As a consultant, I provide or interpret information pertaining to developmental disabilities, to facilitate informed decision-making. Often this involves translating technical data (such as the results of medical, psychological or educational testing) into lay terms, and/or explaining the impact of neurodevelopmental or neuropsychiatric factors (intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorder, co-morbid mental illness, e.g.) within the context of the situation at hand, so that parents, educators, attorneys, or other concerned parties can integrate this information into their decision-making process. Consultations may address the needs of individual children or youth, or may address the needs of organizations working with persons with disabilities. Typical reasons for seeking consultation include:
- Clarification of medical diagnosis / causation
- Clarification of developmental diagnosis
- Advice regarding behavior management
- Determination of educational exceptionality / IEP development / Due Process
- Determination of medical necessity (insurance coverage / denials)
- Advice regarding the impact of disability on visitation and custody planning
- Advice regarding transition to adulthood (guardianship / prognosis / future needs)
- Offending behavior (disability as a predisposing and/or mitigating factor)
- Program Development (e.g., school systems, social services, juvenile justice, other community service providers.
Consultation requests often focus on a specific question (e.g., management of disruptive behavior, obtaining educational services, optimizing outcome for the child with special needs when the parents are divorcing, etc.). Frequently, however, such narrowly defined questions represent the tip of a much larger iceberg (e.g., complex interaction between biologically based behavioral issues and environmental contingencies; transition to adulthood; family dysfunction). Therefore, my approach is threefold: First, to learn as much as possible about the immediate issue(s), second, to contextualize the immediate issue(s) through review of pertinent medical, educational or legal records and relevant published literature, drawing upon four decades of clinical experience and my ability to integrate information from multiple disciplines (e.g., child development, medicine, genetics, mental health, neuropharmacology, family systems theory, behaviorism, cognitive psychology, etc.), and third, to assemble the issues, possible responses, and likely range of outcomes into a coherent whole.
Consultation Process and Deliverables
My staff will schedule an initial telephone call, during which you will have the opportunity to explain your concerns / questions directly to me. At that time, I may ask you to provide me with additional information and/or records (for example, psychoeducational test results, IEP, medical reports, due process proceedings, depositions, or other information germane to the case). You will be responsible for obtaining the necessary release(s) of information and transmitting these records to me. Within 30 days of receipt of all materials, I will provide you with a written report reflecting my opinions and/or recommendations. I am available for additional discussion at any time. If the issue is ongoing, you may wish to establish a client-consultant relationship whereby I remain available to you on an as-needed basis for continued input. I am also available for participation in Due Process hearings, deposition, and testimony in court.
The initial 30 minutes of your first telephone conference is provided at no charge and with no obligation by either party to proceed. Thereafter, you will be asked to sign and return a client agreement, along with a retainer equivalent to 2 hours of service, which will be applied against my fee. My time, including record review, report preparation, conference time, and other related activities (e.g. literature search), will be billed at my standard hourly rate rounded to the nearest quarter-hour. Local travel (if necessary) will be billed door to door. Out of town travel will be billed at a flat rate, rounded to the nearest half-day, plus expenses. In the case of ongoing client-consultant relationships, accumulated hours will be billed monthly. All fees are payable within 30 days.
Questions, or Schedule an Initial Conference
Please call my office (610-520-2130), or click here, and I or someone on my staff will get back to you.
James Coplan, MD
Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics
Fellow, Child Neurology Society
Fellow, Society for Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics