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Mar 4, 2020

Today we are with Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA discussing the components of psycho-educational evaluations and what role independent evaluators play in the special education realm. Dr. Mayville is not only a licensed clinical psychologist but also a board-certified behavior analyst. He conducts independent diagnostic evaluations and educational placement evaluations for individuals with developmental disabilities. You can find more about Dr. Mayville on his website,

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student, independent evaluator, evaluations, school, kids, psycho educational, academic, standardized tests, evaluator, parents, cases, important, find, disorders, classification, disability, addressed, educational, test, practice

Dana Jonson, Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA


Dana Jonson  00:03

Hello, and welcome to need to know a Dana Jonson. I'm your host, Dana Jonson. And I'm here to give you the information you need to know, to best advocate for your child. I'm a special education attorney in private practice, a former special education teacher and administrator, a current mom to four children with IPS. And I myself have ADHD and dyslexia. So I have approached the world of disability and special education from many angles. And I'll provide straightforward information about your rights and your school's obligations, as well as tips and tricks for working with your school district. My goal is to empower you through your journey. So if there's anything you want to hear or comment on, you can find me and this podcast at special ED dot life. You can also find me on Instagram at special ED dot life. Or you can email me, Dana at special ED dot life. Now the first thing you need to know is that sometimes I have a bit of a potty mouth. So if your environment isn't ready for that, feel free to pop in your earbuds. Okay, let's get started. Okay, so today we are meeting with clinical psychologist Eric Mayville, who is also a BCBA in private practice in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Hello, for joining me. Awesome. Today I want to talk about evaluations, something parents ask about all the time schools do them. You do them lots of people do them. So let's start with you and what kind of evaluations you do and what parents are calling you to do.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  01:37

Sure, sure. Yeah, I as you mentioned, I'm a clinical psychologist, licensed psychologist in states of Connecticut in New York. And I do evaluations of several types, psychological evaluations, psycho educational evaluations, I can also do educational program evaluations. And usually when I get calls, a lot of calls I'll get from parents, they have questions of several types. One type may be that they have a question about the nature of their child's needs. And if the needs are consistent with any particular type of formal diagnosable psychological or psychiatric issue or problem, and so those, those evaluations will focus on the diagnostic end of things. There's also psycho educational evaluations, which may also look into diagnostic issues as well as broader educational needs, and how psychological profiles intersect with educational needs, and how educational needs well, what would be indicated for an educational context given the students needs?


Dana Jonson  02:44

So when you say psycho educational schools say that they do psycho educational right, that's the standard term, at least in Connecticut, we say, you know, for an initial vowel or Reval, we're talking about a psycho educational. So what would be the difference between a psycho educational that you would do? One that the school psychologists would do? Well, there's


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  03:04

there certainly is a lot of overlap. Yeah, yeah.


Dana Jonson  03:07

Because I get that a lot. I guess. We use the same tool. Right, right. You know, but


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  03:12

Right, yeah, no, it's true. I mean, there's there's definitely a lot of overlap. And there may be times when a psycho educational evaluation that I do looks very similar in content. As far as the types of tests and processes that a school psychologist might do there, there certainly can be a lot of similarities. And, again, a lot of similarities in the results as far as testing numbers that come from, from the results of process that I might go through, and one that a school psychologist might do. One of the differences is that is really just the nature of, of what it is that of who I am that I in most cases, I'm an independent evaluator. So I've been asked to provide an independent opinion about a student's needs and how they could and should be addressed.


Dana Jonson  04:01

And an independent evaluator from a legal perspective is somebody who's not on the payroll of the public school, right? So you're not an employee. But from the parents side world, which is where I live. There are some evaluators who might not be on the payroll of the public school, but they do tons of evaluations for the public schools. So that impression from a parent's perspective is are they fully independent? Are they not? When you think of independent aside from what the legal definition is? What do you see that makes you independent? Like, what component of that makes that independent? Right? Well,


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  04:33

the independence comes from the position of really wanting to understand the students needs and what's appropriate for them, irrespective of opinions from others about what that might be. Everybody has opinions, in some cases, very informed opinions, but it's as an independent evaluator, at least as I view it. It's my primary purpose to understand the student and understand the context in which they find And, and understand their needs and make recommendations that are based on what they need as what they need is putting them at the center of the evaluation process, which sounds like that would be obvious if you're evaluating a student, but it's, you know, students are involved in systems and who are behind the systems, they have ideas, again, is they often should


Dana Jonson  05:26

I find, yeah, and I find that with, with, when you have a school team that knows the kids really, really, really well, you get a lot of interpretation before you get data. So it's a lot of like, well, they might not have scored well. But I know why. As opposed to, for me, sometimes I want that person to say, I don't know why, yeah, you know, but I can tell you this is what they're not achieving.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  05:48

Right now. That's a really, that's a really good point that people who are close to kids see them on a regular basis, you may have really good insight, and you have a lot and it's important for someone like me who's independent, who doesn't know the student very well to come in and, and get people's opinions about what they think is going on. But yeah, there certainly is value in having someone who is disconnected from the ongoing contexts and the interpretation of, of certain behaviors and and situations that invariably, people who are close to kids take on. And again, in some cases, that's important to have. But now it's important to have somebody who's is detach from that and be able to offer insight that's well, obviously independent, but but detached from perhaps preconception. And I don't mean,


Dana Jonson  06:38

yeah, yeah, no, no, we mean, that's it, it's impossible, I


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  06:43

think, to, to work with kids as much as educators do and, and, and to have the aggregate information that they have over 1000s of interactions and not have that, you know, come to the fore when they're talking about who the student is. And again, that information is really helpful, but it also made, it also may lead to some assumptions about what's happening or what's needed. And to have somebody else who is acquainted with what's important for students with particular needs to have an independent look, it's can be pretty valuable.


