Congratulations to our very own Patrick Hughes for being named
School Psychologist of the Year for NEFASP
(North East Florida Association of School Psychologists)!!
Got questions? We have answers! In each newsletter, we’ll address a question or two submitted by our readers. Whether you're a parent looking for information on how to help your child at home, or an educator looking for some advice, we can help!
Q: “My child says she gets nervous when taking tests at school. Could she have test anxiety? What can we do to help her? A: Students are under a lot of pressure these days to perform, and not just on high-stakes testing. For students who struggle with memorization and/or attention concerns, test-taking can be extremely stressful or can provoke anxiety, because it relies on these very skills. It’s important to know that students with test anxiety may not only worry about their preparedness for a single test. Their stress or anxiety could quickly snowball into generalized fear about their overall success in school and their future success in life. Ultimately, these students can become overly self-critical and lose confidence in their abilities. Instead of feeling challenged by their potential success, they become fearful of failure, which could impact their performance when taking tests. If you suspect that your child worries too much about test-taking, you can help to reduce their anxiety by encouraging them to do the following: 1. Plan ahead
Make sure your child starts studying for the test in advance and understands what material the test will cover.
2. Discourage your child from "cramming" the night before.
Studying at the last minute will most likely increase anxiety, which will interfere with clear thinking. Make sure your child gets a good night's sleep.
3. Take a few deep breaths.
Close your eyes and concentrate on the air going in and out of your lungs.
Take deep breaths - fill your lungs.
Hold your breath and count to 5.
4. Tense and relax different muscle groups
5. Engage in positive self-talk
Think about a rational response to counter any negative thoughts (e.g., “I know I can do this!” instead of “I’m going to fail this test!”)
6. Remind your child to use good test-taking strategies
Read the directions carefully before beginning the test.
Ask the teacher to explain something that he or she doesn't understand.
Look quickly at the entire test to see what types of questions are on it to determine how much time to spend on each question.
Mark questions that he or she doesn't know the answer to, skip them, and go on.
Encourage your child to return to the skipped items when they finish the test and attempt them again.
7. After the test, encourage your child to take time to relax and reflect on what can be
done differently next time.
Encourage them not to dwell too long on the outcome of the test. When possible, review corrections with your child.
Encourage your child to prepare for future tests, especially in subjects/classes where material builds on information learned in previous units.
Patrick E. Hughes, Ed.S.
Patrick earned his undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of North Florida, and his Masters and Specialist degrees in School Psychology from the University of Florida. He is licensed (SS 873) and certificated (FL# 619558) in the state of Florida. He has 29 years of experience as a school psychologist and has worked for the Diocese of St. Augustine, Duval County Public Schools, and Nova Southeastern University. Pat has served in several leadership roles, including lead psychologist, School Psychology Coordinator, Section 504 Compliance Consultant, and is considered an expert in ADHD. Patrick has conducted numerous professional development workshops for peers and school staff, is well versed in Section 504 law and guidelines, and is currently the chair of the Section 504 Advisory Committee. Patrick is a member of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), the Florida Association of School Psychologists (FASP), and was a charter member of the Northeast Florida Association of School Psychologists (NEFASP).
Do you know what the term executive functioning means? Executive functioning, in simpler terms, relates to the brain’s ability to keep us on-task. Executive functioning also reminds us of deadlines and meetings, encourages us to overcome setbacks, etc. Many students struggle in school and everyday life because they do not naturally possess, nor have they been taught, these important skills.
Listed below are some common executive functioning skills:
The ability to resist impulses and to block out distractions
The ability to make transitions, show problem-solving flexibility, alternate attention and to change focus
Managing emotions to complete a task
Beginning a task and being independent in problem-solving (ability to generate ideas)
The ability to hold information to complete a task
The ability to manage current and future-oriented task
Plan - anticipate future events, set goals, develop appropriate steps, start with the end in mind
Organize - the ability to order information to identify main ideas and key concepts - there is a clerical component to this
ORGANIZATION OF MATERIALS
Reflects the orderliness of work, play and storage areas (e.g. desk, lockers, bedroom etc.)
The ability to frequently review progress and make adjustments.
Learn more about Executive Functioning...
A Day in the Life of a child with Executive Functioning Issues - Understand the issues in the day of a life of a child with Executive Functioning issues.View the article here
Late, Lost and Unprepared. A Parent’s Guide to Helping Children with Executive Functioning- Joyce Cooper-Kahn and Laurie Dietzel. (2008)
The PsychoEducational Consultant Group
The PsychoEducational Consultant Group provides school psychology services to children and adolescents with varying learning styles. Our goal is to assist students in becoming successful in their education setting and to enhance their abilities. We are committed to evaluating students’ unique strengths and challenges, while maintaining the highest level of integrity and empathy. Our office is a family-friendly environment, and provides us the time and opportunity to meet with families given their scheduling needs.