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Pediatric School Psychology

School psychologists support parents and teachers in helping students succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. Their overall goal is to create a safe and supportive environment so that all students can learn to their full potential.

At Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS), we provide schools and early-intervention programs with pediatric school psychologists who assist in the assessment process. Our school psychologists can help determine a student’s eligibility for special education services.

What is a School Psychologist?

Pediatric school psychologists are therapists who have received specialized training in child and school psychology as well as educational psychology. They work with school-aged individuals presenting learning or behavioral problems, mental health challenges, specific disabilities, and other conditions.

In their efforts to help create a safe, healthy, and supportive learning environment, they address educational and developmental problems that impact instruction and learning, like:

  • Social or interpersonal problems, disabilities, and disorders that affect learning, behavior, or transitioning out of school and into the workforce
  • Chronic or acute personal or school crises
  • Adverse social conditions that threaten physical, emotional, and mental health

How School Psychologists Assist the Student’s IEP Team

While working with the IEP team, a school psychologist might:

  • Complete comprehensive psychological evaluations
  • Consult with school personnel
  • Provide individual and group interventions and counseling

Many PTS school psychologists are instrumental in helping schools manage student evaluations and stay compliant with mandated timelines. In addition to observing the student during these evaluations, they may also look at the effectiveness of a child’s academic program, classroom routine, and treatment strategies to assist in the development of an IEP.

How School Psychologists Support Students in the Classroom

School psychologists provide direct support and interventions to students and consult with teachers, families, and other members of a student’s IEP team. They can support students in a variety of ways, including:

  • Improving academic achievement by individualizing instruction and interventions based on the student’s needs.
  • Promoting positive behavior and mental health by teaching effective problem solving, anger management and conflict resolution skills, and reinforcing positive coping skills and resilience.
  • Supporting diverse learners by assessing student needs and helping to create IEPs.
  • Strengthening family-school partnerships by helping families understand their child’s learning and mental health needs.
  • Creating a safe, positive school environment by identifying at-risk students and providing crisis prevention and intervention.

School Psychologists as Part of the Diagnostic Team

School psychologists play an important role at the assessment and diagnostic stage of a student’s IEP. As part of the diagnostic team, school psychologists often perform four main functions:

  1. Assessment

During the assessment phase, a school psychologist can administer psychological and educational tests to students who are referred to disability services for learning, social, emotional, or behavioral difficulties.

These assessments can help determine which students actually need disability services, and which students can be effectively served at the general education level. A careful assessment process can reduce the number of students placed on therapists’ caseloads overall, which also helps to contain your special education budget.

They can also conduct evaluations to determine whether students are mentally gifted or in need of accelerated or advanced educational programs.

  1. Consultation

School psychologists can provide consultations, advice, and recommendations for parents, teachers, and other school personnel. They can also consult with teachers on effective classroom interventions or provide training in behavior management, social skills, or effective teaching practices.

PTS offers in-service trainings for our partnering schools, during which school psychologists can train teachers on effective interventions at the general education level.

  1. Prevention and Intervention

As a part of the special education team, school psychologists can collaborate with teachers, parents, and administrators to find effective solutions to learning and behavioral problems. They also help to promote a safe learning environment by performing emergency or grief counseling for individuals and groups, and by working with families to help them understand their child’s learning and emotional needs.

  1. Research and Planning

School psychologists assist schools in the development and implementation of research-based educational programs. They also develop new interventions for teaching staff that can help keep students off caseload who don’t require related services.

School Psychologist vs School Counselor

School psychologists and school counselors both serve students in similar ways, such as:

  • Providing crisis counseling and support
  • Collaborating with parents and teachers in developing intervention plans
  • Ensuring socially, emotionally, and mentally healthy students

School counselors also prepare students for future educational and professional experiences. School psychologists, on the other hand, are the ones who assess and evaluate students to determine whether they require special education services.

How to Add a School Psychologist to Your Special Education Program

A pediatric school psychologist can be a highly effective asset to your special education program. If you’re going to include one as a part of your program, make sure that they have the following credentials and experience:

  • A master’s degree in school psychology, counseling, or psychology
  • A specialist-level degree or a doctoral degree (like an EdS in School Psychology)
  • A completed one-year, 1,200-hour supervised internship or externship

PTS Can Help You Add a School Psychologist to Your Team

PTS provides schools with highly trained and qualified pediatric school psychologists. All our therapists receive professional networking opportunities. This allows them to hone their skills, share knowledge and expertise, and stay up to date on current laws and regulations in the field.

Once we place a school psychologist with your program, our experienced Clinical Directors continue to support our therapists and provide day-to-day program management so that you can focus on the big picture.

PTS also offers ongoing support through:

  • In-service trainings to instruct teachers and staff on effective Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions
  • Program monitoring through BudgetWatch™ software
  • Analysis of our BudgetWatch™ Program Summary Reports to help you get a long-term picture of your program, make budget forecasts, and control costs

Add a Pediatric School Psychologist to Your Team with PTS

When you add a school psychologist to your team through PTS, we’ll help you manage your student evaluations and stay compliant with mandated timelines, while supporting your special education program as a whole. With our help, you’ll be able to improve student performance while also containing special education expenses in the long run.

Contact PTS to add a pediatric school psychologist to your team today!

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