I offer comprehensive educational, diagnostic, and neuropsychological testing for children ages 6 years and up, adolescents, and college students.
Testing can help to understand your or your child’s pattern of strengths and weaknesses, help to clarify why someone has been struggling academically, or provide data about how a medical condition impacts a person’s thoughts and emotions.
Any assessment begins with a question, such as:
- “Does my child have an attention or learning disorder?”
- “Why am I generally quick to learn but struggle so much with reading?”
- “Is there an underlying reason or condition that explains my teenager’s underachievement?”
- “Could my child be bored because she is gifted and needs more challenge?”
- “Are my challenges with social interactions due to autism spectrum disorder, anxiety, or something else?”
- “Are the accommodations and supports my child currently receives at school addressing all of his needs?”
- “My child has been taking medication for ADHD for a year. Is it making a difference?”
- “My child seems really advanced in math and reading. Should I advocate for grade-skipping or some other acceleration?”
Based on your question, I design a customized assessment plan to address it with data. This includes many different elements, such as tests of intellectual abilities and academic achievement, activities that measure symptoms like attention difficulties or types of anxiety, interviews with clients and their parents, filling out rating scales, looking at records from schools, and sometimes consulting with your other medical providers.
Testing typically takes place over multiple three-hour blocks of time with breaks built in. These three-hour blocks can be scheduled over multiple days as needed to serve clients with busy schedules. Morning, afternoon, evening, and weekend appointment times are available.
After the assessment is completed, I prepare a detailed report with all of the results and customized recommendations. We then meet for a feedback session to review the report together and address any questions you have. After the feedback session, many families choose to share their report with medical providers and/or to advocate for services (such as acceleration or accommodations) at school.
I offer the following types of testing:
- This type of assessment helps parents understand their children’s patterns of cognitive and academic abilities. Parents who suspect that their child may be gifted or need more challenge in a particular area find it especially helpful! Educational testing is useful for identifying whether a child is achieving at, above, or below the expected level for his or her age and grade. With that information, I can help you to understand your child’s curriculum needs. Parents receive a detailed report of results and recommendations for nurturing their child’s success at home and at school.
Diagnostic Testing for Learning Disabilities
- This type of assessment explains why an individual may be struggling at school, work, and/or home. Clients who seek this type of evaluation often have concerns about one or more subjects, such as reading, writing, math, or language. Many times, people who seek this type of testing are bright and may be twice-exceptional (having both high ability and a disability). It is possible to a gifted student who also has a learning disability! A detailed report of results and recommendations for any appropriate accommodations and services is provided.
Diagnostic Testing for ADHD, Distractibility, and/or Executive Functioning Concerns
- This type of assessment determines whether an individual’s challenges with attention, executive functioning, distractibility, or a high activity level are due to ADHD, environmental variables, or some related condition (such as an anxiety disorder or learning disability). There are many different reasons that a student may have difficulty concentrating or staying organized. It’s important to explore each hypothesis to best understand an individual’s needs and ways to help. Clients receive a detailed report of results and recommendations for any appropriate accommodations and services.
Diagnostic Testing for Anxiety, Depression, Behavioral Concerns, or Other Mental Health Concerns
- This type of assessment explains whether an individual’s challenges with emotions, behaviors, or relationships are due to a mood or anxiety disorder, environmental variables, or some related condition (such as ADHD or a medical condition). Clients often seek this type of evaluation due to difficulties that occur in multiple contexts, such as at school and at home. Additionally, clients and their treating mental health providers may request a diagnostic assessment to assist in treatment planning or to identify accommodation needs. A detailed report of results and recommendations for any appropriate accommodations, services, and treatment strategies is provided.
Diagnostic Testing for Autism Spectrum Disorder and Related Concerns
- This type of assessment explores the reasons for longstanding characteristics such as a restricted range of interests and behaviors, difficulty with perspective-taking and relationships, and communication challenges. It includes a detailed developmental history interview with parents, as well as measures of communication skills, adaptive behaviors, and ways of thinking. Families often seek this type of evaluation due to difficulties that occur in multiple contexts, such as at school and at home. Because behaviors that resemble symptoms of autism spectrum disorder be due to other variables or conditions, such as a history of trauma, an anxiety disorder, or a medical syndrome, comprehensive assessment is crucial for an accurate diagnosis. A detailed report of results, any appropriate diagnoses, and recommendations for any appropriate accommodations, services, and treatment strategies is provided.
