Evaluation & Resources
ACCESS has the tools you need to put your child on the path to success.
Parents who are concerned about their child’s academic performance may be referred to the ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center for reasons that may include, but not limited to suspected dyslexia, reading disorders, spelling difficulties, inability to decode (sound out words), handwriting difficulties, language delays, visual motor/processing delays, and clumsiness.
We offer parents and educators an on-staff psychological examiner and neuropsychogist for expert developmental, psychological, psycho-educational evaluations (cognitive testing), and neuropsychological.
Kimberly Newton, MS, LPE-I, Psychological Examiner
Kim has been working with children and families for just over 20 years. She performs comprehensive psychological and psycho-educational evaluations at the ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center (AERC) for children, teenagers and young adults diagnosing disabilities such as attention deficit disorder(ADHD), specific learning disorders (dyslexia, mathematic disorder, disorder of written expression) and autism spectrum disorders. She also provides cognitive testing and comprehensive developmental evaluations for children birth to 6 years old to determine eligibility for CHMS/DDTCS programs. Kim is also the President of the Learning Disabilities Association of Arkansas and serves on various committees of the Learning Disabilities Association of America.
Kelly Pizzitola, Ph.D. Neuropsychologist
Kelly has 15 years of experience working with children and youth of all ages specializing in psychological and neuropsychological assessment, diagnosis, intervention, and consultation. She performs comprehensive evaluations at the AERC and has experience diagnosing disabilities including Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Specific Learning Disorders, Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and a range of Neurocognitive Disorders. She also provides cognitive testing and developmental evaluations. Kelly’s passion is assisting children and families in getting the most appropriate services and interventions needed to be happy and successful.
The ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center provides students an educational edge through comprehensive evaluations and a progressive educational resource lab. We also provide the next vital step in helping your child succeed through the utilization of our state-of-the-art technology lab and a variety of academic treatment approaches. An array of services, customized for each child, provides students with specialized instruction (academic therapy) to develop skills and solutions to bridge academic gaps in reading, writing, spelling and comprehension.
Comprehensive Rule-Outs and Diagnoses
Evaluations can include rule-outs and diagnoses for autism, Asperger’s, PDD-NOS, ADHD, ADD, anxiety, depression, and a variety of other mental health issues with thorough educational testing highlighting learning styles, weaknesses and/or disabilities.
To get a full picture of an individual, it is important that an evaluation encompasses observation from multiple aspects. Along with an ACCESS psychologist or psychological examiner, speech, physical and occupational therapists are a part of the evaluation team, as needed. The development of an education and/or therapy plan often involves meeting with teachers, providing outpatient therapy (speech, occupational or physical) or academic therapy (tutoring services), training with professionals, and recommendations for equipment, educational technology, Cogmed Working Memory Training™ or classroom modifications.
Behavioral Health and Mental Counseling
Many times, children or adolescents struggle with mental health and behavioral issues for a variety of reasons, from coping with a disability, traumatizing events, school-related anxiety, and more. At ACCESS, we help children and adolescents, along with their family members, identify these behavioral health issues and resolve them through appropriate methods of behavioral health counseling.
With the addition of licensed behavioral health therapists through the ACCESS Evaluation and Resource Center on our Academy and Young Adult campus, ACCESS is now able to provide the following evidence-based behavioral therapy models for children and adolescents:
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT)
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT) is an evidence-based treatment for children and adolescents impacted by trauma and their parents or caregivers. Research shows that TF-CBT successfully resolves a broad array of emotional and behavioral difficulties associated with single, multiple and complex trauma experiences. TF-CBT also effectively addresses many other trauma impacts, including affective (e.g., depressive, anxiety), cognitive and behavioral problems, as well as improving the participating parent’s or caregiver’s personal distress about the child’s traumatic experience, effective parenting skills, and supportive interactions with the child.
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
When a painful or upsetting experience happens, the memory of the experience sometimes stays “stuck” in the body and mind. Over time, the occurrence may manifest anew in disturbing and invasive ways. EMDR is effective and well supported by research evidence for treating children with symptoms accompanying post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), attachment issues, dissociation, and self-regulation. It has also been effective in treating symptoms related to guilt, anger, depression, and anxiety and can be used to boost emotional resources such as confidence and self-esteem. Children can experience PTSD symptoms as a result of bullying, abuse, or invasive medical procedures. Since our emotional states are a result of how we perceive the world, a child may have stress related to a memory that, to anyone else, would not seem to be a “big deal.”
Play therapy is a psychotherapeutic approach primarily used to help children ages 3 to 12 explore their lives and freely express repressed thoughts and emotions through play. Therapeutic play normally takes place in a safe, comfortable playroom, where very few rules or limits are imposed on the child, encouraging free expression and allowing the therapist to observe the child’s choices, decisions, and play style. It is appropriate for children undergoing or witnessing stressful events in their lives, such as a serious illness or hospitalization, domestic violence, abuse, trauma, a family crisis, or an upsetting change in their environment. Play therapy can help children with academic and social problems, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, anxiety, depression, grief, or anger, as well as those with attention deficit disorders or who are on the autism spectrum. Play therapy may also be used to promote cognitive development and provide insight about, and resolution of, inner conflicts or dysfunctional thinking in the child.
Sand Tray Therapy
People think not only in words, but also in images.Through the use of the sand tray, emotional struggles which previously were not conscious or could not be talked about are brought into awareness so that they can be understood and resolved. The use of sand tray therapy is very effective with children who are not yet mature enough to express complex thoughts and feelings.
Erin Weber, LCSW Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Erin is a licensed, certified social worker with more than fifteen years of clinical experience. She enjoys working with children, adolescents and young adults to help them improve their communication skills and learn to express their thoughts and feelings in healthy ways. Individual therapy services are available with areas of focus to include trauma, anxiety, stress, parent-child relational problems and depression. Erin believes that positive change can occur when individuals are given the guidance they need to draw on their own strengths and realize their potential to live fulfilling, happy lives.
Academic Therapy – A results-oriented outpatient program for central Arkansas students K-12 who struggle with reading, reading comprehension and written expression.
ACCESS® Academic Therapists provide an individualized approach specific to each student’s learning needs.
Chelsea Bradford, BSE, ECSE
Chelsea Joined ACCESS in July 2015. Prior to her work as an academic therapist, she worked as a preschool teacher at ACCESS beginning May 2012. As an academic therapist, Chelsea travels to surrounding Little Rock private schools providing specialized tutoring services, as well as students here at ACCESS. She works to develop an individualized plan to remediate reading comprehension, reading fluency, written expression, and executive functioning deficits.
Chelsea graduated from the University of Central Arkansas with a degree in Early Childhood and Special Education. She works to help those with dyslexia, dysgraphia, specific learning disabilities, and executive function disorders. Chelsea is certified in The DuBard Association Method® and IMSE’s Orton-Gillingham multisensory reading approach.