Rebecca Resnik, PsyD  
Bethesda, MD

Specialties: ADHD, dyslexia, developmental delays

Interests: Developmental Disabilities
Rebecca Resnik & Associates PC
Bethesda Office
Bethesda, MD
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When should my child have a psychological assessment?

Jun 17, 2008 - 14 comments

Psycholgical Testing




Learning Disabilities

When should my child be tested?

Parents often ask us when is the right time for a child to receive testing or therapy services. They may have heard people tell them to wait until third grade, or until a child is 7, or even “Don’t worry, he’ll grow out of it.” There is no magic age for testing and therapy, and if your instinct as a parent is telling you that something is not right, its time to act. Time is one of our most valuable assets in helping children. Most problems that took a while to develop take a while to improve, and when better to make changes than at a time in life when the brain is most adaptable? Early intervention is vital if you have concerns about a very young child (under 5) or if things have been getting steadily worse and worse for your child over time.

For children with ADHD and learning disabilities (as many as half of all children with ADHD also have learning disabilities), testing is critical as soon as problems are noted at school and home. Children with average intelligence can usually cope with the demands of the first grade curriculum, at least for the first part of the year. First grade is a time when the basic skills are introduced. Each task is short, involving only a few steps to complete. First grade work is highly structured, and most things the child reads will have helpful pictures. Homework can usually be completed in a half-hour. If your child is having learning problems in kindergarten or first grade, this can mean that the problems are particularly important to address. If the first year of school is unsuccessful, children may become convinced that they will never be able to do well. Feelings of frustration can lead to school avoidance or disruptive behaviors. As a former special education teacher, I have observed that some children quickly get a reputation among teachers for being 'trouble.' Once it sticks, the label is one that follows the child from year to year. It is much harder to develop a working partnership with school staff when everyone in the school has decided that your child is a 'problem.'

Many of the children I see come during the third grade. The reason for this is simple if you are aware of the scope and sequence of the elementary school curriculum. Third grade is when academic tasks require sustained attention to detail. Almost everything takes more time to complete and involves more steps. Instead of taking five seconds to complete a math problem, it can now take a few minutes to complete each problem (e.g. borrowing and carrying operations). Instead of writing a single word or sentence, the child must do a book report. Children with reading comprehension problems have an exceedingly difficult time understanding chapter books and text books. The helpful pictures they depended on are gone. Projects can take a week or more of planning, which is the downfall of a child with executive functioning impairment. These changes in the curriculum can cause child's academic progress to stall. Children who can not sustain attention or understand most of what they read fall behind their classmates very quickly. This can be a disheartening event for the child. Some develop anxious fears that they are not smart enough to learn. Many cope by convincing themselves that they don't care anyway, that school is stupid or that all teachers are against them. This state of affairs should be a thing of the past now that we have so many treatments and educational interventions, yet I still see children who have gone for years without receiving the help they need.

When deciding whether or not to test, it is important to understand that troubling symptoms can happen for a lot of different reasons. Symptoms like irritability can indicate conditions such as ADHD, depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, sensory integration disorder, or even a medical problem like a sleep or elimination disorder. Children are complex beings who, unfortunately, do not often know how to tell us what is wrong. When we ask a child questions like "Why aren't you doing your work?" or "Why can't you sit still?" we get answers like "I don't know." Testing can give us the answers the children can not. I have yet to meet a child who is unsuccessful because he chooses to be. I believe that all children want very badly to make their parents and teachers proud. Research has shown that when children can not meet adult expectations at school and home, they are at-risk for secondary mental health problems like depression or anxiety. Children with undiagnosed disabilities often feel terrible. When kids feel terrible they may become disruptive, avoidant, or even aggressive. It makes sense if you think about it from the child's perspective, who can be happy spending six hours a day feeling like a failure or getting punished? As adults, we would quit a job like that, but kids don't have that option. Children are stuck with school, whether it goes well or not. Children who feel chronically frustrated, irritated, stupid or disliked need help before they become so discouraged that they give up school, or worse, on themselves.

