What is an Educational Child and Adolescent Psychologist?
An Educational Child Adolescent Psychologist, or sometimes EP for short, is someone who has been specially trained to understand how children and young people behave, think, learn and develop.
Who does the Psychologist meet?
Psychologists meet children and young people aged 0-26 years.
We meet with:
Infants and children whose needs relate to:
- play skills
- communication skills
- relationships with others
- emotional development
- physical and or sensory development
Young people who need help with:
- school or college work
- emotional/mental health and wellbeing
- relationships with others
- study skills
- parents and carers seeking support
Who else does the psychologist work with?
Psychologists work with parents, carers, teacher, tutors and other professionals. They all work together to try to help the child/young person do better at home, in school or in college.
Where will I meet with the psychologist?
The psychologist will make contact with you to decide together where is best to meet. Sometimes we will invite you to come to a consulting room or we will come to your school/college/nursery, and if necessary, your home.
What do educational psychologists do?
Often the psychologist might:
- talk to you and school staff about the child/young person and what approaches have been tried so far
- discuss further action for helping the child/young person
They may also:
- look at the child/young person’s work
- observe the child/young person in the classroom or playground
- work with the child/young person out of the classroom (in consulting room); very young children may be accompanied by an adult they know well
- use some activities or assessments to gain a clear understanding of the child/young person’s strengths and difficulties
- if appropriate the psychologist will suggest further intervention which she may carry out herself or refer onto another professional specialist
What assessments do educational psychologists use?
For the individual part of the assessment with the children we use a whole range of assessments, depending on the purpose of the EP involvement. For example, we are registered with Pearson’s Q Interactive which allows us to administer several psychometric assessments such as the WISC (cognitive ability) and the WIAT (individual achievement subtests) and many more.
We also use Dynamic Assessment which can often highlight a child’s meta cognitive skills, learning behaviours, and their potential for certain interventions or teaching strategies. (For example, Cognitive Ability Profile CAP, 16-word memory assessment, and play assessment for those under 5 years). For children experiencing social emotional or mental health difficulties we may also like to use assessments related to Personal Construct Psychology (e.g. Drawing the Ideal Self, Heather Moran), which explores the child’s sense of self, their emotional intelligence and their perception of themselves in relation to the systems around them (such as how they relate to family, school, friendships).
Assessment for children who may be suffering from ADHD, or for those who may be on the Autistic Spectrum, we use observation and consultation, alongside some screening measures. We also offer post-diagnosis support as this is very important. In line with the SEN code of practice, we work in a person-centred way to elicit the child’s views, to do this we use engaging activity assessments such as Little Box of Big Questions (Gersch and Lipscomb); and to give a voice to those children with limited language, we can use various resources such as Talking Mats.
What will happen when I meet with the psychologist?
Your views and knowledge of your child are important in helping us understand your child’s strengths and difficulties. You are best placed to say what your child is like at home and out of school and college. The psychologist will ask you some questions about your child, including what he or she enjoys doing and about any concerns that you have about your child’s development and wellbeing. The psychologist might want to observe your child playing or to spend some time playing with your child (play assessment). The psychologist may get in touch and share (with your permission) information with other professionals working with your child, for example a speech and language therapist.
The psychologist is interested in what you think is happening at the moment. She may ask a number of questions, such as:
- how do you learn best?
- what do you like doing? What do you find difficult?
- what would help you at home or at school?
- how would you like things to change?
She may ask you to do some activities to find out how you learn, and any support needs you may have. She may do some further work with you or ask someone else to help support you.
What happens next?
The psychologist may see you again. She may meet with you several times or you may not need to meet her again. The psychologist will talk to you about the work you did together. She will help you work with your tutors and/or teachers and family to make a plan specially for you. Often psychologists will write a summary report which will be talked through with you by the psychologist or your parents.
If you have any other questions please ask your parents or school staff, or the psychologist when you meet with her.