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1 WESTERN EDUCATION & LIBRARY BOARD ~ EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE ~ Information Booklet for Parents, Schools and Agencies

2 C O N T E N T S PAGE INTRODUCTION 2 AIMS OF THE EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE 2 WHAT IS AN EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST? 3 THE WORK OF THE EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE 5 DIRECT INVOLVEMENT WITH CHILDREN 6 WORKING THROUGH ADULTS 11 REFERRALS TO THE EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE 14 PSYCHOLOGISTS REPORTING TO PARENTS, SCHOOLS AND OTHER AGENCIES 17 CONTACT DETAILS FOR THE EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE 19 WELB website: 1

3 INTRODUCTION This booklet has been written to provide parents, schools and professional colleagues with information about the Educational Psychology Service, what we can offer and how to make contact with the Service. When writing this document we have had regard to the: The Children (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 Disability Discrimination Act 1995 Education (Northern Ireland) Order 1996 Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs (1998) Supplement to the Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs (2005) Special Educational Needs and Disability (Northern Ireland) Order 2005 Special Needs Policy, Western Education & Library Board, The Educational Psychology Service, under the direction of the Principal Psychologist, is organised in three teams based in Omagh, Londonderry and Enniskillen. Each team is led by an Area Senior Psychologist. The Omagh team covers Omagh and Strabane District Council areas. The Londonderry team covers Derry City and Limavady Borough Council areas. The Enniskillen team covers Fermanagh District Council area. Addresses and telephone numbers may be found on Page 19. AIMS OF THE EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE The aim of the Educational Psychology Service is to provide advice and recommendations in the context of learning, emotional and behavioural problems as they affect or are presented by children and young persons in the age range from birth to nineteen years and where possible to prevent these problems arising. The Educational Psychology Service of the Western Education and Library Board aims to provide an effective, high quality service delivered in a fair and equitable manner to children and young persons who reside within its area. In this document he and his include she and her. Parent includes any person who has parental responsibility. 2

4 WHAT IS AN EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST? Qualifications A new three year training course, resulting in a doctorate qualification for educational psychologists is to begin at Queens University Belfast in September However, typically an educational psychologist currently working within Northern Ireland will have the following: an Honours degree in Psychology or equivalent a recognised teaching qualification either a) not less than two years' full time teaching experience or b) five years full time experience of working as an Educational Psychologist with a recognised Education Authority in Great Britain or elsewhere a post-graduate professional training currently MSc in Educational and Developmental Psychology. Training During their professional training educational psychologists will study: normal and abnormal child and adolescent development the development of children s cognitive, social, physical, emotional, behavioural, play and communication skills the psychological aspects of educating children with disabilities, special needs, medical conditions and specific syndromes children s attitudes, self-concepts, motivation and personality styles the psychology of learning and teaching family influences on development and functioning the rights of parents and children legislation relating to Education, Special Education and Child Welfare child protection issues 3

5 safe working practices school influences on child development and educational progress (e.g. classroom management, parent involvement, school organisation, teacher expectation, teaching methods) inclusive educational practices special school and unit provision the role of other relevant professionals the requirements of children on the autistic spectrum (ASD) the special needs of children with hearing and visual impairment the effects of specific learning difficulty e.g. dyslexia (SpLD) on children s educational progress management of bereavement and critical incidents different models of service delivery the additional needs of looked after children (LAC) and other ethnic or minority groups. Educational psychologists acquire skills in: the psychology of teaching consultation assessment and diagnosis collaborative approaches reporting in oral and written form problem solving training others counselling intervention research information technology mediation and management. Educational psychologists enhance and develop their knowledge and skills through continuous professional development which includes attending courses, keeping up to date with current research and acquiring additional qualifications. 4

