"School Psychologists should help schools develop challenging but achievable behavioral, affective, and adaptive behavioral goals for all students." - NASP, 1997.

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School Psychologists play a fundamental role in social justice and inclusion. According to NASP (1997), "They should provide leadership in creating instructional environments that reduce alienation and foster the expression of appropriate behavior as well as environments in which all members of the school community - both children and adults - treat one another with respect and dignity."

Level of Competence in Socialization and Development of Life Competencies = novice

Evidence
Coursework from my Master's of Education program has really informed my level of competence in this domain. Descriptions of relevant coursework and their relation to my competency are listed below. I have also included an assignment that really shows my growth in this area. Also, an annotated bibliography of a textbook that I think every School Psychologist should have is included. Also in this section, I include the citation for a useful, relevant article that highlights best practices for socialization and development of life competencies through inclusion. As a testament to my ability to foster appropriate socialization and development of life competencies in individuals with special needs in a community setting, I have included a performance review from my work with special needs clients at the Boy and Girls' Club. And lastly, a reflection statement will connect all of these pieces together as they relate to my competence in this domain of School Psychology.

Course Descriptions

 APSY 674 - Interventions to Promote Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Well-being
This course promotes socio-emotional and behavioral well-being of children and youth who have emotional disturbances and behavioral problems in school and community settings. Weekly group discussions will focus on salient issues and practices relative to children and adolescents who have
emotional and behavioral problems.

APSY 693.48 - Family and Social Bases of Behavior
This course examines theoretical perspectives and contemporary research on socialization processes in childhood and adolescence, with particular emphasis on family and peer interpersonal relations. This course examines connections between family and the education system including parent involvement in schools. Additional topics include peer group processes, prosocial behavior, and social responsibility. The role of gender, culture and diversity in development are pervasive themes throughout the course. The emphasis throughout this course is on building resilience in children and families to overcome adversity.

APSY 683 - Disorders of Learning and Behavior
The intention of this course is to provide an opportunity for students to enhance their insight and understanding of childhood and adolescent disorders. This course will allow students to explore information with respect to the nature and scope of learning and behavior disorders as well as facilitate their academic and applied interests relative to the specific topics, issues and trends within this field of study.

APSY 660 - Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Assessment
This course focuses on the comprehensive assessment of children and youth referred for social, emotional, and behavioral concerns.  Attention will be directed toward assessment practices that are sensitive to the nuances of a child’s behavior with attention paid to contextual and cultural factors, strengths and weaknesses, risks and protective factors.  The importance of multimodal, multisource, and multidisciplinary assessment will be stressed.

APSY 676 - Practicum in Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Assessment and Intervention
This course provides a supervised practicum in social, emotional, and behavioral assessment and intervention.  Students will undertake comprehensive social, emotional, and behavioral assessment and interventions with children and youth presenting with various developmental disorders.

Assignment

The following assignment is an example of an intervention plan that was developed by me and two other students in the Master's of Education program. The assignment is a comprehensive intervention plan based on a case study that was presented in class of a little boy with Asperger's Syndrome. The plan details a variety of interventions targeted around appropriate socialization and development of life competencies for this little boy at home, in the classroom, and in the community. Assessment of treatment integrity and long term planning are also discussed.

Influential Readings

M. J. Mayer, R. Van Acker, J. E. Lochman, & F. M. Gresham (Eds.), Cognitive-behavioral interventions for emotional and behavioral disorders. New York, NY: Guilford.

This book is an excellent resource of empirically supported cognitive behavioral interventions that are used in the treatment of various social, emotional, and behavioral disorders. The book also provides sound foundational knowledge of cognitive behavioral techniques and relevant theory. Also provided are suggestions for assessing treatment integrity. This is an easy to use reference guide for both teachers and School Psychologists working with children and youth in need of support for appropriate socialization and development of life competencies.

Sapon-Shevin, M. (2003). Inclusion: A matter of social justice. Educational Leadership, October, 25-28

This article is a must read for all professionals working with children either in a school or community setting. It poignantly discusses the importance of inclusion for all and highlights the specific barriers to inclusion for children and youth with problems in appropriate socialization and life competencies. This article not only looks at broader issues of inclusion, such as the fact that "schools both mirror the broader society and create it", but also provides suggestions for how to create inclusive environments. It not only challenged my ways of thinking, but it highlighted the importance for me as a School Psychologist to assist teachers and families in understanding all types of behaviors and encouraging pro-social behavior.

Performance Review

The following performance review highlights my skills in the area of socialization and development of life skills as they relate to working with special needs youth in a community setting. Specifically, my previous employer states that "[Colleen] conducts a clear assessment of clients' problems and needs, engages with and is supportive of clients, sets clear and workable goals for resolving client problems, proposes and employs an effective range of interventions, [and] terminates and evaluates their activities responsibly". My supervisor goes on to highlight my skills in communication, teamwork, skills with children, youth, and families, and taking initiative, all of which are vital as a School Psychologist. While these skills transfer to many domains, they seem particularly fitting here.

Reflection Statement

Overall in this domain I feel that I have developed the necessary skills and acquired the necessary knowledge to enter my internship as a School Psychologist at a novice level of competency. Individually, when working with clients, I am able to provide appropriate, empirically based recommendations for interventions around socialization and development of life competencies. This is clear from my performance review as well as the comprehensive intervention plan that I developed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for APSY 674.

In terms of providing school wide positive behavioral support, I hope to gain further knowledge and competency in this area during my internship. While I have learned about various school wide behavioral support programs in courses such as APSY 674, I have never been involved in the implementation of these program at the school or district levels. I look forward to continuing to grow my level of competency in this domain.