Testing for Cognitive, Emotional, and/or Educational Impacts of Medical Conditions
- This type of assessment provides quantifiable information about the current impacts of a medical condition such as concussion, epilepsy, sleep disorders, cancer, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, or diabetes. Clients who seek this evaluation may have already undergone or are currently undergoing physician-supervised treatment for their medical condition. Some medical conditions and their treatments may have measurable cognitive, educational, and/or emotional impacts, such as difficulty with concentration, decreased memory, or mood symptoms. A comprehensive assessment can determine whether such impacts exist, the degree to which they impair the individual, and whether comorbid mental health concerns are present. A detailed report of results and recommendations for accommodations and services is provided.
Individual therapy services are available for children, adolescents, college students, and adults. I specialize in working with gifted individuals, people with disabilities that impact the learning process, and twice-exceptional individuals (those who are gifted and also have a disability). My approach to counseling is grounded in cognitive-behavioral therapy strategies, which have the most research support for their effectiveness in addressing a variety of concerns. I tailor sessions to the needs and characteristics of each client. My work with children and adolescents often involves games and play to teach coping strategies. Animal-assisted therapy with a friendly rabbit is offered to clients whose goals align with this format. To best assist clients under age 18, sessions include a weekly check-in with parents to maximize treatment benefits. The frequency of meetings is determined by the needs of each client. Some after-school, evening, and weekend appointments are offered so that clients can integrate therapy with other important commitments.
Group therapy provides an opportunity to connect with others who have similar life experiences and goals. It can be life-changing to know that you are not alone in problems you face. Group participants also benefit from practicing new skills together and sharing strategies for success.
To help determine if participating in group therapy is the best strategy for you or your child, each potential participant will meet with the psychologist for a 45-minute consultation session. During that session, we will discuss your current goals and needs, as well as any questions you have about the group. At the end of the consultation, I will share my recommendations for strategies – whether group therapy, individual therapy, or something else – to best meet your goals.
The following groups will be starting in September 2019:
Social Skills Group for Twice-Exceptional Kids (grades 3-5)
- Skills including being a good listener, being able to take others’ perspectives, recognizing interpersonal cues, starting conversations, and establishing relationships help kids to be successful in school, activities, and their families. One of the best ways to build and practice these skills is with peers in a supportive environment. In this six-week group, we will collaborate to build participants’ skills in through conversations, games, and role-plays. This group is for twice-exceptional students currently in grades 3-5.
Social Skills Group for Twice-Exceptional Kids in the Middle
- Skills including being a good listener, being able to take others’ perspectives, recognizing interpersonal cues, starting conversations, and establishing relationships help kids to be successful in school, activities, and their families. One of the best ways to build and practice these skills is with peers in a supportive environment. In this six-week group, we will collaborate to build participants’ skills in through conversations, games, and role-plays. This group is for twice-exceptional students currently in grades 6-8.
Building Bravery Group (grades 6-8)
- In this supportive environment of peers, shy students will be encouraged to practice skills such as introducing themselves, starting and maintaining conversations, advocating for their needs, and coping with vulnerability. We will build healthy strategies for managing social anxiety using research-supported cognitive-behavioral techniques including topic-focused conversations, activities, and role-plays. This group spans eight weeks to foster strong relationships and increase students’ confidence. This group is for students currently in grades 6-8.
One-time consultation appointments are offered to assist clients or their parents to address a specific concern. You may want an expert opinion about a prior evaluation, need help planning for a part of your child’s education, want information about managing a behavior, or have questions about accommodation needs. Depending on your needs, a consultation may include a review of test scores and other previous records, a written report containing recommendations, and referrals to additional resources.
Dr. Ksiazak offers presentations, workshops, and trainings in her areas of expertise and would be happy to tailor a presentation to your organization’s needs. She has presented to educators, parents, other mental health providers, professional organizations, university audiences, and K-12 students.
Areas of expertise include:
- Standardized Testing Accommodations
- Disability Accommodations
- Learning Disabilities
- Career Issues and Multipotentiality
- Anxiety Disorders
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Gender Issues
- Teaching Gifted Students
- Academic Acceleration
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Comprehensive Assessment
- Coping Skills
- Stress Management
Upcoming presentation titles at the National Association for Gifted Children’s 2019 Convention include:
- The Truth About Twice-Exceptional Students and Test Accommodations
- Essential Tips for Teachers of Twice-Exceptional Students
- The Intersection of Autism and Giftedness: Establishing a Research Agenda
Recent presentation titles include:
- Supporting the Emotional Needs of 2e Students
- Anxiety in the Classroom: Interventions and Accommodations
- Essential Tips for Parenting Your Twice-Exceptional Child
- Who is Ready for Early Entrance to Kindergarten?
- Nurturing Gifted Children at Home and School
- Applications of Social Justice in Careers in Psychological Assessment