Special Education Supports & Services
SPECIAL EDUCATION COUNSELING BEST PRACTICES
Special Education Counselors work as part of a multi-disciplinary team to meet the individual needs of the students we serve. We comply with laws and policies and with professional standards. We collaborate, cooperate and communicate with other professionals, organizations and parents with integrity and respect. We value those we serve by maintaining confidentiality and by protecting the rights of all individuals. We maintain a high standard of competence by continuing professional growth through ongoing education and professional development. We hold paramount the welfare and needs of our students by following strict ethical standards.
Guidelines for Counseling Services
Special education counseling is legally defined as a related service that is required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education and is provided by an appropriately certified or licensed professional. Counseling is available for special education students that are unsuccessful due to an emotional component impacting school performance. Students eligible for services must display severe emotional deficits. School performance deficits may include but are not limited to:
A pattern of failing grades in core classes, truancy or excessive absences, or poor behavioral functioning due to an emotional component.
Severe deficits in emotional functioning resulting in a lack of progress.
All special education students are general education students first and may access general education counseling programs and services as appropriate. However, if student needs rise to the level of requiring weekly, intensive, and/or ongoing interventions due to an emotional component, special education counseling may be considered. If students have acute issues, these needs may be adequately addressed by occasionally meeting with the general education counselor or by joining an established general education counseling group. Consultation with the General Education counselor should be considered due to the counselor’s working knowledge of the student. Many behavioral and emotional stressors can be alleviated with classroom accommodations and behavioral interventions provided by the classroom teacher. Students with significant social skills deficits should be considered for social skills instruction by the special education teacher of the student; this requires an IEP goal reflecting the need for specially designed instruction in this area.
Special Education Counselors may consult with other school personnel to address student needs. A licensed counselor or LSSP who suspects that a child has been sexually, physically, or emotionally abused, is contemplating suicide, or is suffering a chemical or drug addition or dependency may counsel the child in a crisis situation without consent of the parent or guardian, but parents and administration must be contacted the same day. Special Education Counselors must obtain consent from parents prior to counseling any non-special education counseling student unless crisis criteria above is met. Should a student previously dismissed from special education counseling need more than 3 crisis sessions during the school year, a referral to special education counseling services may be appropriate. Special education counseling services may or may not be appropriate if the student is receiving counseling services from a (private) mental health professional. A release of information is ethically required to coordinate services.
Dismissal will be considered when a student no longer exhibits an educational need or the ARD committee determines that the student no longer needs Counseling Services or needs other supports and services (e.g., the student might no longer be benefitting from counseling services). The counselor may provide resources within the school if needed upon dismissal. Reasons for dismissal may include but are not limited to:
- Academic performance is not severely impaired by emotional functioning
- Needs may be met through other school resources
- Lack of participation in the counseling process (must be replaced with alternate interventions)
- Little or no progress is made after repeated interventions
- Skills have reached a plateau and little or no change is expected
- Counseling goals have been mastered