6 THE WORK OF THE EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE The Educational Psychology Service (EPS) of the Western Education & Library Board (WELB) has many and varied functions. The EPS uses a Time Allocation model of service delivery to schools. This was implemented following a two-year pilot study in schools. When monitored and evaluated the outcome was that schools were strongly in favour of this model of service delivery. The model uses a formula in order to allocate the amount of time an educational psychologist spends in particular schools and guarantees a minimum level of service to schools based on the formula. It allows schools to identify priorities in consultation with the EPS and it ensures that these priorities are addressed within a short time frame. The Time Allocation model is monitored continuously with a view to further refinement of the formula as necessary. The EPS in all its dealings with schools and parents adheres to WELB s policy on Inclusive Educational Practice which reflects that of the Northern Ireland Strategy Group on Inclusion. In this context inclusion is defined as The process of planning to meet and of meeting the needs of all children and young people within the cultures, curricula and communities of schools in the fullest way possible, given: their rights, wishes and the extent of their needs the rights, wishes and needs of their peers, and the rights, wishes and needs of those adults who are responsible for them both at home and at school. The key principles of the policy, which is available on the WELB website, focus on Valuing Diversity, Entitlement, Participation, Individual Needs, Professional Development and Collective Responsibility. It can be noted that the WELB Educational Psychology Service collaborates with Services in the other Boards in Northern Ireland in areas of common interest. Several working parties are ongoing and many useful booklets and materials have been published to assist parents and schools in their work with children. Some examples of collaborative research are Acquired Brain Injury, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism, Bereavement, Critical Incidents, Developmental Co-ordination Disorder and Dyslexia. The Service also contributes to the standardisation of procedures in areas such as ICT and inclusive educational practice across the Boards to enhance service delivery. For the purpose of this document, EPS work is summarised under two major headings, namely Direct involvement with children and Working through adults. 5

7 DIRECT INVOLVEMENT WITH CHILDREN The major demand on the Service is for direct work with children which includes: individual assessment provision of advice and recommendations participation in discussions with parents and other professionals direct intervention with children. Individual assessment While there may be variations depending, for example, on the child s age and presenting difficulties, the assessment procedure will normally include some or all of the following: Information gathering Psychologists will consider for individual assessment well-documented and appropriate referrals which in the case of school-going children is by means of a comprehensive referral form updated in Where there is doubt regarding the appropriateness of the referral, contact will be made with the referror. Under Time Allocation, it is likely that a child referred for assessment has already been discussed during the earlier consultation meetings. Where a child has complex difficulties it is always beneficial to have preliminary discussion with the teacher and/or other professionals. In all cases the child s difficulties will be discussed with the parent(s). The discussion with the parent(s) will include all or some of the following areas: birth and developmental milestones medical history, physical development and play social and emotional development family circumstances educational history presenting problem and history. Checklists may be used to assist parents in providing some aspects of the above information. Parents are encouraged to voice any concerns they may have about the assessment and are given every opportunity to ask questions. Because a child s behaviour can vary from one situation to another it may be necessary for the educational psychologist to observe him in different settings, for example, at home, at playgroup, in school and in the playground. 6

8 During observation, depending on the presenting problems, the psychologist will take note of some or all of the following: relationships with other children relationships with adults coping with group activities play skills self-help skills concentration and attention span language skills including communication and interactions. Arrangements for interviewing and testing the child Educational psychologists have a duty of care towards the children and young people with whom they work. They will always behave in ways which promote the educational development and welfare of the child in line with guidance from the British Psychological Society, the Board s Code of Conduct and other relevant Health and Safety policies. Interviewing and testing may take place in a variety of settings, for example, in the child s home, playgroup, school, in the psychologist s office or the local health centre. Parents will be made aware that they are welcome to be present during the interviews and testing sessions, and will be informed of their likely duration. More than one session may be required for many children. Psychologists are aware of the anxieties and concerns that parents and children may have regarding referral and assessment. The psychologist will endeavour to ensure that the child and parent will feel comfortable, secure and at ease. Interviewing and testing at home When working in a child s home the psychologist will ensure that the parent remains at home throughout the visit. If the parent does not remain in the room the child should always feel able to make contact. Psychologists will never work in a house on their own with a child. To ensure that the child performs to the best of his ability, psychologists encourage parents to have a suitable table and chairs at which the child and psychologist may work in a room which should be quiet and free from distractions. Interviewing and testing in schools and other locations In the interests and protection of both child and psychologist, the psychologist will try to arrange that the interview and test session will be conducted in a room 7

9 where a staff member can randomly observe proceedings through a window or, where this is not possible, by making random visits. At all times, psychologists take account of relevant Board and Department of Education guidelines regarding child protection policy and procedures. Interviewing and testing the child Before testing begins, the psychologist will endeavour to form a positive relationship with the child. Some or all of the following measures will be used as appropriate: standardised tests criterion reference tests and checklists diagnostic tests observations and interviews. Through these measures the following abilities, skills, attainments and characteristics will be assessed as appropriate: developmental level motor functioning intellectual ability educational attainments reading, spelling, comprehension, writing and mathematics language and communication personality, motivation, behaviour, self-esteem, social interaction. Provision of advice and recommendations Following assessment, the educational psychologist will take one or more of the following steps in conjunction with parents as appropriate: provide reports (written and oral) to parents, teachers, community paediatricians and referrers provide programmes and/or materials to assist parents, teachers and classroom assistants in managing and teaching children organise counselling or intervention refer the child to the Health and Social Services Trust for further advice or assessment identify and recommend for Board Learning Support Services those children with - 8

10 developmental delay (pre-school children) moderate learning difficulties severe learning difficulties specific learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia) social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) speech and language difficulties sensory impairments autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) recommend adult support refer to the home tuition service recommend placement in a special school, unit or centre for children with severe or moderate learning difficulties, social, emotional and behavioural difficulties, speech and language difficulties or hearing impairment recommend statutory assessment by the Board in the case of preschool children contribute psychological advice to statutory assessment provide advice on post-primary provision required by children with Statements at time of Transfer provide advice on post primary provision for children moving into the Board s area provide advice in the context of special arrangements at GCSE and 'A' level examinations. In making their recommendations for special educational provision, psychologists adhere to the Board s criteria as set out in its Special Needs Policy. Prior to provision being offered, psychologists may discuss these children with relevant teachers through attendance at referral/admission meetings or through discussion with individual specialist teachers. Participation in discussions with parents and other professionals The psychologist will contribute a psychological perspective to: the Board s Special Educational Needs Panel in relation to statutory assessment case conferences in conjunction with Health and Social Services Trust staff to discuss children who have - developmental delay hearing impairment 9

11 visual impairment speech and language difficulties specific language impairment (SLI) physical disabilities medical conditions and syndromes having an impact on learning and behaviour social, emotional and behavioural difficulties (SEBD) autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder (AD(H)D) issues of child protection multi-agency support team (MAST) meetings consultation meetings in relation to Time Allocation interboard collaboration. Direct intervention with children The psychologist may work with or advise children either individually or in groups, as appropriate, regarding: study skills conflict management problem solving bullying self-esteem anger and behaviour management grief, loss, trauma and suicide relaxation techniques the nature of their condition/syndrome/difficulty and the implications. 10

12 WORKING THROUGH ADULTS The EPS is committed to enhancing the quality of teaching and learning for all children. This may be done by enlisting the support of appropriate adults as detailed below: psychological advice to adults regarding individual children projects involving adults and children courses for adults provision of information on working practices of educational psychologists materials, resources and programmes. Psychological advice to adults regarding individual children Parents Psychologists welcome approaches from parents who wish to discuss serious concerns regarding children in the pre-school or school going age group. Advice may be given at this stage based solely on the information provided by the parent. Teachers During school visits, opportunities frequently arise for the educational psychologist to give constructive advice on children causing concern. This advice is based solely on the information provided by the school, parents or other professionals. Projects involving adults and children Psychologists encourage teachers and parents to teach children a variety of learning and coping strategies. This may be done through promotion of and participation in projects such as DELTA, paired reading, cued spelling, peer tutoring, issues of bullying and the establishment of dyslexia friendly schools. Courses for adults Psychologists provide courses for parents, teachers and other professionals to enhance their skills and knowledge in the context of child development, management and learning. Topics include attention deficit (hyperactivity) disorder (AD(H)D), autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), behaviour management, bereavement, bullying, developmental co-ordination disorder (DCD)/dyspraxia, 11

