JM: Kristen Herzel worked with all three of our children, each of which has a unique learning profile. The information Kristen provided us through her testing and report was incredibly helpful in it’s breadth and depth of insight into each person.
On one hand, we learned that our five year old, who has an above average IQ, had significant auditory processing, memory recall, and phonemic awareness issues - dyslexia - and we were able to intercede by sending him to Benchmark for three years where he thrived, especially in his reading level. He skipped ahead two grade levels before heading back to public school. Had we not identified his learning challenges at such a tender age, we would not have known how to support him. Kristen provided wonderful insights and guidance as we chose the appropriate school and approach.
On the other hand, we had an extraordinarily gifted child who had not been identified through the typical “gifted” program in public school. So, the information Kristen provided on him while in 5th grade helped us navigate teacher and school options so that we could keep him stimulated and be an advocate for him through the challenging middle school years.
Some people will put their head in the sand, and ignore and deny important clues about their children’s learning - whether a challenge or a gifted situation - and we strongly believe that does a great disservice to the child. Knowing the full picture on how a child’s brain works and learns can only help parents provide better input and advocacy to their child.
Kristen is sensitive, easily connects and builds trust with children, thorough, insightful, and provides extraordinarily helpful information, information that can surely make a difference in a child’s education and life course.
TW: We were referred to Dr. Herzel to help us document and understand the unique features of our daughter's neuropsychology in order to help us as well as teachers, service providers, decision makers, and, most importantly, our daughter herself to understand how to utilize her strengths to compensate for her challenges. Our daughter is now 20 and we are applying for services through the state waiver programs for when she ages out of the school system at 21.
Historically, it has been difficult for our daughter to qualify for services because of her strong academic record and cognitive capabilities in spite of some very significant disabilities. While the psychological testing through her school system was thorough in the academic realm, it did not adequately quantify our daughter's significant difficulties with independent living skills, executive functioning tasks, processing speed, spatial abilities, and social skills.
By using a much greater variety of testing, Dr. Herzel was able to reveal the current levels in these areas, the reason why these things are difficult for our daughter, and what strategies would encourage greater success. Dr. Herzel's report is extremely effective and user-friendly with a very clear list of recommendations for the immediate future as well as suggestions for the years to come.
Dr. Herzel established a positive rapport with our daughter from the beginning which made the testing seem enjoyable. Because our daughter trusted Dr. Herzel she was able to open up about her concerns. Dr Herzel did a wonderful job of explaining the results to her and making her feel positive about her own neuropsychological profile.
I wish that we had explored neuropsychological testing with Dr. Herzel much earlier in our daughter's life- we probably would have made different decisions, advocated for more services, and understood our daughter's needs better.