Counseling and Psychological Services
Per the Texas Education Agency (TEA), Texas school districts provide services to improve students' mental, emotional, and social health. These services include individual and group assessments, interventions, and referrals. Organizational assessment and consultation skills of counselors and psychologists contribute to the health of students and the health of the school environment. Professionals such as certified school counselors, psychologists, and social workers provide these services.
Counseling services, according to IDEA, mean services provided by qualified mental health professionals. In Birdville ISD, these services may be provided by Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSPs), professional school counselors, or other qualified personnel such as interns supervised by licensed or certified professionals. Counseling as a related service assists students in accessing and benefiting from specialized instruction provided in special education.
Counseling as a Related Service and Psychological Services may be provided to students with disabilities who have chronic severe behavioral, emotional, or social difficulties, and additional school support is required to help the student achieve annual goals.
Parent counseling and training emphasize the importance of parents as active participants in their child's education. According to IDEA, parent counseling and training mean: (a) Assisting parents in understanding the special needs of the student, (b) Providing parents with information about child development, and (c) Helping parents to acquire the necessary skills that will allow them to support the implementation of their child's IEP or Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP). Parent counseling and training is identified by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as one of the eleven strategies or options an ARD/IEP Committee may choose for a student with autism to facilitate carry-over of communication skills or behavior strategies in the home.
Psychological Services as a related service, according to IDEA, include:
- Administering psychological and educational tests, and other assessment procedures,
- Interpreting assessment results,
- Obtaining, integrating, and interpreting information about student behavior and conditions relating to learning,
- Consulting with other staff members in planning school programs to meet the special education needs of students as indicated by psychological tests, interviews, direct observation, and behavioral evaluations,
- Planning and managing a program of psychological services, including psychological counseling for students and parents, and
- Assisting in developing positive behavioral intervention strategies.
Psychological services as defined by IDEA include some services not defined strictly as psychological and therefore can be appropriately provided by other trained personnel including, but not limited to, behavior specialists, school social workers, diagnostic specialists, interns, and counselors.
In Texas, certain services are defined by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (TSBEP) as ‘psychological services in the schools and therefore can only be provided by those individuals licensed as an LSSP by the TSBEP. Specialists in School Psychology Interns supervised by an LSSP may also provide psychological services.
An ARD/IEP committee is responsible for determining the appropriateness of psychological services as a related service based on the individual education needs of a student, regardless of the disability categories, and with the recommendations and expertise provided by the professionals involved in assessing these services. Parents are invited to participate in the ARD/IEP committee decision-making process. Related services are provided to an eligible student with a disability at no cost to the parents or guardian.
What We Do
The need for counseling or psychological services is examined in an evaluation. While this is often addressed in psychological evaluation once a student is already receiving special education services, evaluation for counseling may be necessary to examine difficulties as they arise.
The referral for counseling or psychological services evaluation is initiated by the ARD/IEP Committee.
If eligible for services, an IEP is developed to specify the goals/objectives, projected begin and end date, amount, frequency, duration, and location of the services.
Progress reports explaining the student’s progress toward the annual IEP goals will be provided by parents, teachers, and relevant school personnel regularly.
Any changes in the number of services listed in the IEP must be made at an ARD/IEP meeting.
Counseling or psychological services providers should be present at an ARD/IEP meeting when the need for the services is discussed or when the progress of the services is reviewed. Service providers may submit their findings in writing if the IEP committee agrees to excuse them from the meeting.
While a formal evaluation can be performed when dismissal from services is considered, it is not required that a formal evaluation be completed to dismiss a student from counseling or psychological services as a related service if data supporting dismissal is reviewed.
Dismissal from counseling or psychological services should be based on data from a variety of sources, including teacher observations, parent input, mastery of IEP goals and objectives, performance on statewide assessments, disciplinary referrals, and any other relevant data.
The decision to dismiss from a related service is determined by the ARD committee and supporting documentation is included in the student’s IEP document.
Counseling and Psychological Services as a Related Service in the IEP
When an ARD/IEP Committee determines the need for counseling or psychological services to support the student’s special education program, a specially designed counseling or psychological services program is included as part of the student’s IEP. The support and services provided are documented on IEPs and indicated as part of the progress reporting system to parents and adult students.
The goals for services:
- Focus on school-related issues,
- Are behavior and/or learning-based?
- Are minimally intrusive,
- Emphasize practical and immediate application rather than the development of insight, and
- It is necessary for the student to make educational and/or behavioral progress and access their IEP.
Counseling Services may be provided by:
- Licensed Specialists in School Psychology (LSSPs)
- Professional School Counselors
- Licensed Professional Counselors (LPCs)
- Other qualified professionals such as interns are under the supervision of a certified or licensed professional.
Psychological Services may be provided by:
In Texas, certain services as defined by the Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (TSBEP) are considered ‘psychological services’ and therefore can only be provided by those individuals licensed as an LSSP by the TSBEP. Specialists in School Psychology Interns supervised by an LSSP may also provide psychological services.
Counseling requires that a trusting and confidential working relationship be established with the student.
Counselors interact with students individually or in small groups.
The focus is on problem-solving, decision-making, and discovering personal meaning related to learning and development.
Psychological Services provided in Birdville ISD may include ongoing consultation and can be provided as direct services, indirect services, or a combination.
Psychological services are assigned according to the assessment of the intensity of need.
Psychological Services providers consult and collaborate with parents, school personnel, medical professionals, and other professional service providers to develop and implement strategies to help students succeed.
The focus is on assisting school staff, students, and parents/families to solve problems related to learning and student behavior.
National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
Texas State Board of Examiners of Psychologists (TSBEP)
Texas Association of School Psychologists (TASP)