NASP 2018 Review: Resources to Ponder

The following is an excerpt article from the 2019 PsynPost

by Keith Moen, MASP Website Committee Chair

As a volunteer board member, I was chosen to attend the 2018 National Association of School Psychologists convention last February in Chicago. One of the tasks associated with being sponsored by MASP to attend NASP is to bring back information on potential professional development presenters and share new tools and resources with members. I had the great fortune to attend scores of workshops over the four days. One other infamous feature of the annual NASP convention is the Exhibit Hall, which is an acre filled with hundreds of displays from possibly the best and the worst element of school psychology- the test developers. You can be overwhelmed by the quantity of developers, the size and glam of the biggest corps in psychology, and all the freebies and the spiels.

This year I took it upon myself to avoid the Goliaths and seek out a few Davids- the little companies and upcoming developers of products intended to improve school psychology assessment and interventions. My hope was that I would discover a service or tool, that MASP could offer our school psychologists as part of their membership (perhaps which an interested member could bring forward at the April 23, 2019 AGM). Here is a sample of some of the more interesting products and services I found (with costs likely in USD):

  • InSight: Student Performance System is a web-based system that aims to integrate various forms of data to analyze performance, monitor growth, and visually depict student impact of programs, student performance, and response to interventions. Costs are $3 per student.
  • Devereux Student Strengths Assessment (DESSA) is described as a standardized, strength-based measure of the social and emotional competencies of children from Kindergarten through Grade 12. Webinars are available online, as well as tools and sample strategies for intervention in the domains of self-awareness, self-management, optimistic thinking, personal responsibility, social awareness, relationship skills, goal-directed behavior, and decision-making. Prices start at $1500 per site. If members were interested, MASP could inquire if the developers would consider setting up as a single license that members could access.
  • DIBELS Data System through the Centre on Teaching and Learning is a literacy and math intervention in English and Spanish. This includes benchmark screening, assessment, and intervention, with progress monitoring. Ranging from $2-4 per student depending on type of intervention required.
  • Kelso’s Choice purports to teach conflict management skills for children pre-K through Grade 5. You can get “Stop Tattling Starter Kit” resources for free if you sign up for emails. The website offers 98 different programs, lessons, and resources from $15 to $1000. Should MASP consider purchasing a full kit with digital access for MASP members to sign out and use?
  • Behavior Intervention Monitoring Assessment System: BIMAS-2 is purported to be a measure of social, emotional and behavioural functioning in children and adolescents ages 5 to 18 years of age. BIMAS can be used as a screening tool for behavior concerns, and offers a mechanism to build behaviour support plans and monitor the effectiveness of interventions. Site license is $100 with a minimum of 25 students, at $4 each.
  • Mystery Academy is described as a detective-adventure game full of social puzzles, colourful and deep characters, and entertaining interactions. Started by a person trained in school psychology, the demo is available online for free, while the game is still under development.
  • NIH Toolbox is described as a set of brief and royalty free measures used to assess neurological and behavioural functioning (e.g. cognitive, sensory, motor, and emotional functioning). It is available in English and Spanish, uses American norms, and for ages 3 to 85. The cost is $500 a year for a school system, with unlimited assessments, scoring and reporting. This two-hour assessment might be worth exploring. Perhaps with advocacy, they would consider MASP as a system.
  • National Center on Improving Literacy is described as a source for improving outcomes for students with literacy-related disabilities, including dyslexia. There is a section called “Kid Zone” in which has downloadable comics that depict a student with dyslexia, reading games, videos, and story books with narration in English, French, and 17 other languages.
  • Moment is an augmented reality app for iPad's that uses the Merge cube. This app is aimed at students with ASD to develop their abstract language, emotions, and social pragmatics. You hold the cube in front of the iPad camera, and characters depicting emotions and social scenarios are created graphically on the cube. You then move the cube and “interact” with the characters. Currently the app is free, but you will have to buy the Merge cube ($25 on Amazon). It seems hokey, but I wonder if some students who struggle to engage in direct communication, social stories, or art-based expression, may get interested in this computer-augmented method.

That is just a handful of the hundreds of products I found in the massive Exhibit Hall at NASP this February 2018. If as a member you would like to see MASP provide any of the above-mentioned tools on our website, then either come by a council meeting to suggest it, or give me a shout, and I’ll forward your wishes to the board. Just another perk of being a MASP member!

Although approved by the board for posting, the opinions expressed in Member Publications are those of the author(s). They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of MASP Board or its members.

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