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1 “ Psychological Counseling & Academic Support: Key Factors in Supporting Learning Different Children Georgia-Gina Thanopoulou, Ed. M., M. A,. Harvard.

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Presentation on theme: "1 “ Psychological Counseling & Academic Support: Key Factors in Supporting Learning Different Children Georgia-Gina Thanopoulou, Ed. M., M. A,. Harvard."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 “ Psychological Counseling & Academic Support: Key Factors in Supporting Learning Different Children Georgia-Gina Thanopoulou, Ed. M., M. A,. Harvard University Counseling Psychologist, Director of the Counseling Center

2 2 Questions regarding an LD child “ Who is this Child? ” “ Have you seen this child ? ”  A child that is an intelligent child but fails in school?  A child that goes to Primary school and writes 41 for 14, p for d or b?  A child that is so easily distracted and can hear the dog barking but can ’ t hear the teacher talking?  A child that very easily forgets names of people, places, things but does remember every detail of TV ads?  A child that loses his homework, misplaces books and personal belongings?  A child that says whatever pops into his head?  A child that says I don ’ t care, I can ’ t do it, I won ’ t do it, and who would rather be called “ bad than stupid ” ? If you know such a child, then you have or have worked with If you know such a child, then you have or have worked with Children with Learning Differences (LD)

3 3 The Psychological and Academic profile of the LD Students  Depression  Isolation  Indifference, withdrawal  Sadness, loneliness, low self esteem  Need to escape from reality  Need to create “own world”  Aggressive, violent behavior  Anger, negativity  Juvenile delinquency Low Academic Achievement & Antisocial Behavior The Mask An angry, aggressive “impossible” child External Characteristics (age & grade appropriate)  Difficulty in the “traditional” way of learning  Difficulty in perceiving, decoding, processing & storing info  Difficulty in understanding & following instructions  Difficulty in sustaining attention, hyperactivity & impulsivity (ADHD)  Exhibits antisocial behavior, academic failure and lack of balance Symptoms LD Students Internal Characteristics (age & grade appropriate)  Low self esteem, confused self image  Rejection of self and lack of faith in abilities  Stigma of being different and inferiority feelings  Deep inner pain and disappointment  Deep internal confusion and anger The Reality A lonely, confused, discouraged, disappointed, sad child

4 4 The Vicious Cycle of an LD Student Symptoms  Different way of learning & understanding  Different way of decoding & processing  Different way of storing & reproducing info  Difficulty in concentration & hyperactivity Etiology Learning Differences (Difficulties, Disabilities) Cognitive Academic Effects  Low academic achievement  Academic, personal differences Psychological & Social Effects  Stigma of being different  Social rejection from self and others  Inferiority feelings and low self esteem Behaviors  Antisocial behavior (depression or aggression)  Need to follow alternative (-)ve solutions  Need acceptance & recognition  Juvenile delinquency More social and psychological problems More academic problems and gaps DEAD END Repetition of the same vicious circle

5 5 The LD Child and Its Therapeutic Cycle Child Counselling Psychologist Child Special Educator Child Counselling Psychologist Parent

6 6 How the Special Educator can help LD children  Handle their weaknesses  Work around these weaknesses  See their academic differences, not as disabilities or as blocks in their development, but as challenges  Teach them how to master weaknesses  Turn their differences into abilities  Appreciate their unique talents  Help them develop into wonderful, capable, successful human beings

7 7 Therapeutic Triangle Family / Parents Child School Counsellors Special Educators Constant Moving Energy Within the 3 Poles CommunicationCollaboration Constructive Exchange of Ideas, Actions, and Emotions

8 8 The Role of Counselling Psychologists & Special Educators Counselors and special educators, through effective counseling and teaching, can become the most important "catalysts" for the cognitive and emotional development of LD children, in order to support and inspire them, to move from a marginalized, stigmatized life into a life that can be full of abilities and wonderful possibilities for balance, happiness and development

9 Psychoeducational Assessment and Diagnosis Psychoeducational Assessment and Diagnosis Lea Pateras, M.Ed. Educational Psychologist Diagnostic Assessment Specialist 9

10 Referral Initiation Referral instigated by: Referral instigated by: –Teachers / Parents Child’s age at referral Child’s age at referral –Variability 10

11 Common reasons for referral - Difficulty acquiring: reading (decoding, comprehension, speed), writing (spelling, handwriting, spatial presentation, structure, speed, effective use of language etc), math (word problems, calculations, understanding and application). - Difficulty acquiring: reading (decoding, comprehension, speed), writing (spelling, handwriting, spatial presentation, structure, speed, effective use of language etc), math (word problems, calculations, understanding and application). –Difficulty sustaining concentration for extended time periods. –Low achievement in spite of seemingly good intellectual ability –Disorganization –Slow processing of information 11

