Welcome Educational Specialist, Jessica DeLing

Monday, August 20, 2012 by Susie Crain



Jessica DeLing, M.A., Educational Specialist joins Child and Family Development on August 20.

Jessica holds a dual master's degree in General and Special Education from Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York.  She holds North Carolina teaching licenses for Special Education and Adapted Curriculum.  For the last 6 years, she has worked in the Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools as both a classroom teacher and an Exceptional Children Teacher.  There, she created parent programs, developed curriculums, and led academic testing and IEP planning.

Jessica has received much additional training during her career, including some Orton-Gillingham protocol, and been honored with several prestigious awards for her work. 

Here, she offers educational assessments and therapy as part of the Psychology-Education team at our Midtown office in Charlotte.      

 Welcome Jessica!



Psychological Services at C&FD

Wednesday, June 13, 2012 by Child and Family Development Psychologists

A psychologist at Child and Family Development can help kids and adolescents live life to the fullest.


Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) We provide comprehensive assessments to determine if a child has an attention disorder.  The evaluation may include a cognitive assessment, standardized behavior rating scales and questionnaires completed by parents and teachers, a computerized test of attention and an assessment of executive functioning skills.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Two psychologists, Carol Capehart and Dr. Chris Vrabel, specialize in these assessments and can diagnose ASD. The evaluation may include a cognitive assessment, standardized behavior rating scales and questionnaires completed by parents and teachers as well as a battery of ASD-specific testing tools.

Social/Emotional/Behavioral Adjustment An evaluation to assess overall emotional/ behavioral adjustment may include standardized behavior rating scales, an in-depth interview with parents to collect relevant history, as well as a comprehensive interview with the child, when appropriate.

Neuropsychology Kids are typically referred for a neuropsychological evaluation if they are experiencing difficulty in learning, attention, behavior, socialization, or emotional control, a disease or developmental problem that affects the brain in some way, a brain injury from an accident, birth trauma or some other physical stress. Testing can help determine the effects of developmental, neurological and medical problems, such as ASD, ADHD, dyslexia, epilepsy or a genetic disorder. Dr. Joy Granetz and Dr. Gretchen Hunter have this expertise.

Early Kindergarten Entry/IQ Testing We offer cognitive and academic readiness assessments required by public schools to enter kindergarten as a 4-year-old. We also provide cognitive evaluations that are a required part of the application process to many private schools in the area.


Individual Counseling We provide individual therapy for a wide range of difficulties, including ASD, attention and executive functioning difficulties, mood issues, emotional regulation, anger management, family problems and overall adjustment issues.

Family Therapy Many times, we recommend that the whole family to be involved in counseling in order to learn different ways of interacting and resolving problems. 

Groups We provide several group therapy options, including Social Skills training for children and adolescents with ASD, ADHD, or other social interaction difficulties. Also, we offer parent support groups.

CogMed Cogmed Working Memory Training is an innovative home-based computer program that helps people with attention problems by training and increasing their working memory capacity. This program is managed by a Certified Practitioner, Dr. Joy Granetz. Proven results demonstrate that after training, people improve their ability to concentrate, control impulsive behavior and better utilize complex reasoning skills.

With diverse expertise, interests and experiences, we are ready to provide a wide range of evaluation and treatment services to the Charlotte community.


Early Admissions and IQ Testing at Child & Family Development

Friday, January 6, 2012 by Child and Family Development Psychologists

At Child and Family Development, our psychologists can accommodate most requests for testing, including Early Admissions and IQ testing for Charlotte students. 

School readiness assessments of children ages 4 to 6 years provide valuable information to teachers and parents on school readiness, learning styles, appropriate learning environments, and developmental strengths and weaknesses. We recommend this service for children prior to beginning a formal kindergarten experience. If you are pursuing testing for either early admission to kindergarten or an application to a private school requiring standardized testing, we can provide you with the information you need. We are able to administer the following standardized tests:

• Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI) which assesses children’s learning ability and how they process information. It is an aptitude test.

• Test of Early Reading Ability (TERA) which assesses basic reading skills. It is an achievement test. Young Children's Achievement Test (YCAT) which assesses early academic and pre-academic skills in general knowledge, reading, math, written expression, and spoken language.

• Woodcock-Johnson which assesses academic and pre-academic skills in reading, math, and written expression. It is an achievement test. Wechsler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT) is an achievement test which also assesses skills in reading, math, and written expression.

The testing is typically completed in one visit to our clinic in a 2 1/2 hour appointment.  During that time, the psychologist will spend some time getting to know the child and making sure he is comfortable with the setting and tasks. The psychologist will administer a cognitive test or intelligence test (IQ) and a brief assessment of academic achievement. Once testing is finished with the child, the psychologist will provide a brief verbal interpretation of results to the parents.

