Welcome to the Great Minds blog.


Avoid Neuropsychological Evaluation for ADHD?
Submitted May 17, 2011 by Dr. Janet Reed

A recent article in the New York Times recommended to avoid neuropsychological evaluations for ADHD, due to the expense. However, many parents prefer to be certain that the principal problem actually is an attentional problem before initiating a trial of stimulant medication. While a diagnosis can be made based on a 10-minute office visit and review of non-standardized symptom checklists in a physician's office, this process does not rule out the possibility of emotional, learning or other behavior problems that are NOT best treated with trials of medication.  The author of the article then goes on to state, "A neuropsychological evaluation is useful, however, if you suspect you have learning disabilities or need accommodations in school or on tests."

Neuropsychological evaluation can assess for symptoms of ADHD, identify the severity of symptoms, and identify associated or underlying causes (e.g., learning disabilities, possible neurological disorder, problems with social relations and competence). From there, appropriate medical, educational, and behavioral planning can be conducted.

Rate of Autism: 1 in 38?
Submitted May 10, 2011 by Dr. Janet Reed

A recent study conducted by Young Shin Kim and colleagues used a screening instrument to identify children 7 to 12 years of age from mainstream and special education settings in South Korea who may have symptoms of autism.  They identified a higher rate of autism in the regular education classrooms than the special education classrooms, suggesting that the educational systems classify children differently than here in the  U.S.  However, they conclude that this means that there is an under-identification of children with autism.  While this may be the case, it is not the only possible explanation and does not extend to individuals in the U.S. educational system.

In an interview on NPR's On Point show, Dr. Kim, the lead researcher, stated that she felt that if studies in the United States were conducted in special and regular education, the current 1% prevalence rates in each group would add up to the near 2.6% rate found in South Korea. This represents a fatal mathematical error.  

While we all have "traits" of anxiety, inattention, depression, callousness, or other personality characteristics, they do not necessarily add up to a serious mental or neurological disorder. The attention and misinterpretation of such studies by the media leads parents and the general public to believe that most anyone has a serious, disabling, and diagnosable disorder.

If you think your child or teen has an autism spectrum disorder, don't panic.  Find a professional qualified to differentiate between symptoms of autism spectrum disorder and other disorders so that treatment is appropriate and tailored to the patient.

See for a summary

See  for the original study

Autism or Asperger Disorder?
Submitted April 9, 2011 by Dr. Janet Reed

Reed, J.S. - Grosse Pointe News - September 2010

With the increased awareness of autism spectrum disorders and Asperger Disorder, parents, educators and medical professionals are increasingly concerned a child or teen's inability to make and keep friends indicates such a condition.

As a diagnostician working with these children, it is clear many children experience problems with friendships and relating to peers.

Other possible causes?

There are a multitude of possible underlying causes for problems with initiating and maintaining friendships: [...]

See the full article:

Does My Child Have a Learning Disability?
Submitted March 12, 2011 by Dr. Janet Reed

Reed, J.S. - The Family Center - Grosse Pointe - July 2010

What is a learning disability?
A learning disability is defined as a deficit in one or more psychological processes that affects learning.  They occur in approximately 5 - 10% of individuals.  Learning disabilities have been found to exist in individuals with dysfunction in specific brain regions.

What are the types of learning disability?
Learning disabilities can be broken down into language-based and non-language-based (or nonverbal) learning disabilities.  Language-based learning disabilities are the most common, and include deficits in specific aspects of reading (e.g., comprehension, word decoding), spelling, and/or arithmetic.  Nonverbal learning disabilities are less common, but are often accompanied by deficits in sight word reading and arithmetic reasoning.  Other terms used for learning problems are dyslexia (reading disability), dysgraphia (writing disability), dyscalculia (arithmetic disability), and dyspraxia (fine motor deficits). [...]

See the full article:

Learning Disability Warning Sign Checklist:

Great Minds of Michigan
Submitted February 4, 2011 by Dr. Janet Reed

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