Present: Michelle Bahuaud, Chantal Lisowski, Toni Cascegna, Brian Lee, Ron Teffaine, Mike Hogan, Chris Franz, Suzanne Golden, Maggie Wilman, Jonathon Cooper, Jeremy Davidson, Carol Gieni, and Rachel Plett.
This meeting was hosted by Rachel Plett from Garden Valley SD. Thank you very much for your efforts and hospitality.
Michelle Bahuaud - presented on a number of new topics from MECY. For example, she reported about changes to MECY personnel, the complexities of various acts (CFSA > YCJA > PHIA/FIPPA > PSA/EAA), the development of a Learning Disabilities support document, an attendance problem review, remote child & adolescent mental health workshops, core competency workshops, notification that Pierson Inc. is developing the WIAT-III, pupil file guidelines (e.g., don't need parent's consent to send the pupil support file), a new cumulative file folder for Manitoba, and a reminder that the IEP is not a legal document or commitment. She also handed out helpful articles (e.g., interventions for bipolar disorder, sticky notes & highlighters for ADHD students, a brochure for fire setters' treatments) and forms from MATC (e.g., school refusal, class observation checklist, autism checklist, Asperger's checklist, school visit form, etc.). Finally, she reported to the group that the POP program is being re-designed as a mandatory web-based program.
Ron Teffaine & Mike Hogan- presented some books that can help with understanding the DSM-IV-TR and how to use the multi-axial system for making a diagnosis. These include the following: "DSM-IV Diagnosis in the Schools" by Alvin E. House, "DSM-IV Made Easy" by James Morrison, and "Interviewing Children and Adolescents: Skills and Strategies for Effective DSM-IV Diagnosis" by James Morrison & Thomas Anders. Dr. Morrison also has a newer book entitled "Diagnosis Made Easier: Principles and Techniques for Mental Health Clinicians" in which he presents a model for how to systematically think through the process from start to finish. Another method is to consult the DSM-IV-TR decision trees book, which presents a 6-step model for developing a diagnosis. The multi-axial classification system is as follows: Axis I (mental disorders & V-codes), Axis II (mental retardation, borderline intellectual functioning [FSIQ of of 71-84], personality disorders, [personality traits & ego defenses - not coded]), Axis III (medical conditions that may affect or be affected by the mental disorders - indicate the source of this information), Axis IV (relevant psychosocial stresses & environmental problems such as school problems, peer or sibling problems, death, divorce, etc.), and Axis V (Global Assessment of Functioning rating from 0 - 100; the diagnosis of a mental disorder is typically associated with a rating below 70). There was a reminder that "RO" followed by an Axis I disorder means that the clinician still needs to "rule out" the disorder. That is, the decision is not yet final.
Rachel Plett - recommended a PBS video for teaching social skills entitled, "It's So Much Work To Be Your Friend," by Richard Lavoie.
Mike Hogan - presented a POP variation used in Hanover SD. It has a pre-referral form, a follow-up form, and a monitoring form. Ratings from adaptive classroom skills, peer-functioning skills/problems, sense of well-being signs, and teacher attitudes are entered into a psychological database that includes Hanover-specific forms (e.g., transfer, case closure) and reports (e.g., year-end student summary, school summary, school-board summary with pre/post data). It was pointed out that ratings are quick to enter (unlike the previous POP system) because there's no subjective interpretation involved. Mike also told the group about a federal law dealing with international trade secrets that prohibits the use of Level B and C psychological instruments to those individuals who are properly trained (e.g., a Master's degree with specific coursework in testing/assessment, etc.). The MHS publishing company will take legal action against school divisions and individuals who are illegally using these instruments.
Ron Teffaine - presented a model for diagnosing dyslexia based on research from Virginia Berninger at the University of Washington. The model specifies how to use various psychological instruments in the process (e.g., WISC-IV, WIAT-II, GORT-IV, PAL-II, NEPSY-II, etc.). This led to a discussion of who diagnoses learning disabilities. In Winnipeg, psychologists may or may not be involved with this, whereas reading clinicians typically side-step this altogether. In fact, they don't even believe in the notion of "learning disabilities." The group decided that they wanted to examine the area of learning disabilities more closely, so Mike Hogan and Ron Teffaine agreed to present more information about how they diagnose learning disabilities at the next psychologists regional meeting in December.