A brief written report will be mailed to the parents within 10 business days of the appointment.  The fee for this service is $450.00 and it is due at the time of service.

Read the Psychology tab on our website, www.childandfamilydevelopment.com, to learn more about the C&FD psychology team and our services.



Various Approaches to Therapy

Thursday, March 31, 2011 by Annada Hypes

My previous blog entries have been about what psychotherapy is like and how to get the most out of it. Now here’s a more specific look at the various approaches to therapy.

Therapy is shown to be effective in helping alleviate distress. In clinical trials, most psychotherapy is superior to no treatment or a placebo. (In this case, a placebo just means contact with an empathetic therapist who does not give an actual treatment). For anxiety and depression, research has found that psychotherapy is as effective as medication, and without the negative effects medication can cause. Sometimes, using medication and therapy together is most helpful. We know therapy can be helpful. So how does it actually work? There are all kinds of approaches to therapy. Three main approaches include humanistic, cognitive/behavioral, and psychodynamic.
  • Psychodynamic therapies. This approach focuses on changing problematic behaviors, feelings, and thoughts by discovering their underlying meanings and motivations.  This approach is often used to address unhealthy family dynamics and relationships with others.
  • Cognitive and/or Behavior therapies. This approach focuses on changing one’s behaviors and thoughts to change one’s mood. This approach is often used to address phobias, anxiety, and depression.
  • Humanistic therapies. This approach focus’s on the therapist’s relationship with the client to help the client recognize his or her innate good nature, capacity to make rational choices, and potential for a fulfilling life. This approach is used to address a number of difficulties.
In addition to these three approaches, many therapists adopt an “eclectic” or “integrated” approach to therapy. That is, they pick and choose or combine approaches to best meet each client’s unique needs. Now that you know about various approaches to therapy, you can collaborate with your current or future therapist about which approach you think may work well for you or your child.

Child and Family Development offers psychological therapy and testing for children and families in Charlotte. Our therapists use a range of approaches, depending on the needs of the client. Presenting problems often include depression, anxiety, AD/HD, family conflict, learning disabilities, and academic concerns.

Portions of this post were adapted from The Encyclopedia of Psychology, edited by A. Kadzin (2000). See more at: http://www.apa.org/topics/therapy/psychotherapy-approaches.aspx

Neuropsychologist joins the C&FD team

Monday, August 23, 2010 by Susie Crain

I am pleased to announce that Joy Granetz, Ph.D. is joining the Child and Family Development team on August 30.


Dr. Granetz received her Ph.D. in Psychology from George Mason University and is a North Carolina licensed psychologist. She has over twelve years of extensive experience in neuropsychological testing with a special focus in working with children and adolescents with learning disorders, attention related problems, and head injury. Dr. Granetz also provides therapy for children and adolescents with emotional and/or behavioral difficulties.

During her training, Dr. Granetz worked at the National Institutes of Health in the Cognitive Neuroscience Section administering neuropsychological tests. During a two year internship, she worked at the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where she performed neuropsychological assessments. In addition, she has published research on the neuropsychological effects of brain injury and learning disorders.

Prior to joining the Child and Family Development team, Dr. Granetz worked in a pediatric group practice in Northern Virginia for ten years. Dr. Granetz will be based at our South Charlotte clinic. 

In addition to our assessment and treatment services, we plan to expand our scope to include neuropsychological testing.




The Value of Comprehensive Evaluations

Wednesday, July 28, 2010 by Martha Knight

As an Educational Specialist at Child and Family Development in Charlotte, I consult with parents about their child’s difficulties in the classroom setting.  However, academic struggles do not always occur in isolation.  In fact, as I review children’s background information, I frequently find that the parents have concerns in other developmental areas.  Some have even pursued answers in the form of previous evaluations, but they still have lingering questions…

At Child and Family Development, we seek to understand the whole child.  As a part of our initial meeting with parents, we gather detailed information about the child’s birth, developmental milestones, medical history, behavioral and emotional functioning, educational background, and previous evaluations/therapies.  This input helps clinicians to determine the next step to take.

When a comprehensive evaluation is recommended, the clinicians spend time reviewing any data from prior evaluations so that we know what measures have been used and what findings were made at the time.  However, our comprehensive evaluations seek to take those results to the next level.  Oftentimes, a struggle in one area may be the cause or effect of a weakness in another area of performance.  While other tests may have examined a specific issue in isolation, we work to fill in the missing pieces so that parents can see the complete picture. 

