The School Psychology Program at George Mason University’s School of Education has launched a Coordinated Educational and Wellness Services (CEWS) center for psychoeducational testing and evaluation of school-aged children.
Housed within the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), the center will specialize in mental health, psychological, and educational services for children, adolescents, and teens, ages 5 to 18. The goal of these services is to improve the emotional, behavioral, and academic functioning of children in primary and secondary schools.
“We wanted to develop a center that was focused on school-age children and educationally related concerns,” said Nicole Beadles, associate professor in Mason’s School Psychology program, who oversees the center.
Previously, the School Psychology Program provided psychoeducational testing for children and teens through the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHSS), which operates a mental health clinic serving a client base that includes young children as well as adults of college age and beyond.
The new center will serve as a community resource helping families with a child who may be experiencing academic, emotional, or behavioral problems impeding their functioning in school and elsewhere. Services will begin in September; the center accepting appointments for testing to be conducted through its Comprehensive Assessment Services (CAS) program. No referral is necessary, and parents may contact the center directly for an appointment.
“We have extensive experience helping families whose children have psychological, behavioral, and emotional difficulties, and we strive to support them across all areas of their lives,” Beadles said, adding that the center is “a much-needed resource for parents, families, and youth in the community.”
Evaluations performed through the CAS program are designed to assist parents in addressing specific areas of concern where their child may be having difficulties. Some of the more common concerns include anxiety, mood disorders (depression), social interaction challenges, behavioral difficulties, emotional outbursts, learning and attentional difficulties, ADHD, and autism. Assessments encompass interviews, questionnaires, record reviews, and direct testing of the child.
Graduate students in Mason’s School Psychology Program will conduct testing under the close supervision of licensed clinical and school psychologists affiliated with the university. Parents get the benefit of two sets of eyes on all work conducted in the center, Beadles said. “Our goal is to provide accurate and useful information that can make a difference in a child’s life,” Beadles added.
Beadles, a former school psychologist with Fairfax County Public Schools, has been in contact with community organizations and school psychology leaders in Northern Virginia school districts including Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, Arlington, Alexandria, and Manassas to spread the word about the center.