product related to the Woodcock-Johnson, whether it’s the achievement, the IQ test, adaptive behavior, or whatever, a percentage of those royalties would go to the Woodcock-Munoz Foundation that they would use for giving out research grants.

That organization was winding down and they were looking for a new home. In January 2003, Dr. Woodcock called and said, would you mind if I just took all the assets from that foundation and donated them to TWU? But I would like for you to be the executive director, if I do that, at this new Woodcock Institute for the Neurocognitive Advancement of Clinical Neuropsychology and Applied Practice.

And I said, wow, what an honor to help preserve his lifetime legacy. So I [00:15:00] retired for three months, came back in August, and I’ve been serving as the Executive Director of this Institute ever since. I do that 30 hours a week. And then I run my own business training programs probably another 30 hours a week.

I have enjoyed fostering interdisciplinary research. We give out research grants to institutions all over the country as long as they’re focusing on enhancing the practice of neurocognitive research. And then I also give away dissertation awards and we also fund some things like national conferences to come up with solutions to longstanding problems. So it’s a lot of fun. I’ve really enjoyed that and I’ll continue that for another several years, I’m sure.

Dr. Sharp: Sure. Well, it’s clear you’ve been all over the map with what you’ve done over the years, but you’ve been steeped in [00:16:00] this field for a long time. I think that I first ran across your name when I was looking for some sort of post-graduate training or certification in neuropsychology. I’m what I and others call a regular psychologist. I never went through that postdoc fellowship and board certification and everything. I was kind of looking. I was doing a lot of evaluations and felt like there was more to it than what I learned in graduate school, but it was also at a point in my life where I couldn’t take two years off and go do a fellowship so I was like, is there anything else out there?

So I stumbled across the school neuropsychology program, and I was like, what is school neuropsychology? I still am kind of like, what is school neuropsychology? So you want to dive into that a little bit and talk about your training program?

Dr. Miller: Well, let’s start with the basics of what is school neuropsychology. School [00:17:00] neuropsychology is a blend between the respect for the biological basis of behavior and for school psychology. It’s the integration of neuropsychological principles into the practice of school psychology.

The originator of that goes back to the 1980s. George Hynd had a doctoral training program down at the University of Georgia and wrote with several colleagues right after Public Law 94-142 came into being about, we really need to look at the brain-behavior relationships and how it relates to specific learning disabilities. And that served as the impetus for the foundation of school neuropsychology.

There’s been a number of authors over the years. I’m sure you know the name Cecil Reynolds has published a lot in terms of school neuropsychology. Elaine Fletcher-Janzens is another big name that’s published a lot. Every 10 to 15 [00:18:00] years, there’s another generational group of people that say, wow, we need to pay attention to the biological basis of behavior. That’s essentially what school neuropsychology is all about.

In terms of the training program, what happened is back in 2000, I was asked to be a faculty member for the Fielding Institute. They had a two-year postgraduate training program in clinical neuropsychology, not school neuropsychology. I did that for two years. It was incredibly expensive. For students, it was $30,000 a year.

And just so happened that the group that I had in the Dallas area, all of them except for two were school psychologists. When I started that program, I’m so used to being a chair of a [00:19:00] psychology department at TWU or director of the school psychological training program. When we would get new faculty members in to teach a course, we’d say, well, here’s what’s been done in the past. Here’s PowerPoint presentations or lecture notes or whatever. There really was nothing handed to me when I took on this two-year program. So I developed basically, a curriculum for school neuropsychology during that time period.

And then I left the program after two years because it was not professionally organized the way that I wanted to be affiliated with a program. I took over the training program. I developed something, a national training program. It used to be face-to-face. We had regional training centers around the country. The problem with that was I would hire a faculty member and they would have to be an expert in everything during the course of a 9 to 10-month program. None of us are experts in everything.

In 2008, when the economy went sour because of the stock market [00:20:00] crashing, it was too expensive for people to be flying to regional training sites and paying for hotel rooms and everything else, and the technology also improved. We went to a webinar-based training program or principally, a webinar-based training program.

What’s so exciting about that is I wish I had this in graduate school. I’ve been able to hire the leading experts in school neuropsychology. So when we get to a unit on the neuropsychology of reading disabilities, I’ll say, now here’s Steve Feifer. We get to the neuropsychology executive functions, here’s George McCloskey.

I’ve been able to bring in the experts to talk about the various subdomains in school neuropsychology. It’s like having your own personal Obi-Wan Kenobi pop up on your desktop when you’re learning about this specialization and that’s been very well-received by people over the course of the years.

We’ve trained over 700 people over the last 12 [00:21:00] years, which I’m very proud of. It’s a 10-month certification program, starts in September every single year, and you can find out about it by @schoolneuropsych.com. Everything you want to know but you’re afraid to ask is on the website pretty much.

It’s mainly webinar-based. It’s once a month on a weekend, Friday night, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday during the day until about five o’clock on Central Standard Time. And then Sunday we get out at 4 o’clock Central Standard Time.

There’s a lot of content covered in a month. And then that’s the same way in September and October. November, I have people come to Dallas for a face-to-face meeting. I do advanced clinical interpretation training on the NEPSY and the D-KEFS. They’re very complicated tests and I need to see people face-to-face at least two times during the course of the year.

So we do that in November then the rest of the time is [00:22:00] all online and then in July they do come back to Dallas where they present their third and final case study. They have to do three case studies during the course of the year. Then they take a final written exam at the end of the training program where NASP approves. You earn 180 hours of continuing education credit. We are applying for APA approval status as well. Hopefully, we’ll have that in October.

So you get a lot of CEUs and then when you finish the training program, you’re eligible to become a diplomat in school neuropsychology from the American Board of School Neuropsychology. That’s akin to the NCSP from NASP. It’s a peer-reviewed credential that speaks to your entry-level competency in school neuropsychology.

School attorneys love that. Special education directors love it because it shows that you have competency in conducting a school-based neuropsychological evaluation. It’s credentials, if you will.