Rebecca Resnik, PsyD, Licensed Clinical Psychologist and Former Special Education Teacher

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by MJ7, Aug 21, 2008
Rebecca, I am currently located in Montgomery, Al.  I have a ten year old who hs been tested and has been placed on several medications.  It breaks my heart to almost see my child look like he's in a state of depression or medicated.  He exhibits evrrything that you stated above.  I need your assistance.  His school doesn't seem to care or provide the at school intervention.  I can't afford to send him to a private school.  I have asked the school to prepare an IEP for two years and they act like my question has fallen on deaf ears.  I believe he feels frustrated, irritated, stupid and disliked by most of his peers, therefore causing msplaced behavior problems.  What can I do?  What is the best course for my child.  I don't want him growing up feeling worthless.  I sometimes have the erry feeling that he may commit suicide.  Are their any ADHD advocates in my area that accompanies one to public schools?  I pray for patience and for my child.


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by trixie71, Nov 03, 2009
MJ7 - how old is your son? How long has this been happening. My son also acts similar - feels worthless - and exactly what you said "I  believe he feels frustrated, irritated, stupid and disliked by most of his peers, therefore causing msplaced behavior problems" I completely feel the same way.
My son was diagnosed having a LD with possible ADHD but they indicated to concentrate on the LD first. Th school is impossible and like you, I can't afford a private school.
You are not alone!

Avatar universal
by Jtoz54, Jul 13, 2011
There is a food allergy called Salicylate Intolerance.  It is an allergy to aspirin and all foods containing salicylates.  Most kids who are ADHD are Salicylate Intolerant and 80% of Autistic kids are too.
     Aspirin is a salicylate. It comes from the bark of the willow tree. All plants produce salicylates as natural insecticides. That means it is in all fruit (except bananas, peeled pears and papaya ) It is in most vegetables (except lettuce, celery, cabbage, brussel sprouts, peas and green beans)       It is extremely high in tomato sauce, ketchup, broccoli, cucumbers, corn syrup and olive oil. It is in coffee, tea, artificial sweeteners, mints, wine and beer. It is very high in all artificial colors like yellow dye #5.     Most ADHD kids are Salicylate Intolerant and should be taken off the offending foods,  not put on dangerous drugs.  You should look up the Feingold Association who deal with curing ADHD with diet and not drugs. Also find more information on www.sickfromsalicylates.com              Good Luck, Joan

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by Loran, Jul 13, 2011
MJ7, Hi!  We just moved from Montgomery to Huntsville.  My son went to MA for K, and then to Forest Ave for 1st grade.  What school is your son attending?  I KNOW how the school system is down there.  If you live in a crappy school zone, you're beating your head up against the wall to get help.

If the school still refuses to set a definite date for the IEP, go to the school board, or your councilman.  They HAVE to have an IEP within a certain time period.  It's required.  Put your request in writing and mail it certified where they have to sign for it and you have proof of sending the request.  
If you've been dealing with the guidance counselor or his teacher, go to the principal.  During summer is a great time to have an IEP because they are less busy and will have time to work with you.

Have you tried applying to the magnet schools?  Perhaps he will do better there.  Apply as quick as you can because the slots are being filled or have already been filled for the coming school year.  Apply next year if you can.  Applications are available online or at the schools.  Forest Avenue is a great elementary.  I'm so frustrated that we moved to H'ville and he is going to an ordinary elementary.  

Good luck!

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by anni626, Aug 14, 2011
i have a problem i don't know how to go about it now
my husband doesn't want to go for a counselor for our kid who is 6 years
he is very  aggressive  n he is been like that for years since he was 3 years
i thought  things will improve by regularly telling him what is right for him. n one day he will relies what is right n wrong for him. but
as age is growing things r going worse  he gets upset with most manure things happening with him in day to day life. which other kids might just ignore. i tried my best but cant help.  as  i was convinced that  he does that all coz he dose nt know the consequences  but that's not same now
he told me he does all that on porpouse  plzzzz help some one. i  want to make him  loving n happy n responsible kid.

