The psychologist forms part of the educational support offered at Delta Park School and works within the trans-disciplinary team, as they have their own role to fulfill.
The Role of the Psychologist
The psychologist works as a member of the trans-disciplinary team, which consists of the teacher, parent(s) or guardian(s), speech therapist, occupational therapist and external professionals (such as neurologists, pediatricians, ENT’s etc.) if needed. In this manner, a holistic approach is taken in assessing and addressing each learner’s difficulties.
The primary function of the Psychology Department is to see to the emotional well-being of the learners as emotional difficulties contribute to a learner’s underachievement and vice versa. A learner’s self-esteem is usaully negatively affected and needs to be boosted to enable the learner to be better equipped to reach their full potential, academically and emotionally.
Provision is made for learners who require short-term individual psychotherapy. Due to limited resources, a learner in need of long-term psychotherapy is referred out to a professional in private practice. The approach taken in psychotherapy, whether this is play therapy or cognitive-behavioural therapy etc., will be determined by the learner’s individual needs, cognitive functioning and the issue/s being addressed.
Group psychotherapy sessions facilitate children with adjustment disorders, poor social skills, peer interaction difficulties etc. or who have similar difficulties.
Class consultation takes place if there are common issues, such as bullying, that need to be addressed within the context.
Parent / Guardian involvement is crucial as they form an important part of the multidisciplinary team. Parent counseling is provided to facilitate a more effective outcome in addressing a learner’s difficulties.
Psychological Assessments play an important role in the identification of learning and emotional problems. Once the difficulties the learner experiences have been identified, the appropriate intervention programme may be developed. Three primary areas are assessed. Namely; cognitive functioning, scholastic skills and emotional functioning.
The psychologist is there to support the parent(s) / guardian(s) and learners in any way that they are able to or they will refer to other professionals that may assist further.
Guidelines to improving your child’s Self-esteem
Most of our learners have low self-esteem, as they perceive themselves as being inadequate and as failures due to the various learning difficulties they experience. This low self-esteem can act as a further hindrance to the learner’s future progress as it can negatively affect their motivation and the effort they are prepared to put in towards improving their areas of difficulty. Furthermore, it can also negatively impact on their peer relations and other interpersonal relationships. Therefore, it is crucial that as much attention be given to improving a child’s self-esteem as is given to addressing the child’s various learning difficulties.
- Feeling good about yourself.
- Believing you can do things.
- Believing you can make choices.
- The strength to choose what’s right whether or not others are making the same decision.
- Self-esteem is positively related to just about all of the desirable outcomes we want from our children. Yet this is very hard to build in children that experience learning difficulties. Below are some tips on how you as parents can promote self-esteem in your children.
- Give your children frequent encouragement for their efforts, regardless of whether they succeed or not. Encouragement is NOT the same as praise for an accomplishment. Your love and support for your children should not be a reward they should have to earn.
- Help your children to set realistic goals. Expecting too much will set your children up for failure and undue pressure will lead to stress and avoidance. Help them to realise that doing one’s best is more important than winning the top prize.
- Set and reinforce rules, but when they are broken remember to criticise the action, NOT the child. Children need understandable limits which are applied consistently with respect and which evolve as they grow and mature.
- Give your children real responsibility. Children are capable people who can take on many tasks, with you as parent providing guidance and removing barriers. This will help your children to see themselves as valuable members of the team and the successful completion of these tasks will instil a sense of accomplishment.
- Get your children involved in healthy and enjoyable activities. Help them to find things that they like to do and can do, and help them to learn how.
- Spend time talking to your children. They need your support, listening, encouraging questions, sharing feelings, teaching values and explaining how they can learn from their mistakes.
- Show your children that you love them unconditionally. A hug and a sincere “I love you” helps them to feel good about themselves. They are NEVER too old to be told that they are loved and valued.
Parent Support Group
Parenting in our current social environment is a very challenging task and most likely one of the most difficult ‘jobs’ that a person may be faced with. This is particularly challenging for single parent families that may not have a support system to assist parents in dealing with challenging situations which may place a lot of stress and strain on the parent and within families. Thus, in order for parents to be able to support their child/children with the various challenges they are faced with, parents too need to be supported and provided with resources to assist them. In order for us to establish a Parent Support Group, we need to determine whether there is a need for such a group and whether parents are interested in attending. Therefore, please contact Ms. Tracy Kinnear, HOD Psychology, by Friday 3 May, should you be interested in participating in the Parent Support Group, either by email ( firstname.lastname@example.org ), by phone or a note in your child’s homework book/diary. All information provided will be treated as strictly confidential.