"The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter their lives by altering their attitudes of mind"
GEMA SANTANA, ED.S
LICENSED SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST
Gema Santana is a Licensed School Psychologist in South Florida. She worked in the School System for about 16 years. Her career began in education as a Special Education teacher in 2001. She then completed her Specialist degree in School Psychology in 2007 from F.l.U.
Her love for education and helping all children achieve their potential is her passion. She has dedicated her career to helping children and families understand their children's potential by providing them with specialized testing. Based on the psycho-educational evaluations parents, teachers and administrators work together to come up with the proper accommodations and recommendations for your child to have the opportunity to receive the necessary services to be successful in school. Advocating for your child is the number one priority.
SERVICES I OFFER
We conduct several evaluations to help children and parent understand their child's potential and provide research and evidence-based recommendations for them to be successful in school and in several aspects of their life. These evaluations help you understand your child better and provide the services they need.
ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER EVALUATIONS
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Evaluation
Children who have ADHD often show symptoms while they are very young. Parents may notice their child is more active, talkative, impulsive, or has more trouble listening or following directions than siblings or playmates. It will include information from parents or guardians, childcare providers, teachers, other school personnel, or other mental health clinicians who are involved in the child’s care. A complete evaluation may include:
• Interviewing the parent and child
• Reviewing family medical history, especially if other family members have ADHD
• Parent- and teacher-completed child behavior rating scales
• Parent self-reports of parenting style
• Spending time with the child to observe behavior either at home, school, or in the medical office
• Review of earlier school and medical records
• A medical, physical, or neurodevelopmental screening to rule out any other medical conditions that
might produce ADHD-like symptoms.
SOCIAL/EMOTIONAL DISORDERS AND AUTISM EVALUATIONS
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 36 children in the United States today. While there is not a single behavioral or communication test that can detect Autism, several Autism-specific tools are now being used for formal diagnosis. Some of the signs of Autism at any age can include the following:
Loss of previously acquired speech, babbling or social skills
Avoidance of eye contact
Persistent preference for solitude
Difficulty understanding other people’s feelings
Delayed language development
Persistent repetition of words or phrases (echolalia)
Resistance to minor changes in routine or surroundings
Repetitive behaviors (flapping, rocking, spinning, etc.)
Unusual and intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights and/or colors
The evaluation itself can vary depending on the age of the person being assessed, and the severity of his or her needs. An assessment for Autism typically includes:
A medical history of the mother’s pregnancy
Medical illnesses, including ear infections and seizures
Any family history of developmental disorders
Any family history of genetic and metabolic disorders
An assessment of cognitive functioning
An assessment of language skills
An Autism-specific observational test, interview, or rating scale
GIFTED OR INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES EVALUATIONS
An IQ test is an assessment that measures a range of cognitive abilities and provides a score that is intended to serve as a measure of an individual's intellectual abilities and potential. To understand what these scores really mean, it is essential to look at exactly how these test scores are calculated. Today, many IQ tests are standardized, and scores are derived by comparing individual performance against the norm for people in that age group. IQ tests can be used for a wide range of purposes, including:
COMPREHENSIVE DIAGNOSTIC EVALUATIONS (CDE)
A CDE consists of an assessment based on the child's diagnosis that can provide detail information to parents and professionals about the child's behavior and recommendations. This information helps guide an appropriate intervention plan that can address the areas of weaknesses and strengths. The evaluation consists of a Comprehensive Developmental History, Review of medical and school records and Assessments conducted by a licensed psychologist.
LEARNING DISABILITY EVALUATIONS
A Learning Disability Evaluation consists of an academic test that focuses on the areas of concern, intellectual assessment and any other area of concern including social/emotional development. Moreover, a comprehensive review of academic records and previous tutoring/interventions services and input from teachers and tutors that have worked with your child in an academic environment. This evaluation will provide you with information regarding your child's academic abilities when compared to other children in the same grade in order to determine the proper services required to meet the academic demands.
ACADEMIC TUTORING SERVICES
We offer academic tutoring in the areas of reading and math conducted by experienced certified teachers. Our team of psychologist and teachers provide an individualized and holistic approach in all the sessions that only include up to three children. The tutoring sessions offer an individualized plan and attention that allows students to work at their own pace and focus on their specific needs while also using specialized teaching methods based on the child's strengths and weaknesses.