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by groatwoman, Aug 24, 2011
My daughter is four years old, has learned one life for 3 years of her life just to loose it (due to a relationship gone bad), gained a new and wonderful life but all new people. She was at home with me up until about 6 months ago when I started working and now she has started at a home daycare with her two year old sister. I was a victim of child molestation, so I have always made sure she knows no one touches her there and if anyone does she is to say no and tell anyone around her.
Well, one morning about two weeks ago she informed my boyfriend and long time friend that a 9 year old boy touched her she she at daycare. My boyfriend got me imedietly and had her repeat herself to me. She told me all about the event, every detail. I had no idea what to do. I didn't know if she was just making something up to get him in trouble. She tends to live in this fantasy world. She just makes up elaborate stories and they can be complete lies. It is awful. But I didn't want to accuse her of lying because I want her to know I'm here for her no matter what. so I talked to the daycare lady, who talked to the kids and the little boy admitted to touching her while they were playing a game. So they were talked to and understood it is not good.
Gabby has been acting out very badly. She gets into everything, years it apart, breaks it. Whatever you can think of. You constantly have to have an eye on her or she will get bored and do something she knows not to do. She is ride, disrespectful, thinks she is the boss of adults. It is horrible and embarrassing at times, because I know she knows better. She can be perfect when she wants to be. Down to the T.
Today I picked her up from daycare and I got a horrible report. Gabby was in the bathroom going potty and left the door open. She was asked why and to close it and my daughter said that the same little boy told her to leave it open when she went potty so he could see her she she. And she insists she is telling the truth. My mother and her daycare provider are suggesting its time for counciling. I hate the thought of it coming down with me having to do that. To me she is so perfect. I don't know what go do or how, now to take care of this new problem of her falsely accusing people of doing very bad things to her that could really get people in trouble when they didn't do anything. But at the same time, if something is happening to my daughter, I need to be behind her. Either way, I'm stuck and horrified. Please help :/ Share this:Facebook
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by RockRose , Aug 23, 2011 12:46AM
This is a VERY odd story.  

The way this is written is very,  very unusual.    It's all very odd, but the high point is when you call a 9 year old molesting a 4 year old a "little boy".

If this story is true,  you are reporting it in the most unusual way I've seen.

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by groatwoman, 19 hours ago
I'm not understanding?? is a 9 year old not still a little kid? Like I said, I'm at a complete loss. .
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by RockRose , 10 hours ago
groat,  it might be helpful for you to completely reread your post as if you are a stranger to the situation,  and see what it sounds like.

She said the boy touched her,  and then asked to see her use the bathroom.  He has admitted the first incident,  and the second sounds totally believable to me - there isn't anything in your post to indicate she's not telling the 100% truth.  Why are you accusing her of making up wild accusations and suggesting she needs counseling,  when at least the first incident happened,  and the second probably as well.

The way you describe her as manipulative,  and lying,  and then go on to say to you she is perfect,  it's kind of all over the map.

Has anyone suggested at LEAST "counseling" for the 9 year old who for some reason keeps getting access to her? .
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SpamAbuseby groatwoman, 14 minutes ago
To: RockRoseThe problem is my daughter is very manipulative and lies all the time just for the simple fact that she does want them in trouble. She has admitted to lying the second time. She simply learned something like that would get him in big trouble and tried it again. and I believe you were right. This wasnt too clear. My daughter has a history of being sexual... she has humped herself to sleep since she was a baby. I never paid any attention to it thinking she would grow out of it but it has turned into her having her two yr old sister touch her to her playing games with boys and trying to have them do it. and this little boy (who has never had a problem with this before) just happened to play along with her game. Im not saying it was right, Im defistated by the whole thing. but it was taken care of. You just have to know my daughter... She is not the average four yr old. My mother says she is hyperactive and has behavioral issues. and the daycare says they have never had a four year old with such problems. and of course Im going to say my little girl is perfect. She was my first baby, she is my princess, and I know she knows how to behave. She chooses not to. Now Im just trying to figure out what kind of help she needs and why she acts out in such big ways.

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by freespirit_11, Sep 10, 2011
I also have a 4 year old little girl. She has been raised with my boyfriend and I having access with her biological father every other weekend. When she was about 2 she started to act out sexually. Trying to lay across mens laps, touching herself a lot, humping her favorite stuffed bear, kissing me as my boyfriend would. At first I excused it as normal, but then the signs became more apparent that something had happened to her. She started to become more aggressive and angry towards herself and others. The behavior seemed to be more prominent after her weekend access with her father. One morning last year she started humping my leg in bed. When I became upset and asked her where she learned this and why she was doing it she said that "a little boy from her dads who is 7" did this to her while they played doctor. I became very upset and reported these accusations to the children services in our city. After a investigation, they closed the file telling us that because he is under 12 and he didn't penetrate her there is nothing they could do. Now with that being said all children are capable of lying however when a young child makes these types of accusations, we must take them seriously, they can lie but the are not capable of lying about things they shouldn't know about. Studies now show children can lie as young as 12 months old. I am still trying to get my daughter the appropriate help as I do not want to keep bringing these awful issues up. There is help out there and my advice to you is to seek it now, and redirect her behavior in appropriate ways. It is so sad that our young vulnerable children are not safe even at school, day cares and families houses. I wish you all the best, and hope everything sorts out for your little girl. Oh also I purchased a book at chapters titled "My body belongs to me" it is wonderful, maybe your little one would benifit from it or another one. There are many to choose from.