13 hearing-impairment, language development, managing young children, play, preparing for school, specific language difficulties, specific learning difficulties (dyslexia) and visual impairment. Provision of information on working practices of educational psychologists Information and training is provided on topics such as ability and attainment testing for teachers, Code of Practice on the Identification and Assessment of Special Educational Needs (1998), critical incidents, functions of the Educational Psychology Service, interpretation of tests, referrals to the Educational Psychology Service, school SEN policies and Education Plans, suicide awareness, Time Allocation, Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) legislation. Materials, resources and programmes The Educational Psychology Service produces leaflets, booklets and programmes, occasionally in conjunction with other professionals, for parents, teachers and others. An EPS flier which aims to inform parents of the role of the educational psychologist with respect to their child, is available in schools and on the Board s website. A range of resources, information, advice and booklets is provided which include: Asperger s Syndrome Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (for parents) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (for schools) Autism Bereavement Bullying Challenging Behaviour Childhood Syndromes and Disorders Critical Incidents Critical Incident Response Team flier Cued Spelling Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD)/dyspraxia EPS flier Grief Matters managing bereavement and trauma in schools: a support pack Home Stimulation for Pre-school Children Key Words at Home Key Words at School Language Experience Programme for Individual Children Language for Mid-primary Years Language Programme the early years Multiplication Tables Programme for Individual Children 12

14 Paired Reading for Parents and Children Preparing for School advice for parents Pre-reading Programme Promoting Positive Behaviour Selective mutism Special Edition a language and reading programme for pre-school children Specific Language Impairment a general introduction Specific Learning Difficulty/Dyslexia Spelling Look, Cover, Write, Check a personalised programme SPELLWELB Study Skills The Education of Travellers. 13

15 REFERRALS TO THE EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE Referrals to the Educational Psychology Service may be made by those who have concerns about a child s social, emotional, educational and developmental progress in the age range from birth to nineteen years. Pre-school referrals Pre-school children are referred mainly by the Community Paediatrician and the local Health Service. Children attending nursery school may be referred by their Principal. Referrals from schools Procedures are laid down in the Code of Practice for the Identification and Assessment of Children with Special Educational Needs (1998) for schools to follow when referring children for assessment. The 1998 Code of Practice is currently under review. In keeping with the Code of Practice (1998) it is expected that the special educational needs of the majority of children will normally be addressed through Stages 1 and 2. Children are required to be working at Stage 3, with close involvement of parents, before a school will consider referring a child to the Educational Psychology Service for individual assessment. The Service engages in an early intervention, preventative approach in collaboration with schools. Since implementation of a Time Allocation Model of service delivery, a consultation system is in place which enables schools to discuss with their EP, children who are at the earlier school-based stages of the Code of Practice. This has the dual effect of reducing waiting times for those children who require individual assessment and of enabling psychologists to engage in other projects, research and in-service work in their schools. A key feature of the Code of Practice (1998) is the 5 Stage approach, which is summarised as follows. 1.8 In recognising that there is a continuum of needs, the Code sets out a five stage approach to the identification of children having learning difficulties, the assessment of their special educational needs and the making of whatever special educational provision is necessary to meet those needs. The first 3 stages are based in the school, calling as necessary on external specialists; at Stages 4 and 5 the Board shares responsibility with schools. Stage 1: Stage 2: teachers identify and register a child s special educational needs and, consulting the school s SEN co-ordinator, take initial action. the SEN co-ordinator takes lead responsibility for collecting and recording information and for co-ordinating the child s special educational provision, working with the child s teachers. 14

16 Stage 3: Stage 4: Stage 5: teacher and the SEN co-ordinator are supported by specialists from outside the school. the Board considers the need for a statutory assessment and, if appropriate, makes a multi-disciplinary assessment. the Board considers the need for a statement of special educational needs; if appropriate, it makes a statement and arranges, monitors and reviews provision. As outlined on Page 6, a standard referral form must be completed in respect of every child who is referred for psychological assessment at Stage 3. The Code of Practice places great emphasis on parental involvement in the identification and assessment of their child s special needs. It is vitally important that the completed referral form is shown to, discussed with and signed by the parent who in doing so is giving permission for the assessment. Psychologists will not assess children without parental permission. It is expected that the detailed record keeping required of schools by the Code of Practice at all Stages will provide the basis for the comprehensive information to be included in the referral form. To this form must be attached copies of the Education Plans and outcomes of review meetings. In order to achieve as full an assessment as possible it is important that the wealth of information acquired by the school over the years is made available to the educational psychologist. It is widely recognised that parents and schools may have different views of a child s needs because they each see children in different settings. As outlined on Page 5, under Time Allocation, schools have the opportunity to prioritise referrals and will be given assistance in doing so by their psychologist. Referrals from other sources Referrals may be made by the Board s Special Education Section, Transfer Section and the Education Welfare Section. Occasionally parents, GPs and other health professionals may make referrals. It should be noted, however, that these referrals will be brought to the attention of the school with a view to ascertaining if a referral to the EPS is appropriate from the school s perspective. Statutory Assessments, which must be completed within the time scale set out in the Code of Practice, will be given priority. 15