Dana Jonson  07:14

And I find sometimes that even the asset evaluation can help restore a relationship between parents and schools, because regardless of whose, quote unquote, right or wrong, yeah, when you get that outside person to come in and say, This is what I saw, it's a little hard for either side to ignore that information. I always try to say to school, it's like, Look, if you're defending if this, what you're saying is right, this person's only going to support it. Right, you know, and then we can maybe get through the hurdles. And vice versa, to the parents, too. Right. So why don't we talk a little bit about specifically the psychoeducational? Because I think that's the most common Yeah, yeah. So and that's something that, you know, maybe schools use the same tools, I know, you can't do them in a certain, like proximity from each other. Right? So if the schools already done an evaluation and say they've used certain tools, and now the parents want an outside independent evaluation, which they're entitled to ask for, and you come in, how do you then determine what evaluations you're going to do? Like, because you can't do something? Right. Right. Right.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  08:20

Yeah. It's a good question. And good points. Yeah, it's true that you should avoid, generally speaking, should it should avoid repetition of standardized tests at the end briefly, that is about tests that have standardized protocols that result in numbers that when they're calculated against norm information, give you that gives you information about where student stands relative to a group of peers.


Dana Jonson  08:47

And as a practice.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  08:50

There could be Yeah, there could be it's, there's a very rigid, standardized protocols so that you can, you can have an accurate comparison of the results you get from a student who you're testing to the students who were in the sample the normative sample, you can have really much variation in the way that you administer the test in order to have equally comparable numbers in the in the same one in the individual. So yeah, you have to, and yes, as you as you referenced, it can be that if a student is taking a test, on multiple occasions, they can kind of you know, in some cases, they might be able to figure out how they can learn over time how the other tasks go on, you're not really getting your sample, you're not getting a pure sample of what what their skill sets are that the test is designed to measure. So that is something you do need to be careful on, you know, generally speaking 912 month at 12 month intervals. In a lot of cases, there may be exceptions to that based on on student situation like that, that could warrant an interval that's a little shorter than that. But there are other ways around that there are multiple test. So I was gonna


Dana Jonson  10:01

ask because I know I'm seeing a difference. Now in school districts, it used to be that most schools have one set of tests that they use that was hit, and I'm seeing them brought in their resources. Yeah. Which is great. But so do you have access to those might, one of the reasons that I think we also go for out of district or outside evaluations are sometimes the tools you have are different or better? Or, you know, you might be working with a kid and you're able to say, All right, I want to dive deeper into this area. And you have those tools. Do you find that? Yeah, certainly.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  10:32

I, most of the tools that I use, I have found, it's pretty rare that I don't see, you know, an evaluation, at least here or there where there's tools that you know, I haven't, or that they're using tools that that I would use that schools wouldn't be like on we do have a shared as psychologists and school psychologists a shared tool set. But yeah, it's true that the independent evaluators may may have resources to evaluate in particular ways that go beyond what you see typically utilized in a school setting. And that's a that's a possibility. With the vector question about, you know, how to determine the if you're called and do an independent evaluation, how you determine what it is, you're gonna do a lot of it depends on on the specific question that's put to me.


Dana Jonson  11:22

Fine, you're usually asked Are you do you find that they're fairly similar? Yeah.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  11:26

I mean, there's, there's, there's certainly, yeah, there's certainly similarities. In a lot of cases, parents are concerned that about whether or not the student's needs are fully understood, and then if the needs are understood, if they're being addressed in an appropriate manner, and that that really is, and that when I say needs, in, you know, educational needs finding educationally broadly, not at the academic level, which is what I think a lot of people think of when we say, that's a really good point, you say, education, that means, you know, math and reading, writing. And certainly it


Dana Jonson  11:58

also means, you know, daily living skills, if necessary, all of those components is not just academic. Right,


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  12:07

right. So there can be cases where I'm doing, I'm doing a psycho educational evaluation. And I don't give a standardized, I don't give a say like, what is thought of as traditionally as an IQ test? That's really not the center of the question that's put to me. And or it may be the case that the school has recently administered standardized assessments and really has any disagreement as to what those say, you know, so it's okay for me to use those in building the foundation on which I will meet further. The team's understanding hopefully, of, of the students needs, and so I may actually use those numbers. It just it really depends. Yeah, it really depends on the scenario, I may end up doing things like questionnaires and observations and and you know, perhaps more informal methods of assessment that are that are getting at the center of what the question is about,


