Friday, October 13, 2017

Behaviour Interventionist / Behaviour Therapist Autism Spectrum Disorder

Dr. Jim Roche is a behaviour specialist working with children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Asperger's Disorder.  He is a member of the BC RASP and his services are covered by the Ministry of Children and Family Services if your child has autism funding. Dr. Roche has been working in the filed for over 20 years as a behaviour specialist, provincial consultant for autism and psychologist. He provides individual therapy as well as parent education. His office also provides autism assessments/testing for children over the age of 6, teens and adults.

For more information on the services he provides for individuals and families dealing with autism spectrum disorder or Aspergers Disorder please visit his web page at or

Friday, October 6, 2017

ADHD in Children, Adolesents and Adults

Dr. Jim Roche, a Registered Psychologist, provides treatment for children, adolescents and young adults with ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. This includes assessment and testing, as well as treatment and the development of individual intervention plans. ADHD assessments are completed with a full report of relative strengths and weaknesses, as well as focused skills that should be the foundation of any subsequent treatment. Visit Dr. Roche's webpage at

Treatment for Child Behaviour Issues and Selective Mutism

Dr. Jim Roche provides parent education, family consultation and individual therapy for selective mutism and other related behavioural and emotional disorders in children and adolescents. His office is in Burnaby, BC at the Production Way Skytrain Station.  Please visit his web page for more information on treatment of child and adolescent behaviour issues, as well as selective mutism and related anxiety disorders.

Information can be found at:

You may also find this webpage on  selective mutism helpful:

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Autism Services for Children, Adolescents and Young Adults

Dr. Jim Roche provides assessments, counselling and behaviour services for children, adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and Aspergers Disorder. Dr. Roche is an approved member of the BCRASP and services in his office can be paid for through BC Ministry funds.

Dr. Roche has served as the behaviour specialist for several school districts, as well as working as a school psychologist and special education teacher. He trained with Michelle Garcia Winner and uses her social thinking curriculum in his practice. He has been working with individuals with autism for over thirty years, and served as a provincial consult for autism for several years.

For more information about his autism related services please see his web page at:

Monday, September 25, 2017

ExecutiveFunction and School Problems

Dr. Jim Roche
Registered Psychologist
Burnaby, British Columbia

In my practice with children, teens and young adults I am often asked about assessments for executive dysfunction. Parents and young adults often ask how this "diagnosis" is different than ADHD, and it is often confusing to teachers as well.

Perhaps the best way to explain executive function, and dysfunction, is by considering three major areas that make up what we call the executive part of the brain. These are: 1) Working memory; 2) Cognitive Flexibility; and 3) Inhibitory control.

Working memory is the ability to keep information in mind, and at the same time, use it some way. For instance, I give you a list of animals, which you try to remember, and I ask you to tell me the list from the smallest to the largest. That can be very difficult of some students and adults!

Second is Cognitive flexibility. This is thinking about things in more than one way.  For instance, you might be asked a question, a problem to solve. You give an answer and then your asked, what's another way to solve this? This is also part of the problem with kids who might over focus, "hyper-focus" on something, or have trouble focusing at all.

Third, Inhibitory control. Being able to focus and resist distractions, resist temptation. Maybe not blurting out an answer before the question is even finished. This is also related to emotional regulation.

We use these skills to pay attention, organize and plan a project, start or initiate a task...and then stay on that task! Regulate our emotions, and a very important skill as we grow: Self-monitor. Keeping in touch with what your doing, what time of day it is, how much time tyou have left, how big the task is that you need to complete and so on.

In a psychoeducational assessment (an assessment to help understand possible learning disabilities and qualify a student for support services in a school district or at college) we carefully look at these issues. Some of these issues can be addressed easily, others are more difficult to deal with. But for the most part there are common environmental supports, accommodations and skills that can be taught to help address these possible executive dysfunctions.

Each psychoeducational assessment addresses executive function in some way, either through a screening, during which it is ruled out as an issue, or through self-reports, parent and teacher reports or more directly through testing an individual's skill level at these tasks. One problem I find with many school district based psychoeducational assessments is that they do not address possible executive dysfunction through testing, and instead rely completely on self-and other reports.

Can we do anything about executive dysfunctions? YES! There are environmental changes and supports that can be implemented, direct skill training in the use of support materials (such as "scaffolds" for writing complex pieces, and direct executive function training.  Finally, and most important in many situations, is the idea of providing psychoeducation for a student, parents and teachers after a psychoeducational assessment is completed.

Most school districts complete psychoeducational assessments for free. Sometimes there is a waiting list. and sometimes parents want a more comprehensive assessment by someone like a neuropsychologist. I would say you should always make sure that whoever is testing you, and providing feedback, should have experience in the schools, and for adults, in the workplace (perhaps in rehabilitation counselling). Some providers simply have no experience in the real world of the school, university or workplace.

