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School Psychology

School psychologists are uniquely qualified members of school teams that support students' ability to learn and teachers' ability to teach. They apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior, to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally. 

--www.nasponline.org

Psychologist working with student

 

 

In Davis School district there is a School Psychologist at each school

 

Psychologist assessing a student

 

 

Click HERE to find out which School Psychologist is assigned to your school.

Resources

How can I help my student?

Academic

 

"A [Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD)] is not a sign of poor intelligence or laziness or the result of impaired hearing or vision. Children and adults with SLD have a neurological disorder that causes their brains to process and interpret information differently."
--National Center for Learning Disabilities (ld.org)

Specific Learning Disabilities has many different names. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD) can be identified in any of the following areas: 

  • oral expression
  • listening comprehension
  • written expression
  • basic reading skills
  • reading fluency skills
  • reading comprehension
  • mathematics calculation
  • mathematics problem solving

SLD is an educational classification that is comparable to the DSM-V diagnosis of Dyslexia (formerly Reading Disorder), Dyscalculia (fomerly Mathematics Disorder), and Dysgraphia (formerly Written Expression Disorder).

Dyslexia is the most well known of the learning disabilities, and, in accordance with federal law, schools and special education refer to it as Specific Learning Disability--basic reading skills, reading fluency skills, or reading comprehension.

 

RESOURCES

RTI - Interventioncentral.org 

Academic Interventions 

Explicit Instruction

ADHD/Executive Functioning

Executive Functioning can be explained in many different ways. It is a broad term used to describe many cognitive functions with the purpose of regulating behavior, which can include emotional regulation, organization, planning, memory, and more. Executive functioning expert Russell Barkley has stated "we can think of the executive functions simply as those capacities for self-control that allow us to sustain action for problem solving toward a goal. So it's goal-directed problem solving and goal-directed persistence." 

Dr. Barkley further stated "the latest thinking on ADHD [or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder] includes the topic of executive functioning being related to ADHD, and possibly actually being the core functions or deficits in the disorder." Five executive functions that appear to be implicated in ADHD are: 

  1. Inhibit Your Behavior, 
  2. Use Visual Imagery,
  3. Talk to Yourself in the Form of Self-Guidance, 
  4. Control Your Emotions, and 
  5. Plan and Problem Solve. 

 

RESOURCES

 

Minecraft 5 point scale example 

Smart but Scattered Kids

Children and Adults with ADHD (CHADD of Utah) 

Helping the student with ADHD in the classroom 

Executive Functioning at a Glance   

Executive Function 101--free e-book   

Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills from Infancy to Adolescence 

Peg Dawson, Richard Guare  - www.smartbutscatteredkids.com  

Anxiety/Depression

As a parent, you may cringe at the thought that your perfect child could ever a mental health problem. Don't worry. That is normal. What's even more normal is for children to show some levels anxiety and depression--requiring some help--yet not actually having a full blown Anxiety Disorder or Depression. 

Anxiety and Depression may actually manifest itself in simple ways that you have not considered. Here are some common examples:

 

Anxiety

  • hesitancy or refusal to go to school
  • nervousness in new situations
  • unwillingness to leave your side

Depression

  • feeling alone
  • not interested in playing games
  • unusually moody or emotional

 

RESOURCES

 

WorryWiseKids  

Anxiety Disorders Association of America 

Separation Anxiety 

Autism

"Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors."
--AutismSpeaks.org

There is a social stigma that accompanies Autism like no other childhood diagnosis. Autism is commonly identified in childhood, and typically has better treatment outcomes when found early in an individuals life. While many aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder are still not understood, there are many treatment recommendations that have shown positive results. One of the most researched teaching method for autism is Discrete Trial Training (DTT), which is part of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy.

The DTT teaching strategy involves:
  1. Breaking skills into the smallest steps
  2. Teaching each step of the skill intensively until mastered
  3. Providing lots of repetition
  4. Prompting the correct response and fading the prompts as soon as possible and
  5. Using positive reinforcement procedures

 

RESOURCES

 

Autism Self-Advocacy Network 

Minecraft 5 point scale example 

Behaviors

Every parent would rather not get the phone from the school about how their child got into trouble at recess, and hit Suzy in line, and called someone a name, and on and on and on. Of course, life would be easier if verbal or physical aggression were not a defining characteristic of childhood. At this point you might be saying, "Yes! Where do I sign up? What can I do." We wish it was that easy.