Dana Jonson  12:55

right. So when you're doing like a records review, I guess that's what it would be right? You're reviewing the records that have already been done, you might decide I don't need to redo these assessments. But I want to dive into these, one of the things that I find that is very different between an outside of town school val is usually when I get the school about the recommendations are to discuss it at the meeting. Right. So we got nothing in writing about recommendations, you know, and then at the meeting, we get to hear about the vowel and then it's sort of like, well, here are the goals and objectives we want to work on. And so maybe some accommodations, but I find the outside evaluations more beneficial because you guys actually make recommendations. And you put them in writing, yes, you're, you're willing to say this is what this child needs to be successful. So, and for me, it's really important that when parents come to me, they're like, Oh, God, this evaluator they'll say anything we want, and I'm like, get them the hell away from your kid. Don't want them anywhere near this case, I want someone who understands the school's obligations and your rights, right? Because if an evaluator, and I've had this happen, where parents like, oh, they really got my kid, they totally understood them. I've never met anyone who really clicked with them. But the recommendations are crap, because they have no idea what the school is obligated to. So where does that fit in for for you? I mean, where does that come from for you? Because I wouldn't fit into that. Yeah.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  14:20

Well, yeah. It's an interesting position that the independent evaluator is in because they, as you referenced, the standard practice is for members of the school team do their evaluations and really don't. There are there are some evaluations, I certainly see them that have recommendations, but it I mean, I think the model was that here's what we found, let's talk about what all this means, integrated within the team members, expertise and findings and then develop the eip. Once they have that information, the independent evaluator is in the position at least supposition I'm in often that I put myself in territory I'll take, I'll take information from a relatively comprehensive process, hopefully distill it into ways that are integrated narrative and in a way that people can understand in terms of what I think the primary issues are. And you know, what it is that will be needed to address the issues and then get into detailed recommendations. And I am essentially saying to the team, you know, here's, here's what you got to do, instead of, sort of usurping the whole process of the team talking about, here's what we think here's what we think. And now let's develop the, you know, the plan. And instead, there's one person saying, actually do it this way and their direction? Yeah, there's a lot of direction. And I think, I think that can certainly be be helpful. And ultimately, that information is taken into the team dialogue. And, you know, it's not as though by any stretch that I come in and say, or any independent evaluator will say, you know, here's, here's what it is that you need to do. And then it happens. It's taken into account, of course, with the, within the context of the team. And we Yeah, but you're right, it's an entirely different process in the report where, where there's one person who's saying, based on what I can see, right, here's, here's what I would do, and you're getting into details about what to do in terms of, you know, could include special education classification, recommendation, which, of course, is going to be a team decision, according to guidelines. But still, yeah,


Dana Jonson  16:30

but you have an opinion, you just did a full evaluation. Question is, if you understand, you know, the IEP process, then you should have an understanding of what the primary disability category should be.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  16:43

There's a lot of overlap between the educational classifications and what are called the medical qualifications, which I'm not a medical doctor, but that's the broad umbrella term that's been applied to a means of licensed psychologist, etc,


Dana Jonson  16:56

I get that to where it's like, you know, well, we don't need to do the medical piece. So we don't need to get a diagnosis. And I, you know, I get a little sick of we don't, it doesn't matter what the primary disability category is, we don't need a diagnosis. Well, and I'd love your take on this. I will say this, you know, if you have a kid with ADHD, and auditory processing disorder, or hearing impairment, those three kids might present the exact same way in the classroom. But if you're treating one, like it's a different one, yeah, you're not gonna get anywhere. So I think sometimes those diagnoses or, you know, those clinical assessments are actually really important. It goes beyond whether it's medical or educational, it's, how are you going to educationally program for a kid? You know, right. Yeah, they


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  17:37

certainly can be they certainly can be valuable on that. Yeah, in that respect, where there's, and I, you know, the, you mentioned, the the opinion that it doesn't really matter what the classification is, we'll do what's right for the student, I can, I can see that in cases, where and I think, in some ways, and I've seen certainly seen this in some in a lot of situations, actually, where I think that is, is good faith by the teams. And they really mean the, you know, let's this might be a difficult can declassify. And so let's not, let's not belabor this too much, because in the end, what's important is that we describe needs specifically and then and then address those. And to


Dana Jonson  18:12

be fair, if I'm there, something's already broken down. To the happy, good, feel good. Don't get right into those lines.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  18:22

That's a good, that's a good point. But no, you're absolutely right. And that you because the independent professional can can offer clarification through diagnostic processes that might go beyond what's addressed in a typical school psychological evaluation that will lead to a more refined understanding needs, and then will subsequently lead to better development of, of what to do for the student. You know, as you mentioned, you get the example of, of ADHD and onshore processing disorder.


Dana Jonson  18:53

Just to be clear in our state, we can only pick one. So in some states, you can pick more than one primary disability category. In our state, we can only pick one. So I know I have that actually just had that yesterday, that PVT where we call them PPTs. And Connecticut VIP meetings, is, you know, the child has a couple of different things that are really impacting, but we have to pick one. And it can be really frustrating to parents, because like, but it's not just ADHD, or it's not just dyslexia, or it's not just speech and language, he's got all these other things going on. So we have to pick one. And sometimes that's where I find someone like you coming in really helps because we need to acknowledge everything. Right? Right. If we're only picking one, right, yeah. And


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  19:34

I feel like it's important if I am opining about what I think it would make sense for the team to adopt as a primary disability all then offer an opinion and say, well, this, this seems to me to be primary, but it's important to have as content in the IEP, these these other areas that are addressed because these are been in there some pretty significant issues that come from these classifications that ought to be addressed in the educational program. So we'll see I've also seen two and I don't know if this is is the way it's supposed to go. But I have seen teams. And I think to the benefit of the student, they have used the term multiple disabilities, the multiple disabilities category is, as I understand it, is it's actually a pretty specific classification that involves medical classifications, physical disabilities, in the interaction of psychological, psycho educational needs. I have seen, I've seen teams use that and flexibly to account for multiple conditions that maybe don't meet that 100% know whether or not they were supposed to do. But I think in the end, I think good about, well, I