Based on parent concerns, we establish our initial assessment measures.  These may include IQ tests, academic achievement tests, language processing tests, visual-motor tests, receptive and expressive language tests, ADHD measures, autism spectrum measures, or social-emotional scales.  However, as the clinicians move through the evaluation process, they use their observations and preliminary findings to guide the need for any further assessments.

The interpretive parent conference is an important component of the comprehensive evaluation process.  Our clinicians focus not only on the numbers that make up the results but, even more importantly, the patterns of performance and the ways in which the child's strength and weaknesses play out in daily living.  We also refer to any previous evaluation measures to examine changes over time.  At Child and Family Development, clinicians make recommendations for further services based on our findings.  We can make the determination about whether it is appropriate to pursue therapies, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, psychological services, or educational therapy.  We also enjoy helping parents to take our information and put it into practice by remaining available for assistance as parents work through the next steps.        

College Planning for Students with Learning Disabilities and Attention Disorders

Friday, April 23, 2010 by Martha Knight


The transition from high school to college is a life-changing experience for many students. However, students with learning disabilities and attention disorders may feel particularly uncertain and anxious about taking that next step. The following are two important considerations to guide parents in helping their child prepare for a new phase of life:

·        Advance planning is the key to success. Students who are currently receiving school accommodations and services are required to have an updated psychological-educational evaluation on file. Colleges and universities will also request test results, often completed within the last 3 years, in order to consider accommodations at their level. Because different laws apply to high-school and college-aged students, colleges will not simply accept copies of 504 and IEP documents in rendering a decision. 

·        Self-advocacy is important at the college level. Especially during the elementary and middle-school years, parents attend meetings and make decisions about their child’s learning needs. However, college students are considered adults in the eyes of the law. Colleges and universities expect the student to be able to clearly articulate his/her specific strengths and challenges. They also want to know what supports have been most helpful along the way. In preparation for that responsibility, high-school students should begin to attend the 504 and IEP meetings along with their parents.  They will then feel more comfortable in taking over the reins in college.


If you have other questions or concerns about the college planning process, contact an educator at Child and Family Development in Charlotte. We offer comprehensive educational and psychological assessments, and we enjoy working with students who have learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders, developmental delays, and autism spectrum disorders.

Does the public school recognize dyslexia?

Monday, September 14, 2009 by Mary Froneberger
Parents are often confused about their dyslexic child's eligibility for special education services. In North Carolina and South Carolina, dyslexia is not an area of eligibility for special education services. However, dyslexia is a condition listed in the definition of Specific Learning Disabilities by the Individual with Disabilities Improvement Act, 2004. 

    'Specific learning disability' means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which disorder may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. Such term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. Such term does not include a learning problem that is primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage." United States Code (20 U.S.C. §1401 [30])

Nevertheless, just because a child is diagnosed with dyslexia, does not mean they will automatically receive special education services. The child must still be referred for consideration of eligibility at the school by either the parent or teacher. In many school districts in NC and SC, the Response to Intervention model is used before children are tested for eligibility. Moreover, it is likely that only if the dyslexic child's academic weakness is significantly hindering them at school that they will be found eligible for services. This will be supported by the child's performance in the classroom as well as the results of the child's psychological-educational evaluation.

As an Educational Specialist with Child and Family Development in Charlotte, I evaluate and diagnose children with dyslexia as well as offer treatment and parent consultation services for special education eligibility.

Visit our website to learn more about Education Therapy and our comprehensive evaluation process.

To test or not to test.......

Tuesday, August 25, 2009 by Kristina Murphy

As a child psychologist, I often get questions about "IQ" or intelligence tests.
Current assessment tools that attempt to measure intelligence and other cognitive processes are often referred to as cognitive assessments.  The term "IQ" is a bit outdated and  tends to give the illusion of a number that "tells all", while in actuality a number is just that, a number, and often does little to describe the way someone thinks, learns, or processes.

Someone may benefit from a cognitive or psychological assessment for:
~early entrance into school
~admittance into private school
~admittance into a gifted or talented program
~to investigate a possible learning issue or disability (such as ADHD/ADD, Autism, a Specific Learning Disability, etc.)

Here at Child and Family Development in Charlotte, North Carolina, we conduct psychological assessments (which may include cognitive measures), educational assessments, and a combination of both or psycho-educational assessments.  The type of assessment is based on the individual's need and presenting concerns.  

For more information on myself, Kristina Murphy, Psy.D., other staff, and services at Child and Family Development visit our website at www.childandfamilydevelopment.com.

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