Expertise and Value
Dr. Murphy has conducted more than 1,000 evaluations since he began working in schools and private practice 20 years ago. He conducts comprehensive psychological and educational evaluations to help families and schools gain a better understanding of why children and adolescents struggle academically, socially, emotionally, or behaviorally. He personalizes the assessment battery to reflect the referral concerns, and his reports include specific, practical, and evidence-based recommendations that will help families and schools implement strategies immediately. Dr. Murphy's evaluations can also be used to assist in the determination of eligibility for special education and the development of Individualized Educational Programs (IEPs) and/or 504 Accommodation Plans.
Dr. Murphy utilizes the most recent evaluation instruments available on the market and incorporates best practices for technologically advanced assessment procedures. This includes online rating scales that parents and teachers can submit virtually, as well as iPad administration protocols for numerous instruments. Due to his role as an Associate Professor at William James College in the School Psychology Department, Dr. Murphy has been directly responsible for training 100+ school psychologists throughout Massachusetts, which requires expertise in all domains of assessment and knowledge pertaining to ensuring that assessments lead to intervention.
Dr. Murphy maintains consultation and evaluation contracts with 50+ school districts throughout Massachusetts to conduct neuropsychological evaluations, clinical evaluations and threat/risk assessments, often helping school districts determine if students are safe to return to school and/or if they need additional support and services to remain in their current school environments.
The FEW Center is also one of the only practices in the area that conducts evaluations for children suspected of having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Utilizing the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2), along with other assessment tools, evaluators are able to distinguish between ASD and other social communication and interaction deficits.
Additional psychologists are also on staff to support students and families in need of evaluations.
FEW Center Advantage
As a trusted contractor for 50+ districts throughout Massachusetts, Dr. Murphy writes student-focused reports consistent with existing school resources and services. This results in school districts readily accepting his recommendations for accommodations, services, and eligibility.
Unlike larger practices or agencies, Dr. Murphy conducts his own assessments and works directly with the child or adolescent being referred for testing. This ensures that his understanding of the client’s presenting challenges is first-hand and comprehensive, which is palpable throughout Dr. Murphy’s strength-based reports and personalized recommendations.
The assessment batteries used at the FEW Center are considered to be the Gold Standard throughout the industry. New and revised tests are purchased well in-advance to keep pace with developments in the field. This is consistent throughout the intellectual, memory and learning, academic achievement, behavioral and clinical domains of assessment. Dr. Murphy is also directly involved in test development and a frequent presenter at National Conferences on topics related to assessment.
What To Expect
Step 1 - Initial Consultation: The first step in the evaluation process is to schedule a consultation meeting with Dr. Murphy to discuss your concerns and goals for the testing. These meeting typically last 60-90 minutes, and the child or adolescent being evaluated typically does not participate in the meeting – though older clients sometimes do. The goal of the meeting is to ensure Dr. Murphy understands the problem and is able to customize an assessment battery to answer all of the referral questions. On occasion, Dr. Murphy’s recommendations will not include an evaluation when he does not believe it is necessary or if he believes other interventions are more important at the time (e.g., counseling).
Step 2 – Day of Testing: The evaluation day typically starts at 9 am to ensure the individual being evaluated is functioning optimally (though some adolescents may disagree with the start time). The intellectual and learning components of the assessment take priority during the morning session and can last for up to 3 hours. A one-hour lunch break is strictly enforced so the examinee can rest and recharge for the afternoon testing session. At times, individuals request to complete the testing on a second day due to fatigue, which can be accommodated easily at the FEW Center. The afternoon testing session typically includes academic testing (i.e., math, reading, writing), a clinical interview, and social-emotional assessments (i.e., rating scales, personality inventories, and projections).
Step 3 – Feedback Meeting: The feedback meeting takes place within 2-4 weeks of the testing date. Sometimes this takes longer due to the time of year and schedule of evaluations. The meeting is scheduled for 60-90 minutes and includes a page-by-page review of the report. Specific tests are reviewed in detail and shown to family members and/or parents to ensure their understanding of their child’s performance. The goal of the feedback meeting is to make sure families, parents, and individuals being evaluated have a strong understanding of their results and the recommendations being made on their behalf.
Step 4 – FEW Center Promise: Individuals being evaluated and their families can always schedule additional meetings or phone calls with Dr. Murphy to discuss the report and recommendations. Dr. Murphy is regularly in touch with families for years after their initial evaluations, and takes great pride in hearing about their accomplishments and successes later in life. This includes students getting into competitive colleges, graduating college and receiving their first job offer, beginning and completing both law or medical school, and just reporting higher levels of overall wellness in their lives.