Dana Jonson  20:37

think we use I use, I always use our I don't always use it's not always up to me, but I recommend Ojai to other health impaired as sort of like the catch all, for when we have a bunch of things that we can't really tease.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  20:49

Yeah. Right. And there may be things that really, it's not. And I've seen this with kids with, say, with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities. You know, both may be equally as as, as relevant. And it's important to account for that, which that can be a challenge. Do


Dana Jonson  21:11

you find that you I know, you have a lot of background in autism and developmental disorders, and especially as a BCBA, as well. So do you find that that's primarily your area? Or is that just your background? Or do you evaluate everything? Or


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  21:25

I was, I was fortunate? Well, the short answer to that is, which I have to work on, by the way, short answers to what we're getting. At the outset, neurodevelopmental disorders, which are a classification of psychological, psychiatric problems that are, as described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the big the big book that psychologists and psychiatrists and social workers used to diagnose, right, the subset of disorders labeled neurodevelopmental disorders, which are those that emerge during the developmental period are, are those that I practice it and that's my specialty, there are disorders outside of and in particular working with with kids. So once kids get into adulthood, I tend to be less useful. My expertise lies within issues that are relevant to relevant to kids, and you know, older kids is up to 1718. But beyond that is really, it, you know, you certainly can have the kid and well, the educational period extend out right, early 20 surance. And that's something that I may be able to offer some help with, but especially with kids on neurodevelopmental disorders, and they're disorders that also can can co occur in in childhood that aren't necessarily in the neurodevelopmental classification disorders, anxiety disorders, disruptive behavior, disorders, those sorts of things. Those are things that co occur with kids I have expertise in. But yeah, a lot of my background was in developmental disabilities and autism and I trained with someone who had specialty in that I was fortunate to have training that, that offered me a specialization in that area, but also experience in good training and other childhood related issues, and other neurodevelopmental disorders, ADHD, and learning disorders. My dreams were


Dana Jonson  23:23

uvcb first or second, I was at the same time.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  23:27

That's funny, I had, I had training in behavioral psychology and it was okay, at a time when the BCBA was, I think it was at the time I was training was was this was a specialization, really only in the state of Florida, I think. Then in the Yeah, I think in the early 2000s, late 90s 2000s It then became a national certification, which I didn't really have my eye on I was I was involved in behavioral psychology programs. But you were trained by I was trained by behavior analyst, so there was certainly an overlap. In in, in my in my training, and when I became aware of that certification was in a in the fortunate enough position to be able to to get that certification. So it was I'd always planned on practicing behavioral psychology and also a behavior analysis. I had some some training that was very specific to to apply behavior analysis, but hadn't really thought that that would be the the goal was to get the BCBA wants it appear that thought Yes, through this is something I can and should do. And so it sort of happened simultaneously. Actually, I think I was a BCBA before it was a licensed psychologist.


Dana Jonson  24:39

There's all kind of going out Yeah, it was all it was all


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  24:42

wrapped into the same to the same package I was behavioral psychology is a really useful a behavioral position is very useful one in lots of this. Yes. I find and certainly in psychology and yeah, I was fortunate enough to have a that as my as my focus at the outset of my training, even in my my undergraduate training, actually, I was fortunate to be in a, at a school that had a strong behavior analysis and behavioral psychology program. So it's always been, they've really been bang together, inextricable in my in my


Dana Jonson  25:19

Yeah, yeah, I worked in the in the 1990s, I worked at the New England center for children, which was suing the Center for Autism. So we had BCBAs. There, and I think it was Northeastern that had a program at the time, but it was fairly new. Yeah, it was, it was at that time when I started practicing law in Connecticut, as a Special Ed attorney 15 years ago, you know, it was really hard to get a BCBA involved, because there just wasn't a lot of it. You know, so to have that combined, I know that that is something at least what you're sought after, because you have that background. And I think that I hear a lot about well, you know, we don't need a BCBA because they're not a behavior problem. But it doesn't have to do with just fighting other kids. You know,


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  26:04

certainly certainly not, that's a missed assumption about in a lot of cases about what what behavioral psychology and behavior analysis is about. And it certainly can be very useful for, for dealing with problematic behaviors. And there's a lot of literature on that. But there is also a lot of empirical, a lot of empirical studies and peer reviewed published literature on how to address a number of other member other priorities and issues for kids with neurodevelopmental difficulties, social interaction, daily living skills, daily living daily living skills, literature goes goes way back to 1960s. Yeah. And same with it. And to some extent, social skills, the depth of the social skills, literature, among other issues, there are, there's a lot that, you know, it may not address necessarily absolutely everything but there is, you know, one of the one of the nice things about having a behavioral background is that there's a lot of there's a lot of information and empirical information to fall back on end and to know about when it comes time to design interventions that are going to be helpful to kids in all their their various needs. It's it's helpful to have that in beyond being helpful. It's it's kind of critical. It's a lot of do behavior analysis. It's, you know, individuals with disability, a patient acted reauthorizations, there was a priority put on having an evidence base of information. And the empirical evidence isn't the only evidence it's used. But it's certainly it's certainly a good bit of it. It's weighted heavily.