[00:23:00] Dr. Sharp: Sure.

Dr. Miller: And then some clinical psychologists take our training program. The course also prepares you to sit for the American Board of Pediatric Neuropsychology exam as well. So it’s either exam you can sit for at the end of the training program.

Dr. Sharp: Got you. I know you specified it allows you to sit for the ABPN exam. How’s this fit in with Houston guidelines and that whole picture?

Dr. Miller: Houston guidelines are very restrictive in terms of they believe the only way that you can even touch the word neuropsychology is to get a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, do a postdoc, years of experience, and become board certified. They’re very restrictive. I like to refer to that as a country club mentality; when you’re in, you try and make the [00:24:00] standards as high as possible so other people can’t get in.

There’s several different certification boards out there. There’s the American Board of Professional Neuropsychology, the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology, the American Board of Pediatric Neuropsychology, and the American Board of School Neuropsychology. They all have their entrance guidelines. The majority of them, if you want to be a clinical neuropsychologist, you have to have a doctorate in clinical neuropsychology, typically.

There are people that get board certified in pediatric neuropsychology that have been trained in school psychology, that have the appropriate training and background in order to get that credential. There’s a sub-specialization in the American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology that’s pediatrics, at sometimes school psychologists with appropriate training and internships can go for that credential as well.

Dr. Sharp: Got you. [00:25:00] I know there’s always some, I don’t know if conflict is the right word, there are differing opinions about what each of the boards prefers and which route to go.

Dr. Miller: Well, here’s the bottom line. There’s 35,000+ school psychologists in the United States. They have direct access to children. Over time, what has happened, starting with the previous versions of the WISC, they started introducing concepts of working memory, processing speed. You’re studying executive functions.

All of these neuropsychological constructs have started to work their way into the mainstream of school psychology but unless you were trained in the last five years, you are not necessarily trained on how you assess these constructs, how you interpret these constructs and what the heck you’re supposed to do with them in terms of interventions [00:26:00] after you identify deficits in these constructs.

I think that my bias has always been that if you are trained at the specialist level of training in school psychology, it is very suitable for you to learn, to integrate neuropsychological principles into your practice. You’re not going to be able to go out and call yourself a neuropsychologist. Again, there’s 50 different states and there’s 50 different rules out there about what you can call yourself, what you can do in private practice versus public schools.

There’s licensure at the non-doctoral level in some states. California has an LEP, licensed educational psychologist, which means you don’t have to have a PhD or an EdD to get that license. You can be trained at the specialist level and if you have training in school neuropsychology, you can conduct in a private practice setting, neuropsychological evaluations privately. There’s other states that allow that as well. So there’s a [00:27:00] lot of variability across the country.

Dr. Sharp: Sure. You’re in Texas too, Texas is another state where masters-level folks can independently assess.

Dr. Miller: Not at all.

Dr. Sharp: No.

Dr. Miller: We’re close but we’re not there yet.

Dr. Sharp: Oh, okay.

Dr. Miller: The thing that’s different about Texas is, and I help to write the law around this is that, we have a thing called the Licensed Specialist in School Psychology. We don’t call ourselves school psychologists. We have to call ourselves a licensed specialist in school psychology.

It is a credential that only allows, it’s through the licensing board, but it only allows you to work in the public schools. You can do some things in charter schools and stuff, but you’re not able to hang up a shingle and do things in private practice. That may be changing in the next year or so. There’s a lot of things happening in Texas, but right now that’s been the status quo since 1996.

Dr. Sharp: [00:28:00] Okay. That may be what I was thinking of then because I know some masters-level folks down there who are in the schools. Let me walk it back a little bit. Can you talk about how you conceptualize the school part of school neuropsychology because when you describe the training, it sounds like it’s just neuropsychological training, which is great, but I’m curious, how does the school part fit in?

Dr. Miller: Well, the biggest thing is, I think we’ve all had the experience when we’re sitting in an IEP meeting where we get a report from an outside clinical psychologist and they use DSM diagnoses and they say, well, the child has an oppositional defiant disorder, therefore, the child needs to be placed in a special education resource room, blah, blah, blah.

What they don’t understand is we have to live by the rules of IDEA. We have to look at the criteria for serious emotion disturbance. That analogy is the same for neuropsychology. What typically [00:29:00] happens is number one, in the grand scheme of things, if you look at clinical neuropsychology, most clinical neuropsychologists are trained to work with adults.

And I have to tell you, this is a no-brainer, but kids are not miniature adults. You have to deal with neurodevelopmental differences. It’s just a whole different ball game dealing with children than it is dealing with adults. So you can’t use downward extension models of adult models because they’re kids.

So what happens is if you give an evaluation from a clinical neuropsychologist, they’re going to talk about things like, based on my evaluation, it looks like the child has a lesion in the right parietal lobe. The classroom teacher is going to look at that report and say, what the heck am I supposed to do with that?

So there’s a lot of mismatch between clinical practice and school practice. There is a subset of people out there who [00:30:00] are trained in pediatric neuropsychology. They’re traditionally found in hospital settings.

So if you want to go to an outpatient clinic and be seen by a pediatric neuropsychologist, their caseload is pretty full because they’re going to be dealing with kids in the hospital that are recovering from cancer treatment or strokes or traumatic brain injury or concussions, those kinds of things. So to get a pediatric neuropsychologist in a hospital setting to do an evaluation for a kid that’s autistic or a kid that has SLD or whatever, it’s going to be very hard to have done.

The thing that’s nice about school neuropsychologists getting trained in neuropsychology is they already understand IDEA. They know the rules of special education. So by adding that level of complexity where you look at more in-depth constructs for neuropsychological processing, your traditional psychoeducational evaluation is going to do a basic IQ [00:31:00] test or test of cognitability and achievement tests. They may throw in something like a Bender or a VMI. That’s a psychoeducational battery, and you’ll stop there.

