Child Experts Parents Should Know About
August 1, 2013
Today, I wish to provide information about the various specialists you may eventually need or have to meet.
As a parent, it’s important to understand that your child may display certain difficulties, disabilities, learning disorders, behavioral problems, or experience grief following a death or separation. To help your child cope and get through these trials, you may need help. Here is a list of the child specialists you may want to seek out and information about their respective fields of expertise.
After all, it’s better to know them before you need them ;-)
*The masculine form is used throughout this article to simplify reading.
The Family Coach
Does your child have behavior, anxiety or self-esteem problems? Do you worry about his development?
Parental coaching is a service that is currently gaining in popularity. It consists of seminars and workshops for parents to help them better understand the challenges they face in their role as educators. Family coaching is a relatively new profession and comprises individuals with a wide range of qualifications, e.g. some have training as educators in early childhood. However, parental coaching requires methods and skills that differ greatly from the traditional educational approach. Recommendations and reading the professional profiles of different coaches on their websites will guide you in choosing the coach you need, if necessary.
The Special Education Technician (special educator)
This expert is also known as a special educator and helps children or adolescents with or likely to develop adjustment difficulties or social exclusion. He works with people who have physical and psychological disabilities, behavior problems, mental disorders and health-related disorders. He operates both in the public and private sectors.
In Quebec, people who want this service must call their local CLSC.
The Occupational Therapist
Jenna covers her ears and cries whenever there’s music playing in the room and she doesn’t like to be touched. Suzy’s motor skills are uncoordinated; she lacks balance, has difficulty catching a ball, and often stumbles. Lucas has trouble handling small objects and using school tools such as pencils and scissors. These are a few examples of issues that could be addressed by an occupational therapist.
Make sure the therapist in question is a member of the:
Ordre des ergothérapeutes du Québec; or the
New Brunswick Association of Occupational Therapists.
To learn more about this profession, click here.
This specialist screens, diagnoses and evaluates learning disabilities or autism-spectrum disorders. He will usually be referred by a pediatrician or remedial teacher.
The main neuropsychology clinics in Quebec are:
* Le Centre d’évaluation neuropsychologique et d’orientation psychologique (CENOP)
* The Montreal Neuropsychologist Center
* Le Centre d’intervention multidisciplinaire pour enfants (CIME)
The Remedial Teacher (special education teacher)
The remedial teacher is a professional who works with children, adolescents or adults who learn differently. He is interested in the overall development of the learner. As part of his duties, he must prevent, identify and correct the student’s difficulties and learning disabilities. In addition, he seeks to encourage the learner to develop his own learning style in order to instil cognitive and emotional strategies, thus increasing confidence. Make sure the professional is a member of the Association des orthopédagogues du Québec (ADOQ).
In Quebec, remedial teachers mainly operate within school boards, but a list of professionals with a private practice is available on the ADOQ website. You can thus benefit from a more personalized, one-on-one service. Note that several Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs) now cover, in whole or in part, the costs for this service in the private sector. Contact your company’s insurance policy to learn about the coverage offered at your workplace.
The Speech-Language Pathologist (speech therapist)
A speech therapist is a professional who evaluates and treats a variety of problems related to language and communication. The therapist’s methods aim to develop the child’s ability to communicate, and to encourage his independence and his integration in family, school and social activities. For information to help you determine whether or not your child’s speech and language development is progressing normally, click here.
If you are concerned, it’s always better to speak to a professional than to wait for things to work themselves out on their own. And you will get the reassurance you need if nothing is wrong.
The pediatrician specializes in the medical care of children aged 0 to 18 years. This physician’s extensive training, daily experience and ongoing professional development are all centred on this age group; he treats children from birth (sometimes even at a prenatal stage) to adolescence. Pediatrics is a practice intended for children whose bodies, in full development, are in constant transformation.
The psychoeducator is trained to work with people with adjustment difficulties that manifest at a behavioral level, whether at school or at home. He makes clinical assessments and establishes intervention plans in addition to developing and heading programs tailored to the needs of his patients. Furthermore, in addition to his work with individuals or groups, the psychoeducator advises professionals from different fields or operating within the organizations where he works.
The above also applies in the schools in which the psychoeducator offers information and support to teachers, school administrators and parents by discussing the nature, cases and impacts of social maladjustment. Prevention, approach, educative practices and effective measures are also issues that are addressed.
The psychologist is a professional with a university education which focuses on the understanding of human behavior. He can help your child overcome difficult stages or particular anxieties; he can also use psychological tests to assess your child or teenager’s intellectual capacities or the different aspects of his personality.
The psychologist is capable of determining whether or not a child is cognitively gifted. He can also issue a school waiver or provide advice about a child or adolescent’s social and emotional development.
I hope this overview of the services and specialists available will come in handy!