Dana Jonson  27:41

That's what I'm looking for. When I go to somebody like you, that's what I want, right? I don't want the person who has his we're talking about the the influence or the knowledge or the you know, I'm looking for that empirical data. I want to know, there's a reason I one thing that drives me nuts in meetings is when I hear well, the tests, I had to administer it this way, because that's what the rules say. But if I did it differently, they did great. Yeah, but aren't those rules there for a reason?


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  28:09

Yeah, you still have to be careful with that. I mean, there's what's called testing limits that can, that some tests will, we'll talk about the parameters that they can give you some information beyond the numbers, but it's in there, there may be, you know, there may be things that you can do procedurally to, you know, help the student come to a place where they're, they're able to complete the standardized testing items, as the other students in the normative sample did. So there could be kids that have issues with anxiety or, or compliance or, or motivation, that that need to be addressed in order to get them interested and comfortable with the testing in the first place. And the things that you do are external to the standardized process. And it's important to note that when you're reporting what you what you got, and what happened in the process to say, you know, what it is that you needed to do in order to get the money? I


Dana Jonson  29:04

do think that's importantly, sometimes, you know, I'll have an evaluator say, Well, there's a time limit, right? So when I gave the child extra time, they were able to do blah, blah, blah, and that that helps inform it, but the test had a time limit for a reason. That's what we're trying to find out. Yeah, and


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  29:20

that's a good point. And, you know, almost all tests they have, they have constructs, they have purposes for which they were created. And in in a number of cases, time as a part of that flow. For example, certain tests are designed to measure certain things and you need to be careful that in making modifications that you don't alter the purpose of the test that it ends up that it's it's measuring something that it wasn't designed to measure, or you're not measuring what it was designed to measure. We were just talking about the case of time and fluency Yes, fluency certainly couldn't ignore the issue of how quickly somebody did something if you're trying to make sense About a floor there and something. Yeah, speed and accuracy are?


Dana Jonson  30:04

Well, that's an interesting question because I have my own daughter remember? Minute math? Yeah. Math. Always good one and like second or third grade. And she had time and a half. So the way that they were emulating that was, okay, everybody stop except Virginia. Yeah. And then after 30 More seconds, it was like, Okay, now you can stop too. And, you know, I was trying to, at the time talk with the teachers about, like, I understand that concept of fluency. But if she has the information, but can't get it out, in that timeframe, what are we measuring? Yeah, you know, and so I get that within the evaluations that you're doing, because that's part of it. Right? How fast does a brain work? And how quickly can she get that information out? Versus in the classroom with one minute math? What is it that we're trying to? We can't make her go faster?


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  30:55

Right? Yeah, right. Yeah, well, yeah, in that in that scenario, right, and that's something you're gonna be able to influence, at least immediately, there are a number of standardized test items that have timelines assigned to them. And that are important to follow, because every other student in the standardization sample have those limits. So their time is is has been added, as a part of what's being measured is that they can respond within a certain amount of time. But there certainly can be value in saying, Well, you know, when we adhere to these, and we need to adhere to these guidelines, in order to get the standardized number, here's what the number is. But if we go beyond those, those numbers, and it may be that responding to a particular type of visual spatial task, for example, it has a time limit on it, it may be that you know how that translates to certain things, maybe perhaps geometry, it may not be, it may be that a student has skill that takes them longer to demonstrate, that would be that would reflect in a standardized test, and would show that they have maybe, you know, not only a lower score, but perhaps a deficit in that area where, as in, you know, a more real world instructional scenario, it may make sense to acknowledge that and through the testing of the limits, without you know, making modifications and removing the time constraints to recognize that with an additional amount of time, the students skill in performing these particular types of visual spatial tasks, they're actually pretty good at, they just need extra time. And so that's really the issue of of combinations comes in, for the student to be able to demonstrate what they know. Now, if it becomes important that they demonstrate what they know, within certain time parameters, then that's something that has to be built in to the has to be accounted for, if not built into the instructional instructional process to help them to the extent that can be achieved to get them faster and more fluent.


Dana Jonson  32:46

Can you break down? What a sigmoid does? Sure, sure. What's in it, what are we looking for?


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  32:52

Yeah, no problem. They are typically multi dimensional assessments that are comprised of certain amounts of as we've been talking about this for standardized tests that offer that have us a structured protocol, in measurement of different types of functioning areas, cognitive.


Dana Jonson  33:11

So kinda would be the ability like what they're capable of


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  33:14

intellectual, intellectual, current intellectual. So


Dana Jonson  33:16

consider IQ.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  33:19

For it to actually formally in some cases, referred to as an IQ test. There are certain a number of standardized tests, it's typical to see in psycho educational evaluations. Also, you'll see in what comes from those standardized tests or numbers that reference where things position is to usually a same same age comparison group is supposed to be a representative sample of students,


Dana Jonson  33:41

right? So you're not looking for like, and this is why I kind of want you to touch on it is that IQ number, right? Some people are like, what's that number? But that's not it, right? You're not getting one number that's telling you what their cognitive abilities are, right? It's,


