Archive for July, 2012

Ashburn Psychological Services works with children, adolescents and adults throughout Ashburn to understand any emotional and behavior problems. Testing will accurately diagnose psychiatric problems such as depression and anxiety disorders. Ashburn Psychological Services provides individuals and families an understanding of their problems and personalized recommendations to treat them. Treatment might include: cognitive-behavior therapy, interpersonal therapy, behavior planning and behavior modification work, play therapy, Greenspan-style floor time work, coping skills work, parental guidance, relaxation training, family therapy or couples therapy.

In addition to treating emotional/psychological problems, APS will assist in coordinating services between professionals. For example, emotional testing results greatly assist psychiatrists in determining which medications (if any) are most appropriate for children, adolescents and adults. Our psychiatrists, Dr. Imran Akram, Dr. Joseph Novello, Dr. Malika Seth, Dr. Gagandeep Singh and Dr. Zafar Rasheed work collaboratively with our evaluators and therapists in utilizing data gathered from emotional and psychological testing.

We invite you to contact our office manager, Christine Kutt, at (703) 723-2999 to schedule a consultation. We also invite you to visit us at http://www.ashburnpsych.com to learn more about our team and services.

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Perhaps one of the biggest challenges faced by educators is how best to teach students who present with difficulty learning. Even gifted children often possess an uneven set of cognitive abilities, which in turn could negatively affect learning and academic performance. Obtaining a profile of a student’s learning strengths and weaknesses through professional assessment is essential to understand how best to teach such a student and to determine appropriate interventions, accommodations and/or school or classroom placement.

Psychoeducational testing evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of a student’s abilties, learning style and educational achievement. Through Psychoeducational testing Reading, Writing and Mathematics Disorders are determined. Standardized educational testing will also reveal the extent to which a student’s problems fall in the mild, moderate or severe range when compared to same aged peers and whether other factors are contributing to or exacerbating functioning. It is well established that children and adolescents with learning disorders have a much higher rate of ADD and ADHD, as well as behavioral problems. Thus, it is essential to further identify or rule-out potential processing problems such as: Dyslexia, AD(H)D, Auditory Processing Disorder, Auditory and Visual Memory difficulties, Sensory Processing Disorder, Executive Functioning Disorder, Nonverbal Learning Disability and Visual-Motor Integration Disorder.

After assessing an individual’s test results, Ashburn Psychological Services (APS) will provide a comprehensive report, an in-depth feedback session and specific recommendations to address diagnosis and treatment. APS will serve to determine if the student is eligible for education services under IDEA or ADA. Such accommodations could include: preferential seating, 1:1 certified tutoring, extended time on tests and/or alternative examination formats. Depending on the child or adolescent’s needs, APS clinicians are trained to work closely with parents, schools, tutors, educational consultants, and other specialists to implement a plan of action to get the student back on track.

Summer is an ideal time for parents to have their child assessed/tested. A child’s stress level is usually down during the Summer, and the parents will have a report (and a roadmap for direction) in hand prior to the start of the school year.

APS also provides admissions testing for independent, private schools, as well as gifted testing.

We are certified independent evaluators for Loudon, Fairfax, Prince William, Stafford, and Fauquier counties.

APS has the area’s finest team of evaluators who conduct testing in a variety of areas in addition to psychoeducational testing. Our highly credentialed doctors and evaluators conduct developmental testing, ADHD testing, Autism testing, Asperger’s testing, neuropsychological testing, emotional testing, auditory processing testing, speech and language testing, forensic testing, custody evaluations, parenting capacity evaluations.

For more information on psychoeducational testing and other testings conducted at APS, we invite you to call our office manager, Christine Kutt, at (703) 723-2999.

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How to Handle the Colorado Massacre As A Parent

In the aftermath of the Aurora, Colorado movie theater massacre, we are left in a state of shock and horror as a society and many questions still remain unanswered. Who is Mr. James Holmes and how and why could he do what he did? Beyond the shooter’s background or mindset and the now heated-up debate on gun policies and laws, the tragedy has reverberated across America and into the homes of families, leaving many parents and children anxious and fearful.

As a child psychologist, I have been inundated with numerous questions from many of my patients’ parents this past week. These parents have asked me how to specifically talk to their children about the event, while others are struggling with their own fears. Most recently, a mother of one of my child patients reported to me that she and her husband attempted to see the Dark Knight Rises with her children this past weekend at the Cobb Theater in Leesburg, but ended up leaving after seeing an increased police presence. She stated, “The police and the security dogs scared my kids more than the actual news.” Another parent informed me that, in response to the shootings, she has instituted a much earlier curfew for her teen boys due to her fears regarding their safety and wellbeing in the community after dark.

While I appreciate and understand the heightened parental concern and anxiety in response to the shootings, I think it is important for parents to contain that anxiety and keep things in perspective. What happened in Colorado was certainly tragic, but it was also extraordinary as an event. Instead of anticipating the next horrific event, I encourage parents to be proactive and not reactive; to take control of the situation as best as possible for their and their children’s sake.

I offer the following suggestions to parents.

First, shield your younger children from media reports and news coverage on the massacre. Younger children will not understand the complexity of the situation or bad news that is being reported and their confusion could potentially elicit fear and anxiety. For these reasons, I do not think parents should discuss the shootings with their younger children, as doing so could do more harm than good.

