Middle Childhood Intervention: Module Three – The Professionals

Category — 3.1 The “S” Professionals

The “S” Professionals

School Psychologist

School psychologists have training in professional psychology. They have a graduate degree and part of their training includes supervised clinical work with children in schools and other settings. They are trained in both psychology and education. For example, in BC they need to hold a valid teacher’s license. They  work very closely with children with special needs, their parents, and the professionals who work with them. Some of the services offered by school psychologists include:

  • Assessing the skills and needs of children with special needs or suspected special needs;
    • This includes the use tests, such as IQ tests (see full Glossary), which require a high level of training.
    • Working with children across the special education spectrum, including children with intellectual disabilities and children who are gifted;
    • Serving on children’s Individual Education Plans IEP (see full Glossary) teams, and working very closely with all members of the team, including the child’s parents;
    • Offering counseling and mentoring services to all children;
    • Offering parents and school staff advice and information on how to maximize a child’s learning ability;
    • Determining eligibility for special education designations and services.

School psychologists offer children with special needs a wide variety of services across all developmental domains. These services include:

  • Support with the development of cognitive skills, including learning how to pay attention and concentrate;
  • Support with the development of academic skills, such as reading, writing and math;
  • Support with the development of social/emotional skills, including self-regulation, self-esteem and self-confidence;
  • Support with mental health issues, such as difficulties with anxiety.

For more information about school psychology, please visit the following website.

Special Educator/Special Education Teachers

Special educators have a degree in special education. They work very closely with the parents of children with special needs and other members of the school based team. Such members include school psychologists, occupational therapists and/or speech and language pathologists. Special educators are an important part of any Individual Education Plan (IEP) (see full Glossary) team. They are experienced in creating alternative learning options for students who need them. This includes children who need extra help in order to learn (for example, children with Down syndrome), and children who need an accelerated learning program because they learn faster than others (that is, children who are gifted). They help and support the regular education teacher in all aspects of the child with special needs’ education.  They may work in one-to-one or small group settings, depending on the child’s needs and IEP. Some of the services offered by special educators are:

  • Taking part in the assessment of the skills and needs of children with special needs;
  • Taking part in deciding if a child is eligible for special education designations  and services;
  • Taking part in making Individual Education Plans (IEPs);
  • Taking part in helping children with special needs reach their maximum potential;
  • Offering teachers and learning assistance teachers ways to help children improve their learning potential;
  • Offering children with special needs direct instruction, in small groups or on a one toone basis;
  • Keeping an eye on a child’s progress through the school year;
  • Working very closely with the child’s parents to connect what is happening at school with what is happening in the child’s home.

Special educators usually run IEP team meetings. They also make referrals for other services, such as speech and language pathology, if they are needed.

Speech and Language Pathologist

SLPs work with children who have difficulty with language and communication. They also help children who struggle with different aspects of development related to the mouth and its muscles. This includes:

  • Helping children with receptive language difficulties;
  • Helping children with expressive language difficulties;
  • Helping children with pragmatic language difficulties;
  • Helping children with articulation difficulties;
  • Helping children with language-based disorders, such as dyslexia;
  • Helping children with feeding and swallowing disorders;
  • Helping children with voice disorders.

Because of the wide scope of services SLPs offer, they often work with many children with special needs, including children with autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. They also work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing, blind or have low vision, and those who are deafblind.

During the preschool years, children may receive SLP services through their local health units in British Columbia. The referral may come from an early intervention program, including Infant Development and Aboriginal Infant Development Program of BC. For example, the Vancouver Island Health Authority offers this listing of SLP services. In school, SLPs offer services to children who struggle with any aspect of language or learning. This may be:

  • Screening and assessment services to children with language and/or learning difficulties;
  • Identifying and diagnosing learning or language difficulties in children;
  • Developing  speech and language intervention plans, along with parents and other professionals;
  • Offering children speech therapy sessions, either individually or in groups;
  • Offering children and their families consultation services;
  • Helping children communicate with others using a variety of ways. This includes using oral (or spoken) language, sign and communication boards (see full Glossary);
  • Helping children read lips;
  • Helping children use equipment such as hearing aids, FM systems and communication boards;
  • Helping children with language-based academic difficulties;
  • Working very closely with the child’s parents and teachers.

SLPs are an important part of almost any Individual Education Plan (IEP) team, because many children with special needs experience difficulties with language, communication, and academics .

For more information about SLP in British Columbia, please visit the following website.

School Support Teacher

This is another term for Education Assistant (EA) or Special Education Assistant (SEA).

Social Worker

Social workers work with families who are in a crisis situation, or help a family avoid a crisis. The crisis situation could be a divorce, violence at home, child abuse or neglect. Some children with special needs may also have a social worker, who helps the child and their family get access to services. . Social workers also work with families who have economic difficulty, and may be struggling to make ends meet.

Social workers work very closely with families in crisis. They may visit them in their homes, if it is appropriate and safe for them to do so. If not, the families may visit the social workers in their office.

Social workers may act as advocates for children and sometimes adults. They sometimes appear in court, where they may be required to testify on behalf of a child or family.

Social workers are usually a part of a team that protects the rights of a child or family. They also work with family support workers  and family counsellors. They may also work on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) (see full Glossary) team if issues of rights and protection have been raised.

Supported Child Development Consultant

The supported child development consultant (SCD) provides child development and special education advice to families of children with special needs. The children served by the SCD program are usually attending a center-based program. This could be a preschool or after school program.

Most children served by an SCD consultant are between the ages of 3 and 12 years. Sometimes, children who are between the ages of 13 and 19 may be serviced by the supported child development program.

The SCD consultant helps the families of children with special needs adjust to their child’s condition. They offer information and support, and sometimes by refer families to more specialized services. The SCD consultant also works with preschool/school staff, offering  advice on helping the child with special needs in the regular classroom. Sometimes they also coordinate services between different professionals (for example, physiotherapist s and occupational therapists) who may be working with a child.

The SCD consultant offers support and information to the child’s family and teachers. They provide information about the child’s level in all areas of development (cognitive, social/emotional, adaptive, language and communication and motor).

For more information about the SCD program, please visit the following website.

see References

August 27, 2011   No Comments