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  33:54

oh, no, yeah, there may be some utility and having an overall summary of where the student is, but with a lot of students that I see, they have varied abilities across different areas, summarizing their intellectual functioning, as defined and as measured by a test or two May, with one number, summarizing, summarizing it with one number may be insufficient to really capture what it is that they're learning profiles about. You can have some kids, I see kids with autism spectrum disorder, for example, who might have pretty significant language problems, and that really impacts their verbal comprehension IQ, but in visual spatial and fluid reasoning, functioning, which are traditionally nonverbal measures of of intelligence, they may be in the average ranges. So it's important in that case to say this is you're not going to get an accurate measure through of what a student's intellectual profile is, by one one number that tends to be more relevant. I found in scenarios where there are hard and fast cut points for a certain type of primary disability when you get into the adult world for services through a mental disability service for exam Apple. And that is four criteria for what's now defined as intellectual disability used to be called mental retardation. There are, there are certain cutpoints that agencies funding agencies look for for sure. In the state, I think EDS looks at a number of 69 or below, right, which roughly maps onto historically what a cut point has been. And still is, to a certain extent in the DSM classification of 70, which is


Dana Jonson  35:28

the mark seven these kinds of significant difficulty. Yeah, that's


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  35:31

the it's, you know, two standard deviations below the average score on an IQ tests. As a side note, the DSM has certainly loosened their position on what could constitute an intellectual disability, to include really the defining features in severity of developmental disability being the student's adaptive functioning. So that is, you know, what they the skills that they utilized to get through daily demands, standards of personal responsibility and independence. So


Dana Jonson  35:59

that'd be like daily living skills, kind of skills are included hygiene and


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  36:04

personal living skills,


Dana Jonson  36:06

interpersonal skills, and all of that does fall under Education. Yes, yeah. As you were saying earlier, that is education does


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  36:15

not academics, any academics aren't unimportant, obviously. But you for students with, certainly with the neurodevelopmental difficulties, what's going to be predictive of their success and independence beyond school is not necessarily be academics, you know, for certain for sure, you can have kids with autism spectrum disorder, who are, you know, the quote unquote, high functioning kids who may be capable of doing at least average level, average level academic work may get beyond the compulsory education process and find that they don't have the skills to Yeah, be a taxpayer?


Dana Jonson  36:52

Yeah, no, it's a good point. I mean, I have a child who is productive, contributing member of society. That's, that's what I'm trying to raise. Yeah. Well, I have a child who is I guess, called College able, but not college ready? Right. So technically, you know, she has the cognitive abilities, and the work ethic and all of that, but living independently on a college campus would be a disaster. So, you know, and so that's a whole other component for her that other kids her age don't have to deal with.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  37:28

Right. Right. Yeah, there's, there's a range right for the college age student. There's, there's a range of issues that, you know, to include living off campus and, you know, essentially boils down to


Dana Jonson  37:39

on campus, or off campus. Yeah, on campus.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  37:43

On campus to include living on campus, it boils down to the, to the issue of skills comprising personal independence. And


Dana Jonson  37:56

what do you find that you cover any of those components in a psychoeducational? Like you? Yeah,


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  38:01

yeah, yes, getting back to the issue of what's the educational valuation of these standardized tests, but then you also have measures that they capture these these elements that are going to find the broader aspects of an educational of educational needs. So that includes certainly adaptive functioning, which in addition to daily living skills often includes communication, different aspects of communication, different aspects of social interaction and leisure skills and coping social coping skills. Very, very useful measure the adaptive functioning, gives you a sense of, you know, how ready is the student world to face? How ready is a student to face the world, essentially, the daily demands that come through, so do


Dana Jonson  38:41

you find from a psycho Ed, then you might determine other evaluations are necessary, right? Like you might say, yes, they need a transition evaluation, need an adaptive living skills evaluation? or what have you. So you kind of so the psycho Ed can touch on all those pieces, but maybe not. David, can


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  38:59

you I certainly have recommended transition evaluations for students who are approaching that age. So you know, evaluations that are going to look at the parameters that are particularly keys to moving on to a secondary to secondary level, right? Even additional evaluations that are going to involve standardized testing, neuropsychological evaluations which might get into which, which typically get into really fine grained aspects of thinking skills of thinking and reasoning and different brain functions. So


Dana Jonson  39:30

that's actually a really big question, what would be that difference between the neuropsychological because sometimes, when I'm looking at an outside evaluation for a client, the issues might be resolved by getting a neuropsychological but they also might be resolved just by getting a psycho psycho ed by a clinical psychologist. And so you know, what, for you what would be that tipping point because a lot of times for me, it can go either way. Yeah. Yeah, there's a lot of overlap there. So but for you When would you say, you know, no, this kid might need something different. There's


