School Psychology is a broad psychological field applied both inside and outside of schools, through individual or group sessions. School psychologists apply their professional expertise in the promotion and protection of mental health, learning and behavior. Through their practices they help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally and emotionally.
School psychologists work with children and youth either in individual sessions or group workshops, to help them tackle specific weaknesses or enhance their school learning skills, their mental health and emotional development. For example, they can learn ways to study more effectively, deal with learning difficulties such as dyslexia, strengthen their social skills and many more.
School psychologists are also involved in work done with parents and teachers. Parents are advised on how to enhance their parenting skills or learn better practices to help their children learn or cope with emotional difficulties. Teachers can learn to promote a better classroom learning environment or get advice and education on helping a specific student.
School psychologist can help with the following:
- Learning difficulties, such as dyslexia
- Intellectual difficulties
- Emotional difficulties, such as anxiety, depression.
- Developmental psychopathologies, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder(ADHD), Autistic Spectrum Disorders
- Strengthening social skills
- Strengthening coping mechanisms
- Psycho-education of better learning strategies
- Psycho-education of efficient parental skills
- Psycho-education of better teaching strategies
Our school psychologist will complete a full assessment of the difficulties a student faces. This typically requires a series of assessment techniques, individual sessions, consultation with parents and school personnel, or other mental health professionals. This ensures comprehensive and reliable results and helps identifying the most appropriate method of dealing with the difficulty.
The Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI) is the most widely used test of intelligence for preschool children around the world. It is used for children between the ages of 2-7. The scale consists of several Verbal and NonVerbal subtests that provide individual results of the child’s cognitive abilities but also, a combined measure of General Cognitive Ability.
The test is administered by a trained mental health professional such as a School Psychologist and it takes around 60 minutes to complete depending on many factors such as the child’s specific difficulties.
WPPSI can be used to measure the general cognitive ability of the child and together with other assessment tools to identify the possibility of giftedness, developmental intellectual delays and also learning difficulties. This assessment is used in order to develop a personalized intervention plan for the child.
The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC) was developed to measure the intelligence of children of ages between 6 and 16. It consists of several subtests designed to measure the intellectual capabilities of the child but also the various indices that make up the intelligence quotient such as memory abilities. The test is administered by a trained mental health professional such as a school psychologist and it takes around 90 minutes to complete depending on many factors such as the child’s specific difficulties.
The test is used together with other assessment tools to identify weaknesses in specific cognitive areas so as to develop a personalized intervention plan for each child. It is often used to identify intellectual capabilities of children with learning difficulties, ADHD and children in the Autism Disorder Spectrum.
In our practice, the newest version of the test WISC-V, in English and Greek, is administered to children in order to ensure the most reliable results. The School Psychologist working in our practice has been trained in administering and analyzing the results of the test.
The Specific Learning Disorder that involves difficulty in reading, called Dyslexia, is prevalent in many children and can be diagnosed in early Primary School. Every child can experience a variety of different symptoms but some of the main ones are:
- slow and effortful reading
- omitting or adding letters or syllables in reading or writing
- difficulty in understanding the meaning of what is being read
- inability to remember grammar and syntax rules
- spelling mistakes
These and other characteristics can give a specialist the first signs that the child may be experiencing some sort of learning difficulty. In simple terms, if a student’s ability is subpar compared to his/her age group, and no other neurological or environmental reason exists, then an assessment for Specific Learning Disorder should be conducted.
The assessment is based on a combination of diagnostic tools for the student’s cognitive and learning abilities in order to assess if there is indeed a difficulty, and its severity, but mainly to see if we can identify the contributing factors. Based on current research, we can then make a valid diagnosis. The purpose of the diagnosis of a Specific Learning Disorder is the development of an individualized intervention plan.
In our center, we use the latest diagnostic tools in combination with parent, teacher, and other specialist information to make a valid diagnosis. Most importantly we work together to form an intervention plan based on each student’s difficulties and needs.