There is not easy answer for dealing with behavior problems, but the good news is that there are effective strategies for helping--it just won't be quick or easy. On this page you will find resources for behavior. Enjoy!

The Please-Want-Need method
This strategy really helps with limiting parent frustration when their child is being non-compliant (AKA naughty, trouble maker, or disobedient). Instead of getting into a power struggle, this strategy uses a healthy dose of ignoring while still being the parent. Here it goes:

  • When you want your child to do something (for example, get started on their homework), say to them "Please, get started on your homework" or "Alright, please turn off the TV and get started on today's homework." The Key word is Please.
  • Once you have given the instruction, walk away and do something else (like deal with your other child). After 2 minutes, come back and see what has happened. If your child has started their homework, then awesome your work is done. If they are starting to move, then tell them thanks for following directions. But if they haven't say "I want you to start your homework." Walk away again and come back 2 minutes later. Key word in the second phrase is Want.
  • After 2 minutes have passed, come back and see what has happened. If they still have yet to engage in their homework then say "I need you to start your homework, or (insert consequence)." Key word is Need. Leave room for 2 minutes. 
  • If they still have not engaged in their homework, then give consequence. 

Believe it or not, this strategy usually negates the arguing between parents and children, and, while it may take longer than forcing them to turn off the TV, you are teaching them task initiation skills and building a very positive relationship with them. 

 

RESOURCES

Early Childhood

Referral Process

There are currently 13 categories under which a student is eligible for special education services:

  1. Autism
  2. Deafblindness
  3. Developmental Delay
  4. Emotional Disturbance
  5. Hearing Impairment/Deafness
  6. Intellectual Disability
  7. Multiple Disabilities
  8. Orthopedic Impairment
  9. Other Health Impairment
  10. Specific Learning Disabilities
  11. Speech/Language Impairment
  12. Traumatic Brain Injury
  13. Visual Impairment (Including Blindness)

Knowledge is power when it comes to Special Education. The goal of Special Education is to help students access their grade-level curriculum. Qualifying for special education is based on three aspects:

  • The child must have a disability
  • The disability affects academic and functional performance
  • The child needs individualized instruction

Not every child qualifies for special education. It is important that you consult your school with any questions concerning eligibility for special education.

INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PLAN

Students determined eligible for special education services will have a written Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This plan will include areas of focus, goals, accommodations, services required, and specify time lengths that they will receive such services. 

For more information you may wish to reference the Special Education Rules handbook published by the Utah State Office of Education

 

504 PLANS

Occasionally, a student may have an identified disability, it affects their academic and functional performance, yet they do not require specialized instruction. In this case an IEP is not necessary, but they may benefit from what is called a "504 plan." 

What is 504 plan? 

 

The "504" in "504 plan" refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which specifies that no one with a disability can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including elementary, secondary or postsecondary schooling. 

What is a disability in a 504 plan? 

 

"Disability" in this context refers to a "physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities." This can include physical impairments; illnesses or injuries; communicable diseases; chronic conditions like asthma, allergies and diabetes; and learning problems. It does not necessarily require medical documentation; evidence of the impairment can come from other sources.

What is generally written in a 504 plan? 

 

A 504 plan spells out the modifications and accommodations that will be needed for these students to have equal access as their non-disabled peers, and might include such things as wheelchair ramps, blood sugar monitoring, an extra set of textbooks, a peanut-free lunch environment, home instruction, or a tape recorder or keyboard for taking notes, etc.

 

 

 

 Resources: 

 

Social Skills

Suicide

Between divorce, loosing grandparents, other family members, or friends, and other traumas there are a myriad of events that affect a child or teenager on an emotional level. This is a topic that everyone hopes they will never have to deal with personally, which makes it even more important that we find positive and supportive ways to deal with these situations. Below you will find resources related to deal with grief, loss, and emotional turmoil.