What they don’t do is they don’t drill down into the areas that are probably most important like learning and memory. What is education about, learning a memory? How well does the child learn over time? Do they learn best through recognition? Are they able to do free recall? Can they recognize things from their long term memory stores?

So drilling down into learning and memory is an important part of school neuropsychological evaluations. Looking at executive function or dysfunction is an important part of what we do in neuropsychological evaluations.

If you take a look and you put all the neurodevelopmental disorders in one bucket and you say, okay, how many of these neurodevelopmental disorders also have some known sensorimotor type of difficulties? Rarely, [00:32:00] if ever, in a psychoeducational evaluation are you going to look at sensorimotor functions, but school neuropsychological evaluations, you want to tease out.

If you have poor auditory acuity or poor auditory processing of information, that’s going to affect all your higher-order processes as well. Same thing with the visual modality or whatever you happen to be looking at. So it’s systematically looking at all systems and how it impacts learning potential. That’s what a neuropsychological evaluation is doing as compared to a psychoeducational evaluation.

Dr. Sharp: Right. I like the way that you explain that. So then it’s bringing those neuropsychological principles basically and overlaying those, and adding to the typical psychoeducational battery. It sounds like just going deeper and putting things in that road to context.

Dr. Miller: People always ask the question, why are neuropsychological evaluation reports so long? They’re long [00:33:00] because you’re dealing with a much wider array of constructs that you’re measuring. It’s not just, I gave this test; this is what I found. I gave this test, what I found. It’s a much broader conceptualization of thing.

Can I go off on a tangent a little bit here? I’d like to tell you a little bit about how I conceptualize assessment. I have a whole model that I teach and I think it’s really important because when I was in graduate school, I think everybody, when they were in graduate school, being taught to be a school psychologist and even a psychologist in general, we take a course in cognitive assessment and we learned how to administer a test of cognitive ability and we learned how to write it up.

Then we took a course in academic assessment, and we learned how to write that up. We may have then learned how to integrate that with the cognitive stuff. Then we took a class in social-emotional assessment, and we learned how to do the various things [00:34:00] there and write that up.

But most psychologists, when you pick up their reports, everything is in a very linear style. You have the front-end stuff that is the same for everybody; identifying information, reason for referral, background information. But when you get to the test results, what we were taught to do is, I gave a Wechsler, this is what I found. I gave a WIAT, this is what I found. I gave a BASC-3; this is what I found.

Everything is a very chunk-by-chunk, linear fashion based on the test that you gave. I don’t teach people how to do that. What I teach people to do is writing reports that are more integrative.

What’s very frustrating to me when I read those kinds of linear types of reports, I’m reading along and I’m seeing in the background information a reason for referral that you think the child has a lot of attentional processing problems. You get to the background information and classroom observations, the child’s bouncing off the walls, having [00:35:00] all kinds of problems with attention. You get to the Wechsler scale; the processing speed scores are very low. You get to other measures of achievement, and they weren’t able to sit still long enough to do a math fluency test.

You have all these indicators of achievement but you’re not weaving all those things together. And then you get to the BASC at the end, lo and behold, the hyperactivity scale is elevated. The attention scale is elevated. What I like to do is I like to have a section called attentional processes. What I like to do is I integrate in that section, everything.

I integrate what’s the classroom teacher’s concerns are, the parents’ concerns, my classroom observations, my samples of behavior, any behavioral rating scales. You tie it all together with a nice little bow and you talk about the child’s neuropsychological integrity of their attentional processing systems.

Other thing, I start out as a very [00:36:00] hierarchical fashion. I do sensorimotor functions first because those are baseline things you have to have an order to do higher-order functioning, then I move to basic cognitive processes like auditory processing, visuospatial processing, those things I deal with.

I talk about some executive function types of processing, and then I talk about ways of looking at attention and working memory, how they either help facilitate additional higher cognitive processes or inhibit those higher-order cognitive processes and then processing speed. I love processing speed. I talk a lot about that, teach people how to look at it and then acquire knowledge skills or things like your comprehension, knowledge, reading, writing, math, all those academic skills that you learn over time. And then you have a section on social-emotional functioning.

And my last point about the whole thing is, I teach [00:37:00] people how to, even within the social, if I’m writing just a traditional psychological report, rather than saying I gave the BASC-3, then I gave the Reynolds Manifest Anxiety Scale, then I gave the Anger Control Scale, whatever happens to be, I’d rather you report things like; what are the child’s internalizing behaviors like? And talk about all those things at the same time, across the battery. What are the externalizing things like? What are the adaptive behavior things like? Integrate things together makes it so much more powerful for people to understand how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together instead of doing things in a very linear fashion. That makes sense?

Dr. Sharp: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Are there any places where you actually do, because I know that some folks who take that, I would call it a domain-based approach, almost, are there any places in the report where you actually do just say, here are [00:38:00] the WISC results or here are the WIAT results, just to have it in black and white?

Dr. Miller: Yeah. What I’ve done in the essentials book, in the new one as well is I’ve taken over 100 tests and at the sub-test level, I’ll take like block design and I’ll put block design where it fits within the neurocognitive constructs it’s designed to measure.

I talk about where a CHC theory talks about broad abilities and their abilities. I talk about broad abilities like working memory, if you will. I talk about then second-order classifications and third-order classifications. I break things down into, okay, if you’re looking at working memory, you need to be looking at verbal working memory versus visual working memory. That’s a second-order classification. There’s not really a third-order classification for that.

Many things like in processing speed, if you have something like, I call something performance [00:39:00] fluency, there’s lots of measures out there that are very rote and don’t involve any type of memory type of involvement. A third-order classification would be something like visual-spatial type of analysis, very quick, matching two things that look alike.

So I drill down, it’s a very reductionistic way of looking at things but I take all the subtests and place them according to this, what I call an Integrated School Neuropsychogical CHC Model that I introduced in 2003.

