Ms. Abigail Nalbone has been a School Psychologist for the Wyalusing Area School District since December of 2019. She attended Keystone College for her undergraduate studies in psychology and Marywood University to further her education to become a School Psychologist. Ms. Nalbone is currently enrolled in a program to complete her administration certification at Del Val University.

Ms. Nalbone primarily focuses on student assessments for special education services and gifted services. In addition, the school psychologist helps oversee child study procedures and implementation to ensure that all struggling students have the opportunity to learn with their peers in the least restrictive environment.

School Psychologists are uniquely trained to deliver high-quality mental and behavioral health services in the school setting to ensure all students have the support they need to succeed in school, at home, and throughout life. To further assist in this area, Ms. Nalbone can provide counseling services to students who struggle with self-regulation and emotional control.

One of Ms. Nalbone’s passions is trauma-informed practices, specifically in the area of developmental trauma. Developmental trauma can impact students’ academic success and have significant implications later in life for those students.  Therefore, her professional stance is to be part of a school setting that continues to advocate for all students' emotional and physical well-being. 

Contact Ms. Nalbone  abnalbone@wyalusingrams.com

 

Child Study Process

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Child Study Process

The Child Study process will be available for view no later than October 16 th . The first six weeks of school benchmark assessments will be implemented to determine students that meet the criteria for Child Study services. Parents will be notified if their student meets this criteria.

Evaluation Process for Special Education Services

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Evaluation Process for Special Education Services

Parents who suspect that their child has a disability may request in writing a multidisciplinary evaluation (MDE) at any time. Send requests directly to the school psychologist, Abigail Nalbone, if possible. Other potential recipients may include school principals, special education director, or the special education department. Once a request is made for an evaluation, you will be contacted by the School Psychologist to review your request and to discuss all available options for your child. Once a conclusion has been made to move forward with an evaluation, a permission to evaluate tailored to your child’s specific needs is issued with release forms, parent input, and rating forms to be completed and returned to the district at your earliest convenience.  The evaluation process will not start until the forms are returned to the special education office and dated. Once the forms are dated, the School Psychologist will have 60 calendar days to complete the evaluation process (timeline stops over summer break).

However, it is recommended that students first go through the Child Study process to gather ample data to further support the need for the evaluation process and special education services. The more evidence of a disability that is gathered further supports the need for services. It is also imperative to determine if the child is capable of making adequate progress within their least restrictive environment.  Once data is gathered that indicates that the student is not making adequate growth, a permission to evaluate will be issued (PTE).

 

The following are the classifications that a child can be eligible under that requires the evaluation of a certified School Psychologist: Autism, Intellectual Disability, Other Health Impairment, Emotional Disturbance, Specific Learning Disability, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Multiple Disabilities.

Students may be eligible for special education services for Speech and/or Language Impairment, Orthopedic Impairment, Visual Impairment, Hearing Impairment, or Deaf-Blindness Impairment. However, the School Psychologist is not required to be included in these evaluations to determine eligibility.

Please look at the individual tabs on the website for each disability classification to see the definition of the classifications that the School Psychologist provides or the tabs will obtain the appropriate contact information for the individual specializing in that specific area.

For important information on the evaluation report and how students’ are determined eligible/ineligible, please download the attached document: 

Special Education Disabilities

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Autism Disability

Autism means a pervasive developmental disability that significantly impacts verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction that adversely affects a
student's educational performance. Onset is generally evident before age three.

Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routine, unusual responses to sensory experiences, and lack of
responsiveness to others. The term does not apply if the student's adverse educational performance is due to an emotional regulation impairment as defined below. A child who manifests the characteristics of autism after age three may be
classified as autistic if the criteria in this paragraph are met.

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Intellectual Disability

A disability that is characterized by significantly below average general cognitive functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior; manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects a student's educational performance.

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Emotional Disturbance

A condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:

(A) An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.

(B) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.

(C) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.

(D) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

(E) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.

 Emotional Disturbance includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.

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Other Health Impairment (OHI)

Having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that—

(i) Is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and

(ii) Adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

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Specific Learning Disability

A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, that may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, including conditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.

(ii) Disorders not included.

Specific learning disability does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of intellectual Disability, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.

A specific learning disability is determined by utilizing the "severe discrepancy" model. The Evaluation shall include assessment of current academic achievement and intellectual ability. There must be a 15-point discrepancy between the students Full-Scale IQ and an area of achievement.

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Traumatic Brain Injury

An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Traumatic brain injury applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical functions; information processing; and speech. Traumatic brain injury does not apply to brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or to brain injuries induced by birth trauma.