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  40:03

there's a lot of overlap. neuropsychologist do a lot more direct stuff I found anyway, a lot more direct. And to be fair, I'm not a neuropsychologist representing what it is that they do professional in practice, what I've seen is that there's a lot more dress standardized testing with a student that gets at additional aspects of cognitive functioning, they tend to get into more detailed assessments of attention and memory and meaning and executive functioning. And, and a lot of those aspects can be really useful in in diagnosing things like learning disorders, that that's may or may be relatively subtle and difficult to pinpoint. And we'll go into a lot of times that go into underpinnings of why a particular disability is occurring with respect to certain neurocognitive functions. And so when that level of detail is needed, and in particular, for learning disorders, it's not just learning disorders, but that's one of the examples that comes to me, where I've seen them be really informative beyond what a standard cycle might offer. That's that's something I think that that neuropsychologist can do, but they're they do a lot of things that the psychologist, clinical psychologist, psycho educational divers do. One of the things, I think that that I do, and and there are other evaluators that do this, too, and certainly neuropsychological evaluators, but is getting into the the educational learning context, getting into environment where the student is looking at what the student's learning environment is, like, what they have access to what they don't have access to, and what their where their profile intersects with what's being done, or is not being done for them. And that that is not proprietary to any one particular type of evaluator. And sometimes, you know, the distinction comes down to practical aspects in terms of what certain evaluators do and don't do within the realm of, of, you know, what the different types of processes that could come along with their evaluation. So it may be that there are psycho educational evaluators who just, you know, by way of practice, they just don't get into they don't do school observations. Right. Right. And I


Dana Jonson  42:17

just spoke to someone the other day who won't contract with the school district, even if it's for an independent, they just won't act at all right, as they don't want it to have any appearance, which I understand the concept behind that. But it doesn't help me. Because, like, you can get a little mind. Yeah,


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  42:38

right. I mean, I, you know, that's, you know, perhaps the topic for another discussion in terms of, you know, what constitutes independent and, you know, where the evaluator comes from? Yeah, I mean, I can say that I'm okay with, with my contracts, you know, so long as it is that I'm, and I found that I, over, you know, number of years of practice, I felt like I've been able to, regardless of the funding source has been able to offer things that are that are at the center of the student's needs are about.


Dana Jonson  43:09

And there's one other component to the psycho educational, which would be the achievement component. Right, right. Right.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  43:14

There's yet right, the academics that we talked about, that may or may not be part of a psycho educational evaluation, but certainly makes sense if you would see something about that student's academic achievement and the psychoeducation. Right. And that's,


Dana Jonson  43:28

schools always do that. They always do the cognitive, and then there's an achievement. That's what the school will


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  43:33

typically separate evaluations, their educational evaluation, retails, the academic and then there's a second Yeah, they're not combined. Educational and may or may not.


Dana Jonson  43:42

Teacher does the academic and the school psychologist does psychological, psychological.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  43:46

And sometimes they're, they're different processes there, there may be collaborative processes, or it may be that a psychologist does. The academic part was my training as a psychologist to do academic testing. And that's, you know, not not unusual, I find, but ya know, the academic part understanding where you know, what a student's academic achievement has been to this point. And, you know, looking at that, in addition to cognitive adaptive functioning can lead to some insights about what's happening in that realm of the educational component in the academic component, why might there be a lack of achievement in reading comprehension, for example, right?


Dana Jonson  44:25

I haven't seen sometimes very rarely, but in the opposite direction, where, you know, the kids abilities are down here, but they're achieving very well. And I think that that informs a lot of information too. Because that's telling you something, I don't know if it's about their work ethic, or whatever it is that yeah, you know, if their achievement is low, I mean, their achievement is high, but the cognitive components low it's a different right. I don't see that a lot. But I do see that


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  44:49

yes, yeah, it's really good. Yeah. But I think what's overall what's really important in in a psycho, psycho educational evaluation is to is to take all of the have the results that you get and to think critically about what they look like they mean to have understanding that it, you know, one context for assessing someone's behavior, whether it's your cognitive or academic or adaptive may not tell you everything it is that you need to know about that student's level of function. So there could be, you know, cognitive evaluations that come out in a certain level. And, and but they don't necessarily fit with other information that comes from from the evaluation and or that they came forth from, you know, similar evaluations that were done previously, and just having a critical approach to understanding that, that's, you know, the numbers that you get from standardized tests are not the be all end all of what that person's status is, with respect to a certain construct or idea it's been assessed, you have to take a lot of different admission into consideration and making some judgments about what a student's needs are, for sure. So what would be


Dana Jonson  46:02

red flags? A few said, you know, to a parent who's listening to this and saying, I don't know, if I need to get an outside of our I don't know, if I need to go to school, or I have a school of owl, what do I need to do next? What would be a red flag or or something you would recommend to parents to say, you know, what, you need to look at something outside or you need to look an evaluation, period, you know, maybe you don't have one yet. There would be right, where would you say that's when a parent should start saying, No, I


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  46:27

think in situations where, and I get all kinds of inquiries about what my role in a process might be, I think, when when parents are, are just starting to get an idea that something there may be some challenge at school and maybe, you know, might rise to the level of a formal disability. You know, it makes sense. The first step is if they approach the school staff and say, Hey, I think that there may be some some issues going on that need further assessment and to see if the student might might, my son or daughter might be eligible for services, and not necessarily jumping right to an independent evaluation for that. I mean, you know, certain people have have different levels of comfort and preference. And it may be the the, you know, people want to bypass that process and go right to the independent evaluator. But it might make sense.