Dr. Sharp: It sounds very cross battery. If you know the Cross-Battery book

Dr. Miller: In 2012, I edited a book called Best Practices in School Neuropsychology, and Wiley published it. Dawn Flanagan and her colleagues [00:40:00] wrote a seminal chapter in that book where they took all the test of cognition, the NEPSY, the D-KEFS, Test of Memory and Learning, and they classified them according to CHC theory, Lurian Theory, and Neuropsychological theory. It was the first time where they were trying to integrate CHC with neuropsychology.

Well, then in 2013, in the second edition of the Essentials book, I took that to the Nth Degree and I integrated neuropsychology with CHC, and that’s become the School Neuropsychology CHC Integrated model. And that’s what I teach people how to use during the course of our training programs.

Dr. Sharp: Sure. I think that that’s a really helpful way of looking at things and clarifies a bit. I think it just makes sense from a theoretical perspective, right?

Dr. Miller: The reason that I had developed the model in the first place are [00:41:00] probably several reasons. One is just a way of organizing the mass amount of assessment data we have any more at our disposal and to do it based on the underlying constructs.

The second thing is to help facilitate interpretation because when you start grouping things based on the underlying constructs, it makes it so much easier for you to interpret the results. And then finally, I take that neurocognitive profile and overlay it on the common neurodevelopmental disorders, autism, ADHD, everything and it allows you to see how those constructs relate to the model. That’s why I pulled the model together in the first place.

Dr. Sharp: That makes sense. So that leads me to think about then, how do you use that with, let’s say, learning disorder identification. How does it fit [00:42:00] into that whole climate that we’re in right now? I know it’s up in the air and we keep going back and forth; discrepancy or strengths and weaknesses or what? Where do you settle on that?

Dr. Miller: With the newest edition of IDEIA, they did not say you can’t use a discrepancy formula, but the field has pretty much-discouraged states from using that. That was when RTI was sweeping the country like crazy, Response to Intervention. And then they also put into the regulations that you could use a third method, which has pretty much become known as a PSW, Processing Strengths and Weaknesses Model or Third Method of Identification. Those are the three different ways of dealing with things.

I’ll go off on a tangent for just a minute about RTI. RTI has some really good things related to it. For years, I would go around the country talking and [00:43:00] I was saying, you know guys, school psychologists, colleagues of mine, you need to be involved with pre-referral intervention types of things. You cannot always test every single child and spend hours and hours, particularly if the child doesn’t qualify. You’re getting a lot of false negatives or false positives, whatever. You don’t want to do that. Your time can be more efficient if you can use your consultation skills very early on.

So what I loved about RTI is really funny, is because for years people go to their superintendents and special education directors and say, I need to be involved with pre-referral intervention teams. They say no, you get such a high caseload. You get a test and test.

Well, then after IDEA came out, the principals went to workshops and were taught about pre-referral intervention teams and came back and said as school psychologists, you need to be involved with pre-referral intervention teams. It’s like duh. Yeah, I know. So that’s an important part of what we are trying to do.

One thing [00:44:00] I don’t necessarily like is the discrepancy formulas had a wait-to-fail type of inherent problem, is that you could not have the significant discrepancy in a kindergarten. So you would say to the child, well, just come back in two years, we’ll evaluate you in 2nd and 3rd grade, and then you’ll be so far behind, we can qualify you as SLD.

We know there’s critical periods when it comes to learning. We know there’s critical periods that are involved with reading acquisition, math acquisition, writing acquisition. You don’t want to waste that time waiting for a child to fail in order to get them special education services. So that didn’t work out very well.

Now, RTI, the problem that I have with RTI is the fact that too many districts try a “one size fits all” type of approach where if the child is not reading, what they do is they say, well, we just [00:45:00] spent thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars on this phonological awareness approach to reading, so the child’s not reading.

So what we’re going to do is we’re going to give them, instead of 30 minutes a day, we’re going to give them an hour a day and if they don’t do well with an hour a day, we’re going to give them an hour and a half a day. They don’t really use assessment to help them pick what is the most appropriate intervention based upon their disability.

One of the biggest things I love about school neuropsychology is people tell me, a parent will come up and say, oh, my child has a reading disability. I’ll say, that’s interesting. What type of reading problems do they have? Well, they don’t read well. Okay, can you tell me a little bit more?

And what I like about neuropsychology is that there are known subtypes of reading disabilities. There’s some kids that are dysphonetic. They’re never going to learn that phonological code of reading that you need to be a good fluent reader.

They [00:46:00] actually have to learn to memorize the whole word as they see it in space. They become a sight word reader. There’s curriculum design to meet the kid that’s dysphonetic. If you take a kid that’s dysphonetic and you put them in phonics for 90 minutes a day, you’re going to turn them off to reading for the rest of their life.

There’s kids that are dyseidetic, if you will, or surface dyslexic that they are not ever able to memorize the whole word as they see it in space. Well, imagine what that’s like for a child. Every time they see the word cat, they don’t say, oh, that’s a cat because they recognize the orthographic configuration of CAT. They have to say, oh, that’s K-A-T. They have to phonologically sound it out every time they see that word.

And again, there’s different intervention strategies for a child that has surface dyslexia. The same type of principles hold true for kids that have, there’s subtypes for writing disabilities and there’re subtypes for [00:47:00] math disabilities. If you’re not familiar with Steve Feifer’s work, he’s done a great job with coming up with operationalizing the reading stuff on the Feifer Assessment of Reading through, PAR sells that and other publishers but PAR is the main publisher.

There’s the Feifer Assessment of Math, which talks about identifying subtypes of mathematics based on interventions. He’s currently working on a new test for writing that’ll be out in about a year and a half. That’s the art form behind what school neuropsychology can contribute to the understanding of children.

One other quick little side note, same thing, people say to me, my child has ADHD or has attentional processing problems. And I’ll say, what kind of attentional processing problems? They’re diagnosed as an ADHD inattentive type. And I’ll say, that’s not what I’m asking. What type of attentional processing problem does the child have?

