What do School Psychologists do?
"We are often frontline general practitioners. We see everything from simple learning problems to more complex social-emotional mental health difficulties, complex dual diagnosis, multi-diagnoses difficulties - we are faced with all of those things, so we have to know a lot about a lot of different areas."
- Dr. Janice Kurita, Co-ordinator Psychological Services TVDSB
How can school psychologists help students - as part of a school team?
School psychologists work as part of an overall school team to support students. Collaboration with the classroom teacher, learning resource staff, school administrators and community resources is the key to progress in helping students.
"As part of the multidisciplinary team, we really serve that function of of taking lots of information and putting it together to try and form the best understanding of the individual child."
- Dr. Anthony Folino, Psychological Services TVDSB
What are the biggest challenges?
Some issues school psychologists face present unique challenges in making progress with complex situations. There is never enough time or adequate resources to provide ideal solutions for every student. Preparing to meet these challenges is the key to survival in the job.
"One of the biggest challenges is really the diverse skills and knowledge that you have to be able to bring into your role… The role really requires you to be both a generalist… [and] also a specialist as well."
- Dr. Colin King, Director of the Child and Youth Development Clinic at Western University
What are the rewarding parts of the job?
School psychologists have a demanding role in the school system but there are many rewards in their job. Helping students and collaborating with parents, teachers and community professionals to make a difference in a student's life is the number one reward.
"We have the opportunity to work with so many different people - everyone from parents to classroom teachers to other professionals… We have speech and language pathologists; teachers who have expertise in developmental disability or in mental health; and then sometimes community experts will come to the table and meet with us; pediatricians; occupational therapists; other people who are working with some of our students who have special needs. That opportunity to collaborate with so many people around the student is a very energizing and rewarding part of the job."
- Dr. Deborah Reitzel-Jaffe, Psychological Services TVDSB