When do I Need a Neuropsychological Assessment? How Can the Results be Used to Change my Life?

Special Ops

I hit the lottery when Dr. Karen Wilson, a Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychologist from West LA Neuropsychology, agreed to spend time with me for this episode. I think I have a thing for Neuropsychologists. Even though I've interviewed another Neuropsychologist on my channel, I'm always drawn to the way Neuropsychologists think, analyze, and evaluate. They expand my thinking and mesmerize me with their skills. They're like the special ops of psychologists (oh wow, I just made psychologists sound so cool...nice move, me!). 

In this episode, Karen helps me split hairs. We talk about how Neuropsychologists are different than Clinical Psychologists and School Psychologists. It comes down to 1) having a doctoral degree and clinical training as a psychologist and then 2) going the extra distance with 2-3 years of laser-focused training in neuropsychology, which (over)simply put, is how the brain develops at different times and what can happen functionally when development is...

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What is a Daily Money Manager and When do you Need One? An Interview with Sheri Samotin

What is a Daily Money Manager?

One of the perks of my job is to be able to learn from people like Sheri Samotin. Sheri, the President of LifeBridge Solutions and author of Facing the Finish: A Roadmap for Aging Parents and Adult Children, specializes in transition planning and is an expert at supporting individuals and families in the area of personal finances, asset management, and coordinating care.

Since I mostly work with disabled adults, I became fascinated with two professional hats that Sheri wears (and Sheri has more). Sheri is a professional Certified Daily Money Manager. A Daily Money Manager helps people with their day-to-day personal finances. In this role, Sheri helps individuals make and stick to budgets. Sheri's over 10-year experience supporting individuals with Intellectual Disabilities, Developmental Disabilities, substance use, and mental health disorders is evident as she confidently understands how to most effectively support her clients with...

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Helping Gifted Adults with Autism Find Meaningful Jobs | An Interview with Jessica Lee

The missing lego brick...found

Calling all Lego builders...have you ever been in that situation when you are on the brink of putting together your masterpiece and you can't find that one brick that you need? Well, finding Jessica Lee from The Spectrum Works is like finding that Lego brick that you need to put it all together. 

The Spectrum Works is a non-profit organization that connects gifted adults with autism with corporations that need talent. This isn't as simple as it sounds and Jessica and I get into the process of how this is done.

Prepare the fleet

Yeah, there are a lot of boats. Let's start with corporations. Corporations, specifically ones who are committed to neurodiversity and inclusion, need to be prepared and understand what cultural competency of neurodiversity looks like. This preparation looks like increasing awareness of autism and the laws and regulations (Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act) that may apply to them. Then, it's promoting inclusive...

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What is Inclusion, Why it's Important, and How to Achieve it? An Interview with Danielle Christy

What is Inclusion?

I had the distinct pleasure of spending some quality time with Danielle Christy, a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP) with over 15 years in the public, non-public, charter, and contained school settings. Her specialty? Inclusion.

Across the many years of my practice as a Clinical Psychologist with a niche in neurodevelopmental disabilities, I hear the word "inclusion" tossed about. Even though I've spent a lot of my professional career in a classroom, I'm not an educator, so spending time with Danielle, who is an expert on inclusion, was enlightening and it was high time that I did a deeper dive. 

According to Danielle, Inclusion is made up of some key components. First and foremost, presume competence. No matter the disability, socio-economic status, or race, believe in the potential of every child, every student...and well, every person. Second, all students should have equal access to the curriculum and supports to access curriculums. Third, equip...

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What is Scenicview Academy? An Interview with Alex Johnson

Live. Work. Thrive.

Oh, let's also add empowered and confident. These words were heard, on repeat, during my interview with Alex Johnson, Admissions and Business Development Director of Scenicview Academy (SVA). 

SVA is a non-profit school for young adults (18-30yo) with Autism Spectrum and learning disorders. School at SVA doesn't look like your typical or traditional school. Classes are thoughtfully designed and crafted to meet the needs of each student and are conducted IRL in the community. SVA's learning philosophy is that experience is the best teacher, so students hit the ground running immediately with immersion and practice. 

Students don't have to be intimidated by the real-life pace or demands of the SVA program because of high staff ratios (fun fact: staff outnumbers students) and a dedicated Service Coordinator and Therapist, who are assigned to every student as part of their treatment team. Support staff are considered mentors and coaches to the...