From a [00:48:00] neuropsychological perspective, I’m interested in, can the child shift their attention from one activity to another? Can they sustain their activity for long periods of time? Do they have good vigilance?

There’s subtypes of attentional processing that you need to look at that have major implications on the classroom performance that have absolutely nothing to do with a DSM diagnosis. That’s what I teach people how to drill down to look at those various subtypes of attentional processing.

Dr. Sharp: Sure, that sounds great.

Dr. Miller: Back to your original question, the thing that I have been really pleased about, many states when I was running around the country as the NASP president doing workshops, RTI was like, that’s all they did in the state. And the words, I got so crazy that some states and some training programs stopped training psychologists and school psychologists how to administer test of cognitive ability because they [00:49:00] didn’t think there was any worth in that. I got appalled at that.

So what I’m so pleased about is if you’re in education long enough and you get old enough, there’s a pendulum that takes place. All those states that used to be RTI-only are now shifting almost entirely to a Strengths and Weaknesses Process Oriented Model.

One of the biggest criticisms of RTI is that RTI cannot be used by itself to identify a child as a specific learning disabled. You have to use a multi-method type of approach. Just because a child has not responded to intervention does not necessarily mean, to equate to a deficit or saying that they’re an SLD child. You’ve got to look at a variety of factors.

The models that are inherent, and there’s a lot of agreement in this, is that typically people look at a cognitive strength compared to a cognitive weakness, and there needs to be a significant difference there. And then [00:50:00] the cognitive weakness, you compare it to an academic weakness. That’s what people are using the strengths and weaknesses model to do and there’s lots of different ways of operationalizing that. Milton Dean has a software program that does that cross-battery assessment, the X-BASS program has a way of operationalizing that.

If you’re into the cognitive assessment system, which many people are in California and other parts of the country, there’s a different approach that Jack Naglieri uses. There’s a different approach that the Woodcock-Johnson people use for identifying SLD but they all have inherent that processing strength compared to a processing weakness compared to an academic weakness. I think that’s sweeping the country right now, which has a strong neuropsychological basis to it, which I’m very excited about.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, absolutely. I’m not an expert. I haven’t dived into that [00:51:00] research as much as I should so I don’t want to get myself in trouble. I’m going to stop there before asking any more detailed questions but that might be a good topic for the future because I do know enough to know that there’s still some questionings, of the PSW model. There’s some folks out there that would say that maybe the research isn’t fantastic on that model either and we still are searching for what we need. Would that be fair?

Dr. Miller: I’ll choose my words carefully here, it’s like what’s going on in the United States in terms of politics. It’s like one point of view versus the other point of view. I got to tell you, it’s like people who said they were representing all of school psychology sat on panels when the last IDEA was [00:52:00] reauthorized and the people that were saying they represented all the school psychology were very frequently strict behavioralists who had a vested interest in programs like DIBELS and other curriculum-based measurements. Interestingly enough, they got the law passed and they have made a fortune on selling curriculum-based measurement types of things, but that has not always panned out very well also.

People that are criticizing the Processing Strengths and Weaknesses Model, there are some methodological types of problems with their studies. It’s so difficult for practitioners to know what’s real and what’s not real just because something’s published in a journal.

So many of us are practitioners. We’re so busy. What we do is we go to the summary section or read the abstract. We say, oh, look, PSW stuff’s not working but we don’t drill down to the methodology and [00:53:00] see some of the flaws that took place in some of those studies. You could say the same thing for RTI types of studies that have been very critical of RTI studies.

It’s so hard as a consumer of information anymore to know what’s good quality versus questionable quality. I think that there’s a lot going for PSW type of approach but it’s not without its controversy just like there’s a lot of good things with RTI but it’s not without controversy.

The saying that I say to people is, it is so incredibly naive to think that we have figured out everything that is great in school psychology practice. When you look back, our field is only a little over 200 years old or 100 years old. We’re still figuring it out, figuring out science.

I looked back to what I was doing 20 years ago and I was like, oh, good Lord, I’m embarrassed by what I was doing, but at the same time, [00:54:00] I was doing the best I could with the tools that I had at my disposal. We’re in the golden age right now with the resources that we have available to us as practitioners, but we’ll look back 10 years from now saying, what were we thinking? And that’s the very nature of our profession.

Dr. Sharp: Oh, absolutely. So thinking about resources, when you say it’s hard to sort through the information out there, what are your go-to journals or other resources for quality research and information about this stuff?

Dr. Miller: That’s a really good question because one of the things that has been frustrating to me is that, as school psychologists, we get the School Psychology Quarterly. If we’re NASP members, we might delve into perhaps the School Psychology Quarterly or other types of things or psychology in the [00:55:00] schools.

I did a meta-analysis of the words neuropsychology in all the journals were out there over a period of 1991 to 2018. During that time period, there were only 19 articles published in the School Psychology Review. That’s the main journal for school psychology from NASP.

I have a concern about that. For years, I always advocated, you know the Bible that’s out there, The Best Practices in School Psychology, which is now a five-volume set. Pretty soon, you’ll need a pickup to drive it home. It’s so intense. I advocated for years to the authors, you need to have a chapter on their neuropsychology. You cannot say you’re the definitive resource for the practice of school psychology and leave out the school neuropsychology. So finally, in the fifth edition, I have a chapter in there on The Best Practices of School Neuropsychology.

[00:56:00] It’s been a little bit of an uphill battle to get the broader field of school psychology to embrace neuropsychology. That’s despite the fact when you go to the NASP conference every year, the workshops that sell out the quickest are the ones that are dealing with neuropsychology, they fill up the most. The RTI people still have a bit of a stranglehold on the National Association of School Psychologists.

If you’re looking for things like research related to neuropsychology, you got to look to journals like Child Neuropsychology, Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, which is the journal for the National Academy of Neuropsychologists. The Journal of Learning Disabilities publishes a lot of things. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, Applied Neuropsychology for Child. You got to go outside of your comfort zone, the journals that are specific to school psychology and look into other [00:57:00] journals to get that type of information.