Dana Jonson  47:13

Sometimes parents don't even know about that process until they go to the independent evaluator to know, right. And realize, can I get them to pay for it? Like I didn't? Yeah, so sometimes parents just aren't even


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  47:26

aware. Right? Yeah. And so sometimes, what I'm doing is talking to them about the general process and say, Oh, you're just you're waiting now into to the issue of, of, you know, looking at some exceptionality, and perhaps addressing that, and here are the avenues for doing, here's what I do here, here's how the process typically goes. There are other avenues also. And if they don't already know, say about the school process, in a lot of cases, schools will initiate the process, when the problems rise to the level that catches the schools attention, or whatever it is that they're, that's the hope that, that's, that's the hope, but there are certainly cases where they don't either yeah, I've certainly seen kids with say, you know, high functioning autism,


Dana Jonson  48:12

where their strengths kind


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  48:13

of overlooked and can't see my air quotes. Around around high functioning, and the quote being, that the high functioning refers to a certain subset of the students skills at a certain point, and that it typically refers to academic functioning, and they may be high functioning in the sense that they're achieving at levels that are comparable to same age peers, but when it you know, with respect to other aspects of functioning, I'm talking about like adaptive functioning, that really are important in order to, to live independently, and to, you know, achieve a variety of different outcomes to have relationships with people, for example, yeah, that, you know, high functioning is irrelevant. It doesn't matter what your academic achievement is, if you have needs in these other areas, that there tends to be an over reliance, I think, on you know, high functioning, there needs to be some qualification as to what you know, what is high functioning, high functioning me but it may be the case back to the point may be the case that students with with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder may be not on really anyone's radar, they may be due to see a quirky student, someone who's a little bit odd, who students might find a little different, but are learning at a, you know, at a rate that is wholly acceptable from the school's perspective and and from anyone's perspective, and maybe the grades are fine. But you know, it upon closer look, it could be that you know, they're fairly inflexible, do a point that's going to if it's not actively causing problems at the moment, it may cause problems in the future. It could be that there have systems that have been hit in formal systems that have evolved around the student to support it. that needs to be recognized.


Dana Jonson  50:01

I see that a lot, but see the informal supports, right that, you know, or by the nature of the program or something like that. When I'm in a meeting and we're writing an IEP, I always say, we need to, if they moved to Michigan tomorrow, they need to be able to walk in at school, and that school needs to know what this child needs, whether it's part of your program or not. Yeah, yeah. So yeah, I see that a lot. The informal pieces, but they are special education, we're just not identifying it as that. Yeah, can't


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  50:29

be the teachers have have arrived at really creative teachers that have arrived at systems that work for the student for the class, but will likely not continue beyond that. Teacher concepts. Right. Right. And and maybe the students are socially not developing, and maybe that they're, they're doing their own thing at recess there in the corner and doing or, you know, around the perimeter or any other place on the playground as an example. And, and they may be okay with that. And the teacher is okay with that. And the kids are on the you know, the students are okay with that. Everybody's doing their own thing, and they're fine. But you know, that at some


Dana Jonson  51:07

point, they can't interact. If it's right, then we have a problem. Yeah,


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  51:13

yeah, you really, certainly could. So there are situations where I'm asked to do evaluations where it may not be on really on anyone's radar yet. The school may not have brought the issue up is, you know, a student qualifying for evaluation, they typically do someone there are more egregious situations where, you know, she's


Dana Jonson  51:35

more visible. I'm using air quotes here.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  51:39

behavioral difficulties, you know, obvious significant academic difficulties, things that require that are requiring additional resources. Yeah, that's that, in what, from what I've seen,


Dana Jonson  51:50

the most challenging cases that I have are the ones where, you know, you can't quote unquote, see it, you know, and yeah, and behaving really well. Maybe the grades are okay. But underneath it all, we've got an issue that isn't addressed now. Yeah. Later, we're not going to be able to get there.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  52:05

And it could be a significant issue at the time. And that is that is not, it's just not registering on the typical radar. Yeah, I, you know, I get, you know, in terms of the inquiries and the different types of services that can be available, I will certainly if parents have a disagreement with an evaluation that's been done and or disagree or disagreement with programming that has come from an evaluation. That is, I think, actually the very definition of the context in which an independent evaluator and IE independent educational evaluation comes into play when there's a disagreement with something.


Dana Jonson  52:39

And that's usually when I come in if you're in there. There's another route. A lot of people will start with it or an independent or or with a school that Yeah,


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  52:49

yeah, yeah. Yeah. So that's, you know, certainly a lot of calls that I'm getting in different districts or from parents is that there is the need for somebody independent to come in and do the audition for whatever reason that's been going on with the team and the student. And that's, that's typically my point of entry. Not always, but But yeah, pretty typically. Great. Yeah. So if


Dana Jonson  53:10

somebody needs to find you, where would they find you?


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  53:12

They would find me on the web. At Eric. Er ik Darshan, Mayville ma y vi, Ll I think it is pretty easily searchable on search engines, and my practices in downtown Fairfield. And you also work in New York as well. Sometimes you work in here some Yeah, yeah. I'm licensed. Yes. Yeah. Westchester County. Right. More than work tends to be closer to me. Well, great. Well, thank


Dana Jonson  53:38

you so much. This is really helpful.


Erik Mayville, PhD, BCBA  53:41

I very much enjoyed it. Excellent. I'm


Dana Jonson  53:42

sure we'll have you back again at some point. Thank you so much for joining me today. Please don't forget to subscribe to this podcast so that you get notifications whenever new episodes are available. You can also find this podcast on his website at special ED dot life. You can follow me on Instagram at special ED dot life. Or you can email me at Dana at special ED dot life. I want to know what you want to know. So please reach out with your comments and questions. And I'll see you next time here on need to know with Dana Jonson Have a great day