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What is Brightstone Transitions? An Interview with Jill Allen

Independence through application

I got to connect with Jill Allen to talk about Brightstone Transitions, a residential transition program in Gainesville, GA. Brightstone focuses on supporting young adults ages 18-26 with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (level 1). With built-in scaffolding through a 3-phase system, Brightstone utilizes a coaching and mentorship model, where mentors live with residents in phase 1. This unique approach allows for organic and in-the-moment coaching, catching and addressing barriers to independence that might be otherwise lost. Additionally, Brightstone's model is community-integrated, utilizing the home and community as the "classrooms" for learning, shaping navigation, and advocacy in real-time. This process or IRL application is how Brigthstone helps residents achieve their fullest independence.

Can't do vs. won't do

It's amazing how powerful language can be. Jill made a point of differentiating between the words "can't" vs....

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What is Moving Forward Towards Independence? An Interview with Rhonda Daniels

Growth of the whole person

It was super cool when Rhonda Daniels, Executive Director of Moving Forward Towards Independence (Moving Forward), agreed to do an interview for disABLED+Empowered. I've known about Moving Forward for a while and given my specialty with teens and adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities, they have been on my radar. 

Moving Forward is a unique program that has a strong identity with a proven track record. They know what they do and do it well. Serving non-college-bound adults with developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, and autism spectrum disorders, they focus on the growth of the whole person (read: not academic). They help adults meet their personal potential vocationally and socially while filling in the gaps (if needed) for daily living. Classes and groups are offered by interest and are crafted by staff who will stop at nothing to make learning fun and meaningful (enter Pokemon Go for social skills and executive functioning...

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What is a Neuropsychologist? An Interview with Dr. Oren Boxer

Forging the lenses

So thrilled to welcome Dr. Oren Boxer to disABLED+Empowered. Oren is a pediatric neuropsychologist based in Pasadena, CA. In our interview, Oren defines what neuropsychologists do, which is understanding how the brain develops, forging the lenses by which individuals see the world. With thorough and systematic assessment, neuropsychologists gain an intimate and comprehensive view of how an individual's brain works. 

Creating roadmaps 

Results from neuropsychological assessments serve as road maps to efficiently support an individual. Admittedly biased, Oren believes that this information is critical for every individual to know about themselves. This information unlocks several IRL benefits. First, results help guide parents to know when discipline vs. support or formal intervention is needed. Second, it empowers individuals with information to advocate across all areas of life. These things are not only good for kids, but also a super boost...

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What is a Speech and Language Therapist? An Interview with Justine Navid Mufson

Bring people towards each other

This is Justine's superpower. In my interview with Justine, who is a Speech and Language Pathologist (SLP) or Therapist, she shares all the things that SLPs do and the pressure points that SLPs ease. Justine is passionate about eliciting connection through language and communication. She highlights communication subtleties like eye contact and smiling and how these little things elicit connection on a deeper level. Justine is obsessed with bringing people together and figuring out how to create a bespoke system for any kiddo and their family. 

Empower the system

Justine is all about building skills to close gaps. She and I have this in common as professionals and we jive with empowering all parts of a system -- moms, dads, siblings, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, best friends...you get it. When everyone is involved, everyone is elevated. Skill-building communicates an unspoken message of hope. Despite delays or deficits,...

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What is a Therapeutic & Educational Consultant? An Interview with Dr. Jessica Romeyn

Boots on the Ground

It is my distinct pleasure to welcome Dr. Jessica Romeyn to the disABLED+Empowered channel. Jessica and I go waaaay back. We met during our internship year of training, where we both cut our professional teeth. Even back then, Jessica was passionate, savvy, vibrant, and wickedly smart. 

In this interview, we get into what a Therapeutic and Educational Consultant is. I continue to meet plenty of people that don't know what this type of consultant is or that they even exist. Enter, Jessica. She helps me add some definition to this newer professional specialty. Spoiler? Educational Consultants are professionals who help individuals and families find the right school, college, or program when traditional approaches or settings aren't working. Jessica adds the "Therapeutic" title because she brings clinical training to the role and is an expert at supporting individuals with mental illness or dual diagnoses. 

If you watch or listen to the...

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