Dr. Sharp: Got you. I appreciate that. Before we totally leave the topic of school neuropsychology and training and so forth, I know there are people out there that want that really applied information. Could you possibly run through what you might call a typical battery for a school-aged kid? Let’s say, they’re over eight because I know that puts them in D-KEFS territory. What would be your typical battery to assess?

Dr. Miller: I think there’s a misnomer all batteries look alike and that the reality is that if I got a referral, I do third-party independent evaluation sometimes for school districts, and what I do is I probably spend as much time doing case review because they hand you this cum folder that’s 4 inches thick and say, this is a really difficult child, would you please figure out what’s going on?

The first thing you got to do is [00:58:00] you don’t want to duplicate what’s already been done. You’ve got to spend a lot of time with the history in terms of what special education services have been provided, what interventions have been tried, what has worked, what has not worked. You’ve got to do that thorough review to start with.

What I’ll frequently do if it’s that kind of case, and I know that they have a lot of basic psychoeducational testing already done, I’m not going to repeat that but I will delve into things like a more thorough evaluation of learning and memory. There’s tests out there like the Test of Memory and Learning, the WRAML2, there’s a ChAMP test that PAR introduced just recently and all of those delve into teasing out learning and memory to like verbal versus visual, recognition versus recall, immediate versus delayed, and all of those things are important to look at.

So I often spend a lot of time in that but I let the referral [00:59:00] question guide me where I’m going. So if the referral question is, the child has had a concussion and they have had a loss of visual-spatial type of awareness, then I’ll go into more detail, pulling tests from the NEPSY, pooling tests from the Dean-Woodcock, cross-battery assessment to answer the referral question.

If the child is being referred for a neuropsychological assessment, one of the common types of referral questions, and we talk a lot about this in the training, is when do you refer for a neuropsychological evaluation? Is when a child is SLD for a long period of time but they’re not responding to intervention. The teacher is frustrated, the parent is frustrated, the child’s frustrated.

What we try and do is figure out what buttons to push to help them get information into their brain and information out. What I’ll do is I will start with a sample of a test of cognitive ability just to see what the scatter looks like in [01:00:00] terms of strengths and weaknesses.

If a child comes out to be average in everything, then I’m going to tell the parent though, this child doesn’t need a neuropsychological evaluation. It’s when the child has a lot of scatter and you know that they put forth good effort and it’s a valid assessment, then I want to really drill down at those areas of weakness and find out what’s causing those weaknesses. So the child does very poorly on long-term retrieval on a WJ COG, then what I’ll do is I’ll drill down into more tests of memory and learning to see what’s causing that or whatever other construct it happens to be.

School neuropsychological evaluations can include psychoeducational measures, neuropsychological measures, and psychological measures because you have to sometimes rule out the child that’s oppositional defiant or having excessive violent outbursts. There may be a physiological neuropsychological explanation for why they’re having those emotional [01:01:00] difficulties and that might be one of the things you want to explore in your neuropsychological report. So there’s no such thing as a typical type of evaluation.

I’ll give you another resource that I’m very proud of. Dr. Woodcock has the largest clinical neuro database where most tests that we do are based on normals. They standardize things on normals. He has the largest clinical database of people that have known disabilities; reading disabilities, autism, math disabilities, so on and so on.

We took a look at all of the academic disorders, reading, writing, and math and we did these cool analyses where we were able to identify what cognitive tests are the best predictors of known reading, writing, and math disabilities. We break it down based on age.

So the idea behind that is rather than picking up a [01:02:00] WJ COG and walking out the door for every single child and giving the extended battery to every single child, if we know that the referral question is a reading disability, we can tell you what subtests are the best predictors of that. That’s a way of starting out with a selective assessment battery to save your time, save the child’s testing time, and making things a lot more efficient all the way around.

So that whole notion of selective assessment is, the field is moving in that direction. Started out with a NEPSY-II, where they have these selective assessments batteries based on clinical diagnoses, they’ll say, okay, we know the child is suspected of being autistic, here’s the test that the most sensitive from the NEPSY that you should administer if you think the child falls on the spectrum somewhere. We’re starting to move in that direction for cognitive abilities and academic achievement as well. It’s very exciting.

Dr. Sharp: Oh, it is. What is that resource where…?

[01:03:00] Dr. Miller: I’m turning around, give me a second. I’m going to my bookshelf. We published this in 2017. It’s called Evidence-Based Selective Assessment for Academic Disorders. It’s by Richard Woodcock, Daniel Miller, that’s me, Denise Maricle and Ryan McGill. You can get that through several different sources but Steve Feifer’s publishing company, School Neuropsych Press, he publishes that, and that’s where you probably should go to buy that book.

Dr. Sharp: Fantastic. I’m going to put that in our show notes so that people can check that out. That sounds super interesting. So let’s see, we’ve talked about a lot and I will ask, well, I’ll just ask right now; if people are interested in the school neuropsych program, you said it’s at schoolneuropsych.com?

Dr. Miller: It’s [01:04:00] schoolneuropsych.com. I’ll give you the grand scheme of that, of what is all involved. We have over 25 continuing education webinars available. These are people that you’ve read about. I’ve got three-hour webinars from George McCloskey; one’s on the executive functions theory, the other one’s on the assessment of executive function, one’s on the interventions based on executive functions.

I’ve got Steve Feifer that’s got webinars on the neuropsychology of reading, writing, and math. I’ve got Jack Naglieri doing webinars. I’ve got pretty much who’s who in the field that I’ve recordings done and people can listen to them, they take a quiz and then they do an evaluation of the webinar and then they get their CEU certificates. That’s available.

I also have put together [01:05:00] with Dawn Flanagan, Vinny Alfonso, and Sam Ortiz, a 21-hour competency-based training program in cross-battery assessment. It teaches them how to use the XBASS software program. I like that but to be honest, it involves some training. You need to spend some time with it. There are 21 hours where you listen to lectures, and learn how to use the program but then you have to demonstrate competency by submitting a case study and showing that you know how to use it in order to finish the training program.

