May 6, 2013

Off Campus: School psychologists offer critical support to Maine students

These professionals respond to small and large crises and help youths stay on track to graduate.

By RACHEL BROWN

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Using an effective intervention, the student was able to develop appropriate toileting skills and stay in school.

This year, a high school student was referred to special education by teachers who thought he needed to be in an out-of-district day treatment program.

The school psychologist developed a positive behavior support plan for the student and he has been able to be successful in his home school.

There are 245 school psychologists in Maine, and a majority graduated from the state's only school psychology program, at USM.

This program provides comprehensive preparation for school psychology practice. In the last five years, 100 percent of graduates have found employment before or immediately after degree completion.

Both nationally and in Maine there is a shortage of school psychologists, and the USM program seeks to keep up with the demand. Ensuring that Maine will have a steady supply of school psychologists will depend on adequate support of and investment in our program.

Without school psychologists, Maine's children are made more vulnerable, and they may not have the support they need to stay in school and graduate.

Rachel Brown is an associate professor of educational psychology and exceptionality at the University of Southern Maine School of Education in Gorham

 

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