RESOURCES

SafeUT App

District Crisis Response Team

Divorce Education For Children

 http://www.suicide.org/hotlines/utah-suicide-hotlines.html  

https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/   

Traumatic Brain Injury

Milestones

Attention:
3 years of age -  Attends to key aspects of an object or situation. Attends to amount. Looks for casual mechanisms to figure out how they work.
4 years of age -  Pays attention to special visual, auditory, tactile aspects of objects/situations. Attends to degree of difference (organizes by size, shape).
5 years of age -  Attends to the orientation of objects, letters, pictures. Attends to long stories when read, especially w/pictures.
6 years of age -  Maintains attention through complex problem solving. Attends stories without pictures.


Memory:
3 years of age -  Remembers visual landmarks and fingerplays. Uses fingers to count to aid memory. Sings simple songs and rhymes. Can remember events up to 18 months in the past.
4 years of age -  Remembers 1 of several items shown and then hidden. Repeats 4 or more word sentences. Creates dramatic play based on pieces of remembers events/stories. Recalls 1-2 elements of a story that was just read.
5 years of age -  Gives detailed descriptions of past events. Recite verses, short passages, songs. Retells the main events of an unfamiliar story. Is aware of strategies to help remember things, such as repeating words.
6 years of age -  Uses several strategies to aid memory (repeats to self, leaves a clue to remind, organizes objects), remembers rules of board games, physical games. Remembers a large number of songs, details of books/movies.

Problem Solving:
3 years of age -  Systematically takes objects apart. Understands "why" and "how" questions. Tries alternatives when 1st solution doesn't work. Talks about how to solve a problem while working on it. Can put together a 4-5 piece puzzle.
4 years of age -  Puts things together. Organizes toys based on relationship to each other. Understands what to do in specific situations. Puts complex puzzles together (8-12 pieces). Categorizes by size, type, color, and shape.
5 years of age -  Uses "rules" and understanding rather than perceptions to figure out how to solve problems.
6 years of age -  Makes a plan to solve a problem, monitors progress toward a goal, changes approach as needed, and evaluates outcome. Uses literacy materials to solve a problem. Uses numerical reasoning to solve problems.
 

Social cognition:
3 years of age -  Realizes others' needs may be different from their own. May show signs of guild when he/she hurts another child. Can distinguish between happy emotions better than negative. 
4 years of age -  Describes own feelings. Is aware of peoples wants, feelings, and perceptions. Can differentiate others' point of view and own. Can do "if-then" with regards to others.
5 years of age -  Considers others' thoughts, imagination, knowledge. Makes inferences about the motivation of others. Plans how to influence others' goals. Compares and negotiates ideas with others in play. Deceives or plays tricks on others.
6 years of age -  Thinks about multiple characters; their actions, beliefs, and behaviors; and their influence on each other. 

Complexity of play:
3 years of age -  Likes to play with small items. Enjoys music, dance, and role playing. Acts out pretend play with others. Plays through a sequence of events in common routines.
4 years of age -  Builds, constructs enclosures. Performs play rituals. Prefers play with peers to play with adults. Builds 3-D block structures. Plays group games.
5 years of age -  Plays board games, but may change the rules. Has play rituals with peers. Creates elaborate socio-dramatic play. Makes costumes up. Likes chase games.
6 years of age - Creates and acts out own stories. Performs for others. Likes card and board games. Likes structured outdoor games and sports

-Linder, T. W. (2008). Transdisciplinary play-based assessment (2nd ed.). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Pub.

Forms



 

DMTSS logo

  MTSS Corner

Psych Supervisors

Dr. Heidi Block

Dr. Heidi Block - Supervisor

 
hblock@dsdmail.net
801-402-5482

 

School Psychologist for Canyon Creek Elementary

Elementary District Case Management

Recruitment

School Psychology Internship Program and Licensure

Provisional School Psychologists

Mentoring

Professional Development

Induction

Lauren Rich

Lauren Rich - Supervisor

Supervision and evaluation of Related Service providers

 

Career School Psychologists

Physical Therapists

Vision Teachers

Technology

School Psychologist for Wastach Elementary

Recruitment

Member of Crisis Team

Bethanie Monsen-Ford

Bethanie Monsen-Ford - Supervisor

 
 

 

Adapted Physical Education Teachers

Psychometrists

Career School Psychologists

Hearing Teachers

School Psychologist for Sand Springs Elementary

Professional Development/MIDAS

Recruitment