Second, if you do choose to speak to your children about what happened be cognizant of your audience and message. For a younger child, it is important to keep your statements brief and simple. For example, should a preschool age child learn about the shootings, the parent of that child could provide supportive statements only such as, “Yes, something bad happened in Colorado but everything is fine now and you are safe.”

School age children can certainly handle slightly more information and detail on what happened; however, staying black and white on the topic is still best. As parents, you might want to address a few general points that are relevant to what the child might have heard— that the shootings were done by someone who is sick, that the bad guy is now in jail, that tragedies like this are rare, and that they are safe.

Parents of tweens and teens can deal with the topic more openly. You might start by asking your tween or teen what they have heard and how they feel about it. Certainly encourage them to be aware of their surroundings in public settings and reassure them of their safety. You might even consider engaging your curious minded teen on related, larger topics such as, movie theater security and procedures, national gun laws or mental illness. Conversations like this can help to give teens a sense of control or mastery over any anxiety they may be experiencing.

As parents, I recommend monitoring your children’s statements and behaviors over the next few weeks since the impact the shootings or news may not be evident right away. If you do become concerned that your child is developing an exaggerated fear or phobia in response to the event, the news stories or other things they may have heard from their friends, immediately seek the assistance of a trained mental health professional. Addressing anxiety and fear closer in proximity to the upsetting event or trauma, will make it easier to treat.

Remember, as parents one of your jobs is to protect your children from what they cannot handle emotionally while supporting them to be able to handle what they should be able to. This balance is not always easy to achieve, especially during a national tragedy involving murdered children and adults at a Batman movie. I think anxiety and fear is a healthy reaction to what happened, but with good parental attention, care and support, our children will be fine.

[Michael Oberschneider, Psy.D. is the founder and director of Ashburn Psychological Services located in the Ashburn Shopping Plaza. http://www.ashburnpsych.com]

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Imran Akram, M.D., is currently accepting new patients at Ashburn Psychological Services. Dr. Akram is a highly regarded adult psychiatrist who has successfully treated many Loudoun County residents over the years. Dr. Akram also has an excellent reputation for collaborating with other doctors, therapists and psychologists in providing the best patient care possible as a psychiatrist. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Akram, we invite you to call our office manager at (703) 723-2999. Dr. Akram’s professional biography is posted below for your review and consideration.


Professional Biography

Dr. Akram is a trained Adult and Geriatric Psychiatrist. Furthermore, he specializes in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) which is still recognized as the most effective treatment for acute and chronic treatment refractory psychiatric disorders. He is also qualified to treat the opioid dependent population via Suboxone (Buprenorphine) Treatment. His work at Prince William Hospital and Ashburn Psychological Services is a nice blend of inpatient and outpatient psychiatry. This helps him to be proficient in dealing with acute crisis intervention on the inpatient and chronic or maintenance treatment on the outpatient basis.

Dr. Akram completed his Psychiatric residency and Geriatric Psychiatry fellowship at University of Virginia Health System. He did his ECT fellowship at Emory University. After finishing his fellowship, he served at a highly reputed hospital in the suburbs of Chicago, Alexian Brothers Health system. The high versatility of Alexian Brothers in treating addiction, adult, geriatric, eating disorders and ECT helped Dr. Akram further his clinical acumen in the above mentioned fields. He plans to provide comprehensive care for his patients at our office through collaboration with colleagues in the field of Medicine, Psychiatry and Psychology. Dr. Akram is a member of American Psychiatric Association and Psychiatric Society of Virginia.

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Zafar Rasheed, M.D., is currently accepting new patients at Ashburn Psychological Services. Dr. Rasheed is a highly regarded psychiatrist who has successfully treated many Loudoun County children, teens and families over the years. Dr. Rasheed also has an excellent reputation for collaborating with other doctors, therapists and psychologists in providing the best patient care possible as a psychiatrist. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Rasheed, we invite you to call our office manager at (703) 723-2999. Dr. Rasheed’s professional biography is posted below for your review and consideration.


Dr. Rasheed values the importance of working as a team in the care and treatment of his clients at APS. He believes that the psychiatrist must work closely with the therapist, the school and the parents when treating a child or adolescent. The coordination of care for Dr. Rasheed is essential to eliciting symptom reduction and meaningful (and lasting) positive change in our clients.
Dr. Rasheed completed his Adult Psychiatry training at Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine. He completed his Child and Adolescent Fellowship at Drexel University College of Medicine. He plans to provide comprehensive care for his patients at APS through collaboration with colleagues of medicine, psychiatry, and psychology. Dr. Rasheed is a member of the American Psychiatric Association and a member of American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

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Dr. Joseph Novello is currently accepting new patients at Ashburn Psychological Services. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Novello has been entered into the “Best Doctors in America” 2011-2012 database for his work as a child and adult psychiatrist. He is also a Washingtonian Magazine “Top Psychiatrist.” Dr. Novello has also authored 7 books and is often in the media, appearing on Larry King Live, Goodmorning America, Nightline, the Today Show and other popular media spots. He also hosted “The Family Doctor” radio show, which was syndiated in over 700 cities nationwide for many years. It is an honor to have Dr. Novello on the team for psychiatric consultation, assessment and treatment in Loudoun County.

To review Dr. Novello’s biography, please visit: http://www.ashburnpsych.com. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Novello, please call our office mananger, Christine Kutt, at: (703) 723-2999.

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