For more information please visit my webpage at  You will find information about psychoeducational assessments, neuropsychological assessments and executive function coaching.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Psychoeducational Assessments, Learning Disabilities and Dyslexia: Vancouver, Coquitlam, Maple Ridge

Dr. Jim Roche, Registered Psychologist
Practicing in the Fields of Educational, Clinical and Neuropsychology
Assessment and Treatment for ADHD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioural Issues

Dr. Roche and his team provide psychoeducational assessments to assess your child for learning disabilities, behavioural issues, ADHD and related problems. These psychoeducational assessments are part of a comprehensive assessment necessary for a child to receive services in BC school districts, including individualized help, an IEP (individualized education plan) and to qualify for school related funding.

Assessments are usually completed within 2-3 weeks. Dr. Roche and his team have worked extensively in and with local school districts as teachers, school psychologists, behaviour management specialists and provincial consultants for autism and related disorders. They are deeply aware of the complexities of working in BC schools. For psychoeducational issues it is important to work not only with a registered psychologist, but with someone who has had experience in the classroom, working directly with students with special needs. 

For more information please visit out website at: 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

My child has ADHD and has trouble at school. What can I do?

Dr. Jim Roche, Registered Psychologist
Practicing in the Fields of Educational, Clinical and Neuropsychology
Assessment and Treatment for ADHD, Learning Disabilities and Behavioural Issues

School is starting in one week! What to do if you child has ADHD

If your child doesn't have a diagnosis, get one! Your psychical can do this, or contact a psychologist. No one else should be diagnosing ADHD. On-line check lists are inappropriate and often wrong. Avoid them. But don't avoid a diagnosis. Remember, with younger students almost 50% have another co-morbid disorder, such as a learning disability. To understand these issues you need a psychoeducational assessment.

If your child has had academic difficulty for a year or two, despite SIGNIFICANT and REAL interventions by the teaching staff, ask for a psychoeducational assessment.  Do not allow the school to present a "learning plan" when they haven't done an assessment! Would you take medications without a medical diagnosis? 

A private psychologist can also provide a psychoeducational assessment. They cost from $1,800-$4,200. The cost varies widely. So does the experience of the psychologist. I would insist my psychologist has experience working in schools. Many do not. And remember, only a REGISTERED PSYCOLOGIST cn do this. I often see reports done by "reading consultant, reading expert, dyslexia specialist." These are people without a license! Would you see a "toothologist" instead of a dentist? See a psychologist, and make sure they have worked IN a school.

If your child has behaviour problems due to ADHD do not allow the school to write a "plan" and most certainly not a "safety plan" without a psycoeducational and/or functional behavioural assessment (FBA). For severe behaviour issues an FBA is necessary. If no one in the school is trained in doing an FBA, tell them to find someone. Always put your requests in writing.

Children with ADHD are often given plans that consist of a list of things the child/student is required to do. For instance, "Mark will finish his work on time." That's nice. Mark has ADHD. The plan should tell ou how the school will do two things: 1. Accommodate your child due to his or her disability, and 2. What new skills THEY are going to teach your child. It is not a list of requirements, punishments and guidelines, its an outline of how your child will learn the skills necessary to be successful in the academic environment. The regular way of teaching and learning don't work with children with ADHD, so we are going to do these specialized individual things to help him or her.

Finally, no plan should be about punishments and consequences. With ADHD, which is a neurological disorder, rewards, praise and support are what work. Not punishment or more rules. We know this from decades of research.

Parent education, by the way, has been found to be the most effective of interventions!

Finally, here are my most basic resources for students in the higher grades:

Study and School Related Resources
  • Foe older students in high school, college or graduate school: The Cornell Note Taking Method: Click here  This is the best way to take serious notes that help you in understanding materials, clarifying materials and studying for quizzes, tests and exams. I also teach another note taking method called the "Two Column Note" that is useful in more general study situations, but the Cornell System is overall the number one method of note taking.
  • The New York Times has an excellent article, actually a series of articles and videos, on "Doodle Note Taking." I strongly suggest looking at this. NEW YORK TIMES HOW TO TAKE NOTES
  • I often suggest we start with some very simple tasks or techniques, and these ideas seem to fly in the face of peoples expectation that they should make use of a large book or workbook that addresses multiple issues. Stick to one issue at a time. Learn a skill, think about how it works and apply that knowledge to your next problem.
  • Here are two great articles on studying. There is a LARGE and LONG book on this topic, several as a matter of fact. But this short version is just as helpful combined with some consultation or coaching.  1.  HOW TO LEARN     2. The longer HOW TO LEARN
For more information please visit my website at