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Multiple Disabilities

Concomitant impairments (such as Intellectual Disability/blindness or Intellectual Disability/Orthopedic Impairment), the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. Multiple disabilities does not include deaf-blindness.

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Speech / Language Impairment

Parents who have concerns about speech and/or language please contact Mrs. Arvonio. karvonio@wyalusingrams.com

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Occupational Therapy

Parents who have occupational therapy concerns please contact Mrs. Montross. jmontross@wyalusingrams.com

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Physical Therapy, Vision, Hearing

Parents who have physical therapy, vision, and hearing concerns please contact the special education department as these services are provided by the local Intermediate Unit. grichmond@wyalsuingrams.com

504 Service Agreement

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504 Service Agreement Plan for Medical Conditions

A 504 service agreement plan can be developed for students with a medical condition that interferes with their ability to access their curriculum. A 504 service agreement plan is developed to provide accommodations and modifications to how students receive their curriculum and meet their individual needs. These accommodations and modifications must align specifically with their medical needs. The difference between an IEP and a 504 plan is that an IEP is for students that have significant achievement deficits that require remedial instruction and for students with behavioral needs that cannot be met within the regular education setting. A 504 plan is for students who have a medical condition that affects their ability to access the classroom content and only requires minimal accommodations and modifications to be successful within the regular education setting. In addition, students who only have physical therapy and occupational needs will automatically receive a 504 service agreement plan developed for them by the therapists.

 

For more information on the 504 process, please contact Mrs. Kelly, the school counselor for grades K-6th. ykelly@wyalusingrams.com

 

For more information on the 504 process, please contact Mrs. Kirkpatrick, the school counselor for grades K-6thakirkpatrick@wyalusingrams.com

Gifted Services

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Gifted Students

Students may be referred for gifted screening by classroom teachers, the Teacher of Gifted Learners, school principals, or parents. Parents who believe their child may qualify for GIEP identification according to PA Chapter 16 guidelines and wish to request a gifted screening should begin the process with a written request to Mrs. Kelly, the elementary school counselor, asking that their child be screened for giftedness.

Parents who have submitted a written request or if a child was referred by a school employee, a permission form to obtain consent for the screening will be issued for the screening process to begin. Mrs. Kelly will administer a brief cognitive measure and obtain ample data of previous grades, PSSA scores, and teacher input to determine if the student meets the prescreening criteria. The student must obtain a Full-Scale of 125 and above or an index score of 125 and above on the brief cognitive measure to move forward in the evaluation process.

Once the screening process concluded the parents will receive a notification if the student is moving forward to the full evaluation process provided by the School Psychologist. If a student is recommended by the multidisciplinary team to move forward to the evaluation process, a permission to evaluate (PTE) will be sent home by the special education department. Evaluation for gifted services can begin only after parents have signed the PTE and sent it back to the district. The evaluation process can take up to 60 days from the date WASD receives the signed PTE. If the student is found eligible the gifted teacher will have 30 calendar days to develop an Gifted Individualized Education Plan (GIEP), from the date of the report.

The full gifted evaluation process will include both qualitative and quantitative measurements. Qualitative measures will include teacher input, parent input, and student interests. The quantitative measures will include intelligence testing, which evaluates a child's cognitive abilities, and achievement testing, which evaluates a child's knowledge, as well as a gifted rating scale completed by the student’s teacher(s).

If initial screening indicates that gifted identification is not likely, parents may choose to request a full evaluation provided by the school psychologist. Although this is acceptable and welcomed, please review the following information to determine if moving forward is appropriate for your family.

Most students are not gifted. The National Association for Gifted Children estimate that only approximately 6% of the student population in The United States are gifted. The screening instruments and multiple criteria used in the early stages of the gifted identification process are designed to capture the greatest possible number of students who are potentially eligible for gifted identification under PA Chapter 16 and to advance them to further testing.

Many extremely bright, talented and successful students are not identified as gifted and have numerous opportunities to shine in Wyalusing Area School District. Only students who have demonstrated extremely high academic capability is recommended for gifted screening at all, and these students need to know that their parents are proud of them and that they are loved and accepted for who they are.

Children who are being tested for gifted identification are generally aware their parents love and accept them for who they are but can be demoralized by continuing a process that will result in them not being identified as gifted, especially if they sense that this identification is of particular importance to their parents. While it is important that children do their best during a screening for gifted education, it is equally important that parents reassure their children that attaining a particular level of performance on screening instruments is not what is most important.

 

It should also be noted that since testing for gifted identification is conducted during the school day, students will, of necessity, miss valuable instruction during testing time. Your child will benefit more from continued immersion in his or her academic activities than from further evaluation.

Early Intervention Services

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Early Intervention Services (Coming Soon)

This process will be available for view in January of 2022.