Educational Services - Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions.

Call Family Psychiatry & Psychology Associates at 919-233-4131to schedule an appointment for educational services or to arrange a consultation.

Questions frequently asked...

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  • Q: What is the difference between an Educational Specialist/Consultant and a tutor?
  • A: While tutors are readily available in the Triangle, they are not always equipped to meet students' unique learning needs. The philosophy of many tutors is to review tests/quizzes that were completed in class, explaining concepts in areas of weakness and encouraging review and repetition in those areas. Although this can be a valuable form of review or remediation for some students, it is a reactive approach to addressing problem areas. Students who have different learning styles or disabilities may need an alternate set of tools to process and retain information and to later retrieve and produce it for an assignment or exam. For those students, this reactive form of tutoring can be tedious and frustrating, as it does not address the broader, more pervasive learning differences that interfere with the student learning the material effectively in the first place.

    Alternatively, our Educational Specialist works with the whole student rather than just focusing on an isolated subject or concept. Through a comprehensive assessment of the student, his/her educational and testing history, environmental influences, and any relevant emotional or behavioral factors, our Specialist guides the student towards recognizing his/her strengths and relative weaknesses as they relates to learning styles. Information that might have initially been taught in a manner that seems confusing can be reintroduced with an alternative approach that suits the students' learning style. Through this process, students become more attuned to their learning needs and begin to advocate for themselves by asking the right types of questions to solicit information in a way that makes sense to them. The ultimate goal is to help a student develop the skills needed to achieve success independently.

    Through the development of a close and collaborative relationship, many students can reduce conflict with parents or other care-takers and teachers as their frustration is reduced, their confidence is increased, and they learn better social skills. Additionally, unlike most tutors, our Specialist emphasizes learning better organizational skills (e.g., keeping an agenda, organizing notes and papers, turning in homework) that are customized to work for the student. Many times, students are forced to work with a pre-determined style of organization. Our Educational Specialist customizes the organizational techniques to meet the individual needs of the student.

  • Q: Where can my child meet with the Educational Specialist?
  • A: One of the wonderful aspects of our Educational Division at FPPA is that our Specialist can meet your child almost anywhere. By meeting in a setting that is most appropriate for the students' needs, he/she is able to overcome environmental hurdles immediately. Our Educational Specialist currently meets students at coffee shops, libraries, their homes and even parks.

    If you are bringing your child for a first visit, the doctor will likely want to meet with you with your child for part of the intake visit, and will also want to talk to all of you together and each of you separately. At the end of the first visit, you and your doctor will arrive at a plan for the next step(s) in your care. If seeing a psychiatrist and medication is a consideration, it may or may not be prescribed during your first visit, depending on individual circumstances.

    If you are bringing an adolescent to the office, we ask that you stay for the entire visit in our office area, even if the doctor elects to utilize most of the visit with the teenager. In all likelihood, you and your teen will spend time with the clinician together and individually but the doctor may choose to spend more time with one party than another for clinical reasons.

    Most first visits are between 45 and 75 minutes, depending on clinical needs and ability to cover desired information. If all the important information cannot be covered in the first visit, plans will be made for a second visit to cover the other related issues.

    If you have records from any prior evaluation elsewhere, we ask that you have such records forward to our office prior to your Intake Evaluation, if possible, for review by your doctor at FPPA.

  • Q: What type of time commitment must I make?
  • A: There is no pre-set time commitment for these services. You can arrange for one-time consultations, specifically planned number of meetings or on-going collaboration that remains flexible and available to meet your specific needs. Flexibility is important as you may discover methods that work better (or are less effective) as your efforts grow. This flexibility allows for adaptation to what works best for the student.

  • Q: What are my payment options?
  • A: Family Psychiatry & Psychology Associates has a flexible payment program that can be tailored to your specific needs and convenience. Payment issues can be comfortably discussed with our Educational Specialist at your first visit or at any time by calling our Office Manager (919-233-4131). Prices differ depending on the specific services requested and are usually based on the amount of time spent by the Specialist for that service.

  • Q: How do I get started?
  • A: To get started, please call the main office, (919) 233-4131, and speak with our staff at the front desk to book your student's initial consultation. If you are unsure about whether or not a specific service can be provided, please feel free to leave a message for our Educational Specialist to call you back to discuss how she may be able to help. At that time, an appointment can also be easily arranged by our Specialist. If you prefer, you may directly email the Director of Educational Services, Ms. Elizabeth Hanna, at Please be aware that emails are not encrypted and will be responded to at the address of the sender unless otherwise requested.