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by sim470, Sep 26, 2011
Hi i hope sum1 can help. my partner has a son from previous and we last saw him at 4 years of age and now he wanted to start coming down again and now hes 9. 1 minuit hes loving and caring then hel just flick and his eyes darken he smashes the house up, says we dont love him he wants to kill everyone, tried strangling his older sister, punches kicks headbutts he tells everyone to get out before he hurts them, threw a hammer at his grandfather, then hel look at u as if ur not there and about 3 hours later when he calms down he says a man told him to do it the thing is we now have a 5year old son aswell who sees this and im scared incase he turns on him aswell. he goes really strong as if he doesnt know his own strenghth. WORRIED

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by mommylove1427, Oct 15, 2011
I have a daughter and she is going to be 4 years old in 2 months and for about a year now she has been touching herself and humping her hands and it's where every she wants to do it. It can be in her room on the bed or on the couch with me and her father in the room or at her grandma's house with all kinds of relatives in the house. She does it over a long period of time to the point she is dripping sweat. I read that it is normal and not to make a big issue out of it cause you don't won't your children to be ashamed of there body parts but sometimes i just want to tell her enough is enough and there is appropriate time and place for this but at the same time she really does not understand, all she knows is that it feels good to her. Lately it has been getting worse she try's to make out with me and her father and we tell her "NO" that's is really bad you do not do that and she puts her head down and smile with embarrassment and then she walks away. I feel bad but I don't want her to think it's okay cause it's not. Then the last thing she did was try to hump my back side.... WORRIED.... Cause my thing is where is she learning these things. Me and her father talk to her all the time telling her what's right and wrong. i was molested at 5 when I was a young girl and I don't want to jump to conclusions or accuse anyone but sometimes it makes us wonder... And now we don't let her go anywhere with out us present now due to all that has been going on ... We want to be safe rather than be sorry... We are WORRIED and want to know if this is normal behaver or if something else is going on ??? HELP.... We are going to ask her doctor we have an appointment coming up but it's still scarey...    

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by Monica1470, Oct 18, 2011
I have a 10 year old son.He is intelligent but does not follow rules.He knows the answers but he does not write in the exams, he understands what is wrong & what is write but is unable to do the right thing . How do I help him.

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by lululuv995, Nov 15, 2011
I would keep your daughter AWAY from all accused people until it can be clearly established what is going on here.
I would say she is being abused/manipulated by someone, she is 4....this is LEARNED behaviour, my 3 year old wouldnt know to say/do these things as he has never experienced them! Please believe her, please get her help, this is extremely serious! Acting out sexually is copied, ie, learned behaviour.

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by jose1995, Jun 03, 2013
My name is Jose, granddaughter has ADHD, my son and daughter-in-law have many fears about my granddaughter's future, I do not know what to say of how to help them, what are some of the fears that other parents with children diagnose with ADHD? I would like to know so I can be of help to my family.

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by Tricia1967, Jun 13, 2015
I have a friend who has a son he's 9 although they have tested him they have said he has learning difficulty challenging behaviour and sleepless nights with lots of aggression at home. He also talks to himself as though he's talking to someone. His anger has caused him to break things around the house and attack his mother. They have ruled out ADHD or autism. What is wrong with this child and how can the mother which is my best friend help him. She has done lots of parenting programs and this has not helped her with her son. Should she get a psychological assessment for scitsophrinia as there this order on his fathers side how can she help him. She has no knives in her house for fear of his out bursts and him using them on her or his sister that is 3

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by DRB18, Jan 24, 2017
My grandparents over protected my mother as a child. My grandfather told me that they didn't teach her well enough who was nice and who was dangerous. He then told me that is how they ended up with my brother and I. I was adopted along with my brother by our grandparent. My brother has a TON of disorders, and I am 11 months younger than him. He beats me up, and I am very scared of him. If there are no adults around he will take the chance to carve chunks out of my arm, and also imprint his fingernails on my hand. I have many scars from him, and he has charged me with knives before. He doesn't really get in trouble for hurting me, but when he keeps getting suspended from school for assaulting other students he gets into trouble. I lock myself in my room when I can, and my grandparents feel as though I should interact with my brother more. My room is safe, out may not be. It is illegal for us to see our real dad, so we don't know if any of the disorders come from his side. They are trying not to protect us as well, but that gets me hurt. What should I do?

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