12 –Difficulty understanding and applying concepts –Difficulty expressing him/herself orally and/or in writing –Difficulty copying information –Difficulty retaining taught information / need for excessive repetitions –Poor formation of handwriting –Inconsistencies in learning –Resistance to HW –LD Stereotypes 12

13 Purpose of Psychoeducational Assessment –Identify if LD exists, type of LD and severity level. –Gain insight into the child’s learning profile –Allow access to appropriate intervention and accommodations –What if assessment shows there is no LD? 13

14 Steps in the Assessment Process: - Meeting with parents to obtain the - Meeting with parents to obtain the child’s developmental history and child’s developmental history and background information. background information. - Information from other sources, such as teachers, tutors, or colleagues who have worked with the child. 14

15 Psychoeducational Testing Assessment of Intellectual / Cognitive skills- Verbal and non verbal components. Assessment of Intellectual / Cognitive skills- Verbal and non verbal components. –WISC-IV – Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children –WJ-III- Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability Assessment of four primary Achievement areas: Oral Language, Writing, Reading, Math. Assessment of four primary Achievement areas: Oral Language, Writing, Reading, Math. –WIAT-III- Wechsler Individual Achievement Tests –WJ-III- Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement 15

16 Possibly: Possibly: –Testing for ADHD –Testing for emotional issues (self-esteem, anxiety, motivation etc) –More specialized testing for particular cognitive abilities (e.g VMI) Ensuring favorable testing conditions. Ensuring favorable testing conditions. Time considerations Time considerations 16

17 After test administration Scoring and analysis. Scoring and analysis. Determine functional limitations. The impact of the findings on the child’s learning, academic and/or social functioning, well- being and school achievement. Determine functional limitations. The impact of the findings on the child’s learning, academic and/or social functioning, well- being and school achievement. Written assessment report. Documentation and clear diagnosis. Classification systems. Written assessment report. Documentation and clear diagnosis. Classification systems. Issue of use of standardized testing and language of testing Issue of use of standardized testing and language of testing 17

18 Recommendations Derive recommendations for school and home setting. Includes classroom accommodations for specific needs. Derive recommendations for school and home setting. Includes classroom accommodations for specific needs. Examples of classroom accommodations: Examples of classroom accommodations: Frontal seating in class Frontal seating in class Use of laptop Use of laptop Repetition / rewording instructions Repetition / rewording instructions Extra time on tests Extra time on tests 18

19 Provision of scribe and / or reader. Provision of scribe and / or reader. Allow breaks Allow breaks Cuing on task Cuing on task Modification of materials Modification of materials Breaking down tasks Breaking down tasks Multisensory teaching approach Multisensory teaching approach –Learning Center placement or not- learning support intervention 19

20 Informing teachers Informing teachers Applications to external organizations for accommodations (e.g. IBO, collegeboard, ETS) Applications to external organizations for accommodations (e.g. IBO, collegeboard, ETS) Re-Assessment time frame Re-Assessment time frame 20

21 The psychoeducational assessment as a stepping stone An assessment is not about finding a label for the child. An assessment is not about finding a label for the child. An assessment is about understanding the child’s learning profile and responding to it in the most effective way. An assessment is about understanding the child’s learning profile and responding to it in the most effective way. 21

22 Academic Support In In The Learning Center Faye Pattakou, M.A. Learning Center Specialist Learning Center Coordinator

23 Who works with my child? Who works with my child? What is the purpose of this service? What is the purpose of this service? What services is my child receiving through the Learning Center (LC)? What services is my child receiving through the Learning Center (LC)? What are some other services the learning specialists provide? What are some other services the learning specialists provide? What are some examples of a lesson in the LC? What are some examples of a lesson in the LC? Is homework completed in the LC? Is homework completed in the LC? Guiding Questions

24 Psychoeducational assessment Psychoeducational assessment Mainstream classroom accommodations Mainstream classroom accommodations IB accommodations IB accommodations Meetings with teachers Meetings with teachers Tests in the Center Tests in the Center Individualized Educational Plans Individualized Educational Plans Weekly monitoring forms Weekly monitoring forms 1-1 or small group support 1-1 or small group support MYP collaboration MYP collaboration Behavior modification plans Behavior modification plans What services does the LC offer?

