Children spend eight hours a day, five days a week in school. After their parents, teachers are the adults who have the most impact on their day-to-day lives.
Children spend eight hours a day, five days a week in school. After their parents, teachers are the adults who have the most impact on their day-to-day lives. Teachers are also able to provide a very different perspective about the children based on their interactions and observations. When children are having social or academic difficulty, I typically will ask to schedule a school visit and observe the child for several hours. Having worked in schools for many years, I recognize that the child I see in my office is often dramatically different than the child the parents or teachers are describing. It is hard to get a real feel for the child in the artificial setting of the office, working one on one. Many children do fine with adults but have difficulty interacting with peers. They may not recognize the subtle non-verbal cues that help kids “fit in” with their peers. Most children (and adults) are on their best behavior when they meet a new person. Because of this, I prefer to do a school observation before the child has met me. This gives me an opportunity to observe the child in an unobtrusive way. I have a chance to watch the child interact with classmates and I am able to see the nuances that are so important in social interactions. With parents’ permission, I will speak with the child’s teachers and will try to obtain as much information as possible. I also develop a feel for the “triggers” and potential solutions for problems that have been described to me. I believe that my ability to form working relationships with teachers is one of the reasons I am as effective as I am. I tend to keep in close contact with teachers and school counselors. Over the course of treatment, children are frequently encouraged to practice new skills. It is critical that their teachers are able to support the child and offer feedback that can be used to hone their efforts.