17 Private psychological assessments and reports An educational psychologist in the employment of the Western Education and Library Board will not accept referrals for private assessment of children resident within the Board s area. If a child has had an assessment by a fully qualified educational psychologist not employed by the Western Education and Library Board, the Board s educational psychologist should be made aware of this, preferably together with the findings, prior to assessment. This is to ensure that testing by the Board s psychologist is not distorted by the effects of practice. If a parent provides a private educational psychologist s report to the Board s EPS, the parent will be advised to contact his child s school if he has not already done so. The school will advise the parent as to the child s position with reference to the stages of the Code of Practice and may refer the child to the Board s Educational Psychology Service if and when deemed appropriate. Although cognisance will be taken of the findings outlined in the private report, the Board will not make special educational provision based on these findings alone, as this would be to the disadvantage of those children solely dependent on assessment by the Board s psychologist. 16

18 PSYCHOLOGISTS REPORTING TO PARENTS, SCHOOLS AND OTHER AGENCIES Following assessment the educational psychologist will provide advice and make recommendations both orally and in writing. Oral reports Psychologists report their findings and recommendations to parents, teachers and, where necessary, to other professionals as soon as possible after assessment. During these discussions every opportunity is provided for them to comment, express any concerns they may have or seek clarification on any issue relating to assessment. Psychologists consider the discussion of their findings extremely important as it provides the opportunity to explain the psychological terminology which will be used in their written reports. Psychologists may also discuss, as appropriate, their findings with the child or young person at any time during or after the assessment. Psychologists may discuss their findings at multi-disciplinary meetings as listed on Pages 9 and 10. Parents are kept informed about these discussions by those who co-ordinate the meetings. Written reports Depending on the child s age and presenting difficulties the outcome of the assessment may be described under the following headings as appropriate: source of and reason for referral case history and views of parents/schools information as appropriate from other agencies child s behaviour, attitude and feelings during assessment cognitive ability areas of development including motor, social, self-help and play skills language reading spelling written work mathematics emotional and behavioural factors further consultations with child, parents and other professionals interpretation of findings summary and conclusions advice and recommendations. 17

19 Following discussion with parents, copies of reports will be sent to parents, schools and referrers normally within four weeks of completion of assessment. Reports will also be provided to other relevant professionals and, as appropriate, to Board Officers such as those in the Special Education, Education Welfare and Transfer Sections, on the basis of parental approval. It is expected that reports will always be treated with appropriate confidentiality by all recipients. Psychological reports invite the recipients to seek clarification, if necessary, from the author. Incorporated in each written report is a recommendation that it should be brought to the attention of all who teach or are likely to teach the child. This is to ensure that new teachers are fully acquainted with his areas of difficulty which may require extra attention, as well as his areas of strength. When children change school it is recommended that the school attended should forward relevant psychological reports to the new school. Due regard should always be paid to the date of the report as earlier reports may not remain completely relevant with the passage of time. It is expected that schools intending to forward reports will consult fully with parents. Psychologists will be happy to offer guidance on the appropriateness of forwarding reports. The Board is required to keep reports on all young people until they are twentyfive years of age. 18

20 CONTACT DETAILS FOR THE EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY SERVICE Educational Psychology Service Western Education & Library Board 1 Hospital Road OMAGH Co Tyrone BT79 0AW Tel: Fax: Educational Psychology Service 28 Dublin Road ENNISKILLEN Co Fermanagh BT74 6HN Tel: Fax: Educational Psychology Service Maydown House 1 Maydown Road LONDONDERRY Co Derry BT47 6UF Tel: Fax: Further elaboration on the contents of this booklet may be obtained at any of the above locations. 19

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