  • Q: Does my child need to be a patient of the practice to utilize these services?
  • A: No. Students do not need to be seen as a patient in Family Psychiatry & Psychology Associates to receive services by our Educational Specialist.

  • Q: Does my child need to have a diagnosed learning disability to work with an Educational Specialist?
  • A: No. A Specialist works with children, adolescents and young adults who have a broad array of difficulties with academic progress. The student does not need to have such a diagnosis or any prior specific psycho-educational testing to utilize these services.

    If your child has been struggling and has not had a psycho-educational evaluation, however, doing so may be very helpful. Parents are often unsure about whether this type of assessment is indicated for their child. Our Educational Specialists can help families make that determination. In some cases, with your permission, they can even consult with one of our in-house psychologists to help make that determination. If it is decided that an evaluation is indicated, this can be done privately by a psychologist in our practice or elsewhere, or can also sometimes be done through the school. Regardless of which route is taken, our Educational Specialist can provide some important background information that will help the psychologist develop an appropriate and informed plan for testing.

  • Q: Does an Educational Specialist work with children who are too young to be in school?
  • A: Yes. Our Educational Specialists have helped families of pre-schoolers prepare their child for school. Our Specialists can support your child on daily school routines, reading, writing development, number sense, kindergarten preparedness, etc.

  • Q: Does the Education Specialist work with students who are in college?
  • A: Yes. Many parents and students find these services benefit college students to improve study skills, improve time management, increase self-advocacy, learn better organizational skills and become more proactive in their own educational journey. Many students find that big step into independent functioning to be a hard transition. Our Specialists' services can be there to support the student who is about to start college for the first time or for the student already experiencing some difficulties and/or not achieving to expectations.

  • Q: Can the Education Specialist help us address concerns directly with/about the school?
  • A: Yes. This is one of the most common services that is provided in addition to one-on-one assistance. Our Specialist can help communicate directly with the school or with specific teachers through email, telephone calls and face-to-face meetings. It is not uncommon for our Specialists to attend meetings between parents and school personnel, IEP meetings or specifically planned discussions with teachers. Such attendance often helps to create a mutual, non-confrontational process of collaboration, even if tensions have previously run high. As a result, support from school personnel increases and becomes more consistent through some of the unique suggestions our Specialists offer while helping to support the student.

  • Q: Now that we have completed testing, how can the Education Specialist help us?
  • A: After reviewing the available testing information and meeting with your child/student (and possibly consulting with the psychologist who performed the testing, if necessary or desired), our Specialist can provide you with some specific and targeted accommodations and modifications that you can request from your student's school. Our Specialist can also help you advocate for those services by attending IEP, 504, BIP, or RTI meetings with you. Additionally, our Specialist can provide information on an at-home study area and study schedule that will accommodate your student's learning needs.

  • Q: My child/student is not working to his/her full capacity. He/she does not have any learning disabilities or specialized school plans, yet doesn't seem to be motivated. Does the Educational Specialist work with such students?
  • A: Yes. Our Specialists very frequently help students who lack motivation or students who are already motivated but can't find a way to get to "the next level" of productivity and grades. Our Specialists work with students at all grade levels, even through higher-level college courses. Improving study efficiency, improving time-management skills, increasing self-awareness of learning strengths and challenges, improving determination and dedication to studies are just some of the areas where your student will see changes that will help him/her improve academically. If the student simply needs a coach to help them excel, our Specialist can help the student become more autonomous by analyzing the student's skills and habits and working closely with the student to practice new strategies and skills that work with the student's strengths to gain higher achievement.

  • Q: What if my child can not attend a public or private school because of special needs issues. Can FPPA's Educational Specialists still help my child?
  • A: Yes. Although most schools have a goal of meeting every student's needs, this doesn't always translate into effective and/or efficient learning for all students. Our Specialists can open and create an accredited "Home-School" for your child. Through careful planning with our Specialists, your child could make significant educational progress through home-schooling by meeting with our Specialist several times (or more) per week. This kind of schooling can be specific for one course or all courses, for a short duration of time or for semesters that are needed. This type of flexibility is one way we are able to customize school needs to the individual's specific learning needs, past achievements and other unique aspect about your child.


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