And then the big piece is the 10-month certification training program. Everything you want to know about the training program, with textbooks that we use, the schedule that we use, we meet once a month on a weekend. The cost is $5,500. That includes everything except for about $300 worth of books [01:06:00] and also the two trips to Dallas that you have to budget for.

I always like to compare that to the program at Fielding that was $30,000 a year. We’ve tried to make the training program as affordable as possible for people that are working in the schools. I’m very proud of the training program. We’ve done a good job with it and hope to continue it for years to come.

Dr. Sharp: Oh, that’s fantastic. I’ll definitely link to that in the show notes too. I know that people would likely want to go check that out and see what it’s all about.

Dr. Miller: Sounds great.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah. So listen …

Dr. Miller: We are still accepting people for the start of the class in September. We’re getting up to the registration deadline here pretty quickly. If they’re going to start in September, they need to register, but we’ll be happy to squeeze a few more people in. That’d be fine.

Dr. Sharp: Great. So before we totally wrap up, we discussed on our prior phone call, something that was really [01:07:00] interesting to me, which is, some report writing software that you are working on. Is that right?

Dr. Miller: Yes. One of the things that I’ve done is as part of the training program, and quite frankly, this goes back to me teaching neuropsychological assessment at the university for years, I started taking all the tests that were available and based on the subtests, classifying them within my model. The report shell that I have now is a Word document is, believe it or not, almost 100 pages long, which is incredibly overwhelming.

What I tell people is, okay, you’re never going to administer 100 tests to a child. So what you do with a report shell, and it includes everything, is you open it up and save it as another document on your hard drive. What you do is you start deleting things. If you are a WJ person, what you do is you keep all the WJ [01:08:00] COG, oral language, achievement test in there.

If you know you’re going to be giving the NEPSY on a routine basis, you keep all those things in there, but you drill it down to something that’s more manageable and then you save it. If you’re a WISC person, you save the WISC and the WIAT and the WISC-V Integrated and all those other things to make it more manageable.

But here’s the problem, for years, what I don’t want people to do is I don’t want people to get so hung up on now where in the heck do I table the data in terms of the report shell and spend hours and hours doing that? So what we’ve done, we’re on the final cusp of introducing a school neurorider. I was just working on it this morning.

What people will do is that either going to be available on an iPad version or a PC or a Macintosh, with a short period of time after that will be available on Android devices as well. What they do is they go in, they enter the demographics. They enter the [01:09:00] background information, and reason for referral. I put in there a lot of cool things like a checklist for any DSM diagnoses the child came into the evaluation with or any special education diagnoses.

Then what you do is you say, okay. I gave the Wechsler scale and it allows you to create custom data entry forms for all the tests that you administered based on the child’s age. And then with a click of a button, all of those subtests are classified in the report shell for you. It’s going to save hours and hours of time writing a report because you’re not going to have to worry about tabling the data on your own.

And then at the end of it, you write your narratives, you’re shown the data after it’s tabled. You talk about how the child interacted with the testing material, not describing the test itself. Bring the things to life, talk about how that manifests itself in the classroom. And then [01:10:00] there’s section for report recommendations, there’s a complete DSM 5 diagnosis section that’s included, complete IDEA diagnosis included and then it spits out a report as a PDF file.

And what’s nice about this, particularly for supervision, is that you can do it in stages. So if you are working with a supervisor in a training program and you’re dealing with case conceptualization, you type in the reason for referral, background information, and you stop. You print out a sample report of where you’re at, and you sit down with your supervisor and say, well, this is what’s going on with a child from the parents and the teacher’s point of view. Let’s help me assemble a battery to answer the referral question. You go ahead and you do parts of it. You can print out another thing for supervision.

So you can do it in incremental fashion. You can use it for training purposes as well as actual practice. So I’m very excited. It’s basically, we’ve done this, we worked on it for three years now with programmers and it’s just that this is like [01:11:00] giving birth as well. I’m very anxious to get this one out. It’s twins or triplets.

Dr. Sharp: Sure. Yeah. How is the pricing model going to work?

Dr. Miller: Not totally definitive on this. The way it’s going to work is you’ll have to buy it upfront for a fee just to help me cover three years of development costs. It’ll probably be between $500 and $600 to buy it. You’ll get so many credits when you purchase it.

But every time you print out a draft, you can print out as many drafts for a single child as you want, including the final report. It’s only going to cost you 1 credit but there’s going to be a cost for a credit to print out a report, probably somewhere in the $10 range in order to print out a report. That $10, if you take all the time it would take you to write the report otherwise, that $10 is going to be a very wise investment in order to use the report [01:12:00] writer.

The only other thing we’re going to do that’s not without controversy, but I think it’s an important thing, is that there will be an option at the end of the report that you can actually submit your data, stripping off all identifying information. I could care less about the child’s name and all these other things but I would like to be able to archive data so that 10 years from now or five years from now across all the country, I could feed back to the profession saying this is what a profile looks like of an ADHD kid that’s 10 years of age who happens to be a male and this is what their neurocognitive profile looks like.

So to be able to capture data from around the country, that’s my researcher hat that comes out would be just incredibly powerful. We already have the largest pediatric neuropsychological database in the country, but I’d like to add to that on a continual basis for research [01:13:00] purposes.

Dr. Sharp: That makes sense. I think that’s a great idea. That sounds really cool. The field needs a quality report writing software program. I know that there have been some attempts and there are some options out there but people, it just came up in the Facebook group this week, what are the software programs out there? What’s good? What’s not good? So people need it.

That’s really exciting. Is there anywhere that someone could demo it or are you at that point yet or what?

Dr. Miller: Not yet. I’m taking people that have gone through the school neuropsychology training program and they’re my guinea pigs right now for testing the final versions of things. We’re hoping to release it within the next 60 days. We’re in the final throes, getting things out. Again, at schoolneuropsych.com, there’s a whole section related to the school neurowriter. When it’s launched, that’s where the information is going to be.

