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Practice books are often simple 'how to' lists or straightforward 'recipes' and the practitioner still does not know why the activity is related to the outcome they seek. In essence, they lose how the specifics of the practice are related to the theory of change or the theory of how the problem developed in the first place. This leads to practitioners potentially removing crucial elements of best practice procedures when making modifications to tackle new or different problems in an unfamiliar context. By understanding the theoretical underpinnings, practitioners can better plan for adjustments because they know how the outcomes they seek are informed by the theory. Engagingly written and perfect for day-to-day use, this book translates state-of-the-art research and interdisciplinary theory into practical recommendations for those working with children and adolescents.
In this chapter, we begin with an overview of the achievement gap, highlighting differences by gender, ethnicity/race, and socioeconomic status. We then discuss the complexities of dealing with culture, ethnicity, and race in school psychology and review several studies that have used these constructs. A brief overview of the association between mental well-being and achievement outcomes is next, followed by a brief discussion of grit as a cautionary tale. We conclude with some general recommendations for the field.
Individuals with autism have up to seven times more contact with law enforcement over the course of their lifetime than their peers. To untrained justice personnel, behaviors common to autism can appear, at a minimum, suspicious and evasive, and, more seriously, as callously unlawful. For those individuals with autism with justice or juvenile justice contact, it is critical that the interventions used to prevent or treat illegal acts are designed for their specific learning needs. School systems, already charged with the delivery of autism specific services, are well positioned to implement a range of prevention and intervention supports to address illegal acts when they occur.
Labeling a student as socially maladjusted has been a source of controversy since 1975. The controversy persists because, to date, there is no accepted definition of the term “social maladjustment”, and no guidance provided by IDEA on what school teams should consider when using the exclusion for determining if a child is eligible for special education under the category of an emotional disturbance. When school teams determine a child is socially maladjusted, this classification is often used to exclude children demonstrating objectionable behaviors (i.e., delinquent, disruptive, and impulsive actions) from special education services and protections. Without tailored school interventions, students are disproportionately exposed to disciplinary actions, and other mental health services (e.g., MTSS) become secondary, if they are offered at all. Assessment strategies that identify the underlying causes of aggressive behaviors in children can inform school teams on how to provide therapeutic environments, approaches to discipline and accountability, and differential skill development.
School psychology fills a unique and important niche in education. Falling at the intersection of learning, academic achievement, and behavioral, emotional, and social well-being, school psychology plays a role in helping students, families, educators, and school systems meet the goals of a free and appropriate education for all youth, with or without a special education classification. In this chapter, we briefly review the purpose of education and discuss the groups that are not well served by education. We then provide an overview of the chapters that make up this text, including those on the important recent contributions to education and schooling from social psychology.