25 Provide teachers with tips for effective group management. Provide teachers with tips for effective group management. Give parents tips for structuring students at home. Give parents tips for structuring students at home. Teach students self-advocacy- self needs. Ex: I need to sit in the front, I need to take my test in the LC. Teach students self-advocacy- self needs. Ex: I need to sit in the front, I need to take my test in the LC. Teach social skills- friendships, appropriate classroom behavior. Teach social skills- friendships, appropriate classroom behavior. Speak Listen to students and encourage counseling. Speak Listen to students and encourage counseling. What are some other services offered?

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27 The IBO states: The IBO states: Teaching generic learning strategies separately from teaching academic content tends to result in students’ failure to apply these strategies when it really counts, which is in learning academic content as well as in daily living. Teaching generic learning strategies separately from teaching academic content tends to result in students’ failure to apply these strategies when it really counts, which is in learning academic content as well as in daily living. Is homework completed in the LC?

28 Students must be helped to create an inner voice that will allow them to create order. They must be taught strategies to help them build on their strengths and support and often circumvent areas of weakness. One way to eradicate learned helplessness is to teach students how to learn! Here are some learning tricks to trigger memory, aids to help students focus and ways to keep them on task. Students must be helped to create an inner voice that will allow them to create order. They must be taught strategies to help them build on their strengths and support and often circumvent areas of weakness. One way to eradicate learned helplessness is to teach students how to learn! Here are some learning tricks to trigger memory, aids to help students focus and ways to keep them on task. Make it fun!

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30 If you give a starving man fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach the man how to fish you feed him for a lifetime. If you give a starving man fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach the man how to fish you feed him for a lifetime. Likewise, if you teach a student with learning difficulties a fact, you teach them for the moment but if you teach students how to learn, you help them for a lifetime. Likewise, if you teach a student with learning difficulties a fact, you teach them for the moment but if you teach students how to learn, you help them for a lifetime. Lets think about this..

31 Structure, consistency, support! Structure, consistency, support! Where do I keep my books? Where do I keep my books? How are my binders organized? How are my binders organized? When and where do I do my homework? When and where do I do my homework? When do I ask for help? When do I ask for help? How often do I take breaks? How often do I take breaks? What do I need for the next day? What do I need for the next day? When do I pack my bag? When do I pack my bag? When do I get to rest? When do I get to rest? Tips for parents

32 32 Key Final Points  Not risk to lose important minds and souls  As soon as possible appropriate help & support  Caring and specialized educators and counsellors  Appropriate specialized academic and psychological support  Honor the different learning style of each individual  Try to find unique solutions to accommodate individual learning styles  See the “whole child” - Holistic Education  Promote communication & collaboration between children, parents and school

33 33 References Davis, Ronald D. The Gift of Dyslexia. Why some of the Brightest People Can't Read and How They Can Learn. London: Souvenir Press, Davis, Ronald D. The Gift of Dyslexia. Why some of the Brightest People Can't Read and How They Can Learn. London: Souvenir Press, Gardner, Howard, The Unschooled Mind, How Children Think & How Schools Teach, Basic Books, New York, 1991 Gardner, Howard, The Unschooled Mind, How Children Think & How Schools Teach, Basic Books, New York, 1991 Gardner Howard, Frames of Mind, Basic Books, New York, 1988 Gardner Howard, Frames of Mind, Basic Books, New York, 1988 Goleman, Daniel, Emotional Intelligence, New York: Bantam Books,1994 Goleman, Daniel, Emotional Intelligence, New York: Bantam Books,1994 Mcloughlin, David, et al. Adult Dyslexia, Assessment, Counseling and Training, London: Whurr Publishers, Mcloughlin, David, et al. Adult Dyslexia, Assessment, Counseling and Training, London: Whurr Publishers, Reid Galvin, Dyslexia, A Practitioner's Handbook, New York: John Wiley & Sons, Reid Galvin, Dyslexia, A Practitioner's Handbook, New York: John Wiley & Sons, Schmidt, John, Counseling in Schools, Allyn and Bacon, Boston, 1993 Schmidt, John, Counseling in Schools, Allyn and Bacon, Boston, 1993 Smith, Sally, No Easy Answers, The Learning Disabled Child at Home and at School, New York: Bantam Books, Smith, Sally, No Easy Answers, The Learning Disabled Child at Home and at School, New York: Bantam Books, Video: Video: Rick Lavoie, When The Chips Are Down, Last One Picked, First One Picked On – The Social Implications of Learning Disabilities. Rick Lavoie, When The Chips Are Down, Last One Picked, First One Picked On – The Social Implications of Learning Disabilities.


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