Dr. Sharp: All right. I will put [01:14:00] that in the show notes as well.

Dr. Miller: The last thing I would say is we do have a mailing list. If you go to the schoolneuropsych.com, you can join our mailing list. I do send out pretty much monthly. I sometimes miss a month because I’m swamped, but I send out a thing called School Neuro News, where I give updates about what new books have been published. What new webinars have been recorded? What new resources are available? So if you’re getting into the field or you’re interested in a field, that’s a great way to stay connected.

Dr. Sharp: Sure. Oh, that sounds great. Well, let’s see, gosh, we’ve covered a lot of ground. Anything else that you want to put out there for anyone who’s interested in learning more about school neuropsychology or assessment or any of the other pieces we’ve talked about?

Dr. Miller: I would just say that when I started out in the field in 1980, the state-of-the-art was the Halstead–Reitan. There were downward extensions for children [01:15:00] and the Luria–Nebraska, and that was it. And they were downward extensions of adult models. It was embarrassing to teach people and call that neuropsychological assessment. We are in the golden age of assessment right now. We have tests that are available that are psychometrically sound, and theoretically driven.

I think that you cannot fail to talk about this is that you can do the best evaluation known to man. You can write the best report known to man but if you do not have good linkages with evidence-based interventions; that’s where the rubber meets the road. We need to make sure that the assessments that we do guide the interventions that are going to be the most effective for helping kids learn and behave and do everything else.

I think still in our field, our field still in the infancy, quite frankly, when it comes to evidence-based interventions. We’re still trying to figure out what is the appropriate [01:16:00] way to go. Just because a study that was published in Michigan on 25 kids in a journal, that does not necessarily mean it’s going to generalize to the kids in Texas or California or whatever.

So we’ve got a long way to go with that, but we’re getting better in terms of linkage between assessment and intervention. And to me, that’s the growth potential of our field over the next 10, 20 years.

Dr. Sharp: Yeah, I totally agree. We didn’t even open the can of worms about intervention. That’s a whole another several hours but just in the short term, do you have any good resources or books or anything that can help send folks down that path?

Dr. Miller: Yes. Jennifer Mascolo wrote a book recently. I’m looking at my bibliography here. Give me just a second. It’s planning and intervening, I always mix up the titles. Give me just a second. [01:17:00] In fact, I’ll just search for it. It’s a really good, I love the Essentials books. It’s Miscalo, Alfonso, and Flanagan, it’s not that recent, but it’s 2014. It’s called the Essentials of Planning, Selecting, and Tailoring Interventions for Unique Learners. What I like about that is it takes the major neurocognitive areas and it then gives recommendations or interventions.

Dr. Sharp: Hey, y’all, at this point in the recording, we lost Dan just for a few minutes so you’re going to hear him pick back up here in just a second. All right, thanks.

Dr. Miller: What I was talking about is the book that I would recommend for interventions by Jennifer Mascalo, she has two other co-authors; Vincent Alfonso and Dawn Flanagan. [01:18:00] It’s one of the Essentials books. It’s called The Essentials of Planning, Selecting, and Tailoring Interventions for Unique Learners.

Probably what I would also suggest is, we talked earlier about the neuropsychology of reading, writing, and math and how you can do subtypes of things. The books that are out there by Steve Feifer are excellent resources. Even within particular tests, like the Feifer Assessment of Reading and Math, they’ve developed some scoring programs and report writing software for both of those that give good interventions based upon the test results. So if you’re dealing with the academic areas, take a look at those two tests and resources that are available too.

Dr. Sharp: Sure. Well, gosh, this has been fantastic. I’ve got more resources and notes from this episode than we hit most of the others. That’s for sure. I really appreciate your [01:19:00] time. I am still intrigued by the training program and I know that other folks will be too. Hopefully, you’ll get some traffic there, people checking out the training program.

And do not hesitate, Dan, to reach out when that report writing software goes live, and I’ll be happy to do an update to our episode here or blog post or something to put that out there, too because I think people would be really excited about that.

Dr. Miller: Good. I am too. I want to get it out.

Dr. Sharp: I bet. Just to close, if anybody wants to get in touch with you or ask questions, what’s the best way to do that?

Dr. Miller: Probably by email, dmiller@kidsinc.com is a good email for the training program or anything related to school neuropsychology. If you happen to be interested in writing a grant for research purposes to the Woodcock Institute, that’s dmiller@twu.edu.

[01:20:00] Dr. Sharp: Okay. Fantastic. Thank you so much. This has been incredibly valuable. I really appreciate it.

I think that’s it. Maybe we’ll be talking again in the future but in the meantime, good luck with all the work that you’re doing. I really appreciate it.

Dr. Miller: Thank you.

Dr. Sharp: Take care. Alright, y’all, thank you so much for listening as always. I hope you enjoyed that conversation with Dr. Miller. I know I learned a little bit. I learned a lot. And like I said, I’ve been intrigued with this school neuropsychology certificate program for quite a while now so I’ll be looking into that again. Certainly sounds like an amazing supplement to many of the evaluations that we’re doing and a good happy medium for those who can’t go back for that neuropsychology fellowship. So check that out. All that will be in the show notes.

If you need any paperwork for your practice, I have some paperwork packets for you and you can check those out at [01:21:00] thetestingpsychologist.com/paperwork.

If you would like some support building your practice, starting your practice, or growing your practice; give me a shout. I would love to help you with that. I’ve had a great cohort of consultants or consultees over the last several weeks and I’m just loving this work, helping people build their testing practices.

So if you think you might want some help, give me a shout. You can book a free complimentary, those are the same thing, by the way, you can book a complimentary phone call just to see if coaching is right for you. You can go to thetestingpsychologist.com/consulting, get more information, book that phone call, and we’ll see if it is a good fit. And if not, I’ll point you in the right direction.

All right, y’all take care. Bye bye. [01:22:00]

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