Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), counseling services are available to support students both academically and personally. Students whose districts have identified a need, generally through an Individual Education Plan (IEP), can receive counseling. The student and counselor meet on an on-going basis, as directed by the IEP, to form a therapeutic relationship. Counseling can be provided individually or within a small group setting.
Through the therapeutic relationship, the counselor helps the student modify attitudes and behaviors that may interfere with school success while helping the student to achieve his/her potential in the follow areas: social, emotional, behavioral, academic. Mental Health staff, in conjunction with classroom teachers, may also conduct social-emotional lessons within the classroom setting separate from IEP status. In addition, any student within an academic program setting, regardless of whether they receive direct counseling, may receive support from a mental health provider if crisis situations arise.
The counselor and the parent/guardian meet regularly to form a working relationship in order to support the student in his/her academic setting. Goals of the service may include:
- promotion of positive home/school communication,
- increased understanding of student functioning,
- enhancement of parenting skills,
- management of student behavior, and
- acquisition of needed resources to help meet student/family needs.
Parent Counseling services must be indicated on a student’s IEP. Parent educational/support groups may also be formed on an as-needed basis for interested parents/guardians.
Family Support Services
At times, the needs of a student and a family exceed what can be done through the traditional school counseling mode. Family Support Services is a short-term, more intensive service that is available to work with the entire family unit in a setting that is most comfortable to the family. Referrals for this service must come from a family’s home school district.