School Psychologist: A Day in the Life

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A teacher wants Johnny placed in a special-education class, so you make a classroom observation. You see something different, however. If the teacher provided some individualized instruction for Johnny, he probably wouldn't need special ed. The teacher isn't pleased with that assessment, but you have the final say. Next, you test another child's eligibility for special education. This time, you administer an intelligence test, an achievement battery, learning disability diagnostic tests, and personality instruments, and write the results and recommendations in a three-page, single-spaced report. The most stressful part of your day is a meeting to agree on the annual individualized education plan for a severely disabled child—most of the time, he rocks back and forth. The parent and teacher demand more services for the child, while the principal argues they're not cost-effective. You facilitate the decision making. The final activity of the day is illuminating: your weekly sexuality discussion group with seventh-graders.