The ABLE Center and Child’s Nature are teaming together to introduce the Neurodevelopmental Collaboration Clinic (The NdCC). This clinic is designed to provide comprehensive, neurodiversity affirming, care to help all children thrive at home and school. The clinic aims to bridge both clinical and educational diagnoses to bring the best integrative care for children with neurodevelopmental differences.
The Neurodevelopmental Collaborative Care Clinic will be hosted at Child’s Nature with collaboration with Dr. Huffman of The ABLE Center.
The main collaborative team includes:
Dr. Jennifer Imig Huffman, Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Board Certified Pediatric Neuropsychologist and owner of The ABLE Center
Mrs. Carrie Kerr, ASHA-certified Speech-Language Pathologist and the owner/clinical director of Child's Nature
Mrs. Elisabeth Anderson, Nationally Certified School Psychologist of Child’s Nature
And the Child’s Nature intervention and support team!
Evaluation through N.d.C.C.
Our N.D.C.C. provides a comprehensive evaluation that can include the following components:
- Background information and developmental history.
- This includes a parental interview that will document birth and early childhood information, health history, a review of the student's social/emotional functioning, current diagnoses, and any current medications. The interview also includes information related to the student's hobbies, interests, parents' greatest concerns, as well as a review of all relevant school intervention plans or previous individualized education plans (IEPs).
- Assessment of cognitive abilities: cognitive processing, adaptive, executive functioning
- Cognitive Assessment: These types of assessments are also known as "IQ tests." They explore mitigating factors to a child's academic success such as difficulties with verbal reasoning, working memory, cognitive processing, logic and reasoning, and visual-spatial skills. Students who many have cognitive weaknesses may experience some of the following difficulties: difficulty remembering facts, drawing inferences, providing off-topic or 'random' answers to questions, difficulties with word retrieval and organization of thoughts, following multi-step directions, paraphrasing, and summarizing information, or remembering lessons from day-to-day. (Note: this is not a comprehensive list of all cognitive difficulties).
- Adaptive Functioning: These are skills that are needed to navigate everyday life. There are three conceptual types of adaptive skills:
- Conceptual skills: literacy; self-direction; and concepts of number, money, and time
- Social skills: interpersonal skills, social responsibility, self-esteem, gullibility, naïveté (i.e., wariness), social problem solving, following rules, obeying laws, and avoiding being victimized
- Practical skills: activities of daily living (personal care), occupational skills, use of money, safety, health care, travel/transportation, schedules/routines, use of the telephone and computer/social media skills
- Executive Functioning: These skills help us plan for and achieve goals. There are seven main executive functioning skills:
- Adaptability: problem solving and adjusting to various situations; shifting attention from one task to another
- Planning: thinking about the future and creating a plan of action
- Self-monitoring: the ability to self-evaluate and comprehend how well one performs a task and self-reflecting on one’s various behaviors and how it impacts oneself and others
- Self-control: the ability to restrain from physical or emotional outbursts; impulse control
- Working memory: the ability to retain, store, and retrieve information later
- Time-management: the ability to organize a schedule, complete tasks on time, and maintain patience
- Organization: the ability to efficiently arrange and manage materials
- Social/Emotional Functioning: this type of development includes a child's ability to experience, express, and manage their own emotions. Additionally, it includes the ability to understand these same emotional states in others. Social/emotional functioning also includes the ability for a child to build and maintain positive relationships with peers and adults.
- We utilize various rating scales to investigate the social, sensory processing, and repetitive behavior concerns you have for your child. If warranted, we also ask your child to fill out the same scales and report on their own thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of themselves. We are sensitive to how various neurodivergent profiles can appear differently between our male and females clients - we therefore use gender specific norms in order to investigate normative differences.
- Clinical observations of your child will be utilized. Observation methods include:
- Controlled: The evaluators will set up specific scenarios with preselected objects and observe how your child reacts to the materials.
- Naturalistic: The evaluators will observe how the child spontaneously moves, plays, and interacts with others in a comfortable and natural setting.
- Participant: Similar to the naturalistic observation method described above, but the evaluator will join in on the child's play and observe how the child reacts.
If warranted, recommended, or requested, we also provide assessment in the areas related to academic achievement: reading, writing, and mathematics, as well as speech/language development, and occupational therapy.
The most important thing to remember is that our evaluation is a process of testing that yields results. No one single test can be used to identify a student with a disability. No single score can indicate specific strengths or weaknesses. Rather, the team is looking for a pattern of strengths and weaknesses across several tests.
The goal of N.d.C.C.
At Child’s Nature and The ABLE Center, our goal of an N.d.C.C. evaluation is to provide an on-going neurodivergent-affirming approach for families. We hope to use the results to help and support the development of a plan of action: prioritize goal development, increase understanding of the child’s neurodivergent profile, develop strategies for success, help your child to achieve their potential, increase your child’s independence and self-advocacy skills, help build and/or repair familial relationships, teach approaches to resolve conflict and stress at home, and increase your family’s ability to participate in recreational activities within the home and community setting.
Child's Nature and The ABLE Center are here to provide on-going answers and treatment options along the various points in you and your family's journey. Whether you have questions now, in three months, or 3 years from now, we will be here to support you.