In preparation for the university adventures my graduating students were heading off to in September, for many years I would invite last year’s graduating class back to talk about their first year experience. Passing on their words of wisdom to the current graduating class became an annual tradition. With orientation week over for the 2015 incoming university freshmen, I felt it would be a good time to review some of the pearls of wisdom my graduates have passed on to students heading off to university for the first time.
While this one really is a no-brainer, my graduates stressed the importance of getting to those lectures. This is where professors give all kinds of clues to how to succeed in their courses. I always suggested going one step further. I recommend that students visit each professor during office hours with a question regarding the material in the course. Since so few students actually do this, it is remarkable how well a professor will remember you. In your favorite courses, this may provide the opportunity to develop a relationship which will lead to the possibility of using this professor as a reference for graduate studies or employment down the road. I always told my class that if they have to come back to me, their high school counsellor, for an academic reference following their undergraduate degree, they really haven’t done their job. Continue reading *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA
Many of the young clients that come into my office seem to be struggling with making the transition from post-secondary school into the real world. They are the young adults who have just successfully graduated from their College or University programs but struggle to make the next step. The reason behind their hesitation is not what you may think it is initially. Many of them struggle to even get past putting in applications for job postings. The job search terrifies them not because there is a lack of jobs necessarily but because they do not feel good enough or they completely feel lost on what career is for them. Struggling with self-identity or self-esteem issues is what holds them back. I’ve even seen clients who have entered into programs that their parents have picked out for them. These young adults feel trapped in a world that doesn’t hold true to themselves. Regardless, the question remains the same: why are these young adults suffering a transitional crisis so early on? We mostly hear jokes and passings about mid-life crises. We hear frequently about empty nest transition crises. However, we rarely hear about young people suffering a crisis in their 20’s. This is often referred to as a quarter life crisis. Continue reading *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA
As the summer winds down I am beginning to think of all I must do to prepare myself for a new school year and a new job. We all go through those transitions where we must get to know our new clientele, our communities and our colleagues. These tasks are a new and exciting challenge for me and ones I look forward to. However that excitement comes with some anxiety. We all know what the fear of the unknown can do to one’s mental health. Lack of sleep, restlessness, stomach issues along with a whole host of other symptoms often prevent people from making transitions in their lives. Perhaps they feel that dealing with the status quo is easier than dealing with change. Continue reading *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA
As part of my PhD school psychology program I was placed at a practicum site which conducts neuropsychological testing. During this experience I was given a student’s file to look over for the purpose of making recommendations to assist with classroom and academic difficulties. The file contained the student’s background family information, academic testing results, and neuropsychological test results. What was interesting about this experience was that I was given the file to examine in pieces. First I was given the academic testing results, which combined with various types of background information are the results most school psychologist have to work with when making recommendations. I was then given the neuropsychological testing results, followed by the student’s family and developmental history.
Based on the results of the academic testing alone it was clear that the student had a math learning disability. His overall IQ result was in the above average range and his math scores were 2 standard deviations below. At this point, my recommendations centered on additional math supports to address the specific areas of mathematical difficulty. When I was given the results of the neuropsychological tests a very different picture began to emerge that revealed a young man with many areas of the brain that were not functioning well. These results are not typically evident on the standard academic tests used by school psychologists. The final piece of the puzzle was an overview of the student’s developmental and family history. When the file information was put together in its entirety a very different diagnosis emerged. In the end, the student was given a diagnosis of a non- verbal learning disability.
What was important about this experience was the realization that as school psychologists we often rely on academic testing and background information to make our recommendations when we may not be getting the complete picture. This may result in the implementation of recommendations that are not in the best interest of the student. In the above noted case, the student had not yet begun to experience many of the secondary disabilities or adaptive functioning deficits that are likely to accompany this type of diagnosis, so the referral was to address the obvious math difficulty. Although school psychologists typically do not receive training in neuropsychological testing, it is clear that having a base knowledge in neuropsychological testing and assessment can help us to look beyond academic testing results to better understand the needs of our students. *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA
This is an article reposted from our Newsletter “Cognica” – Fall 2010 Edition
I want to share with you one brilliant, yet perplexing interaction I recently had with a student. While working on trying to foster a relationship with one of my particularly unmotivated and disengaged students, we had shared many conversations together, and had come to the point where we could openly and honestly look at his behaviour and comment on the apathetic nature of much of it. I had tried in many ways to engage and motivate this student, both from an academic standpoint, and an emotional one. Towards the end of one of our conversations, he very eloquently stated the following paraphrased idea:
” I know that you are trying to help me Mr. D., but have you ever thought that maybe you are the one that needs the help. I look around and I see a lot of people stressed and upset. They’re always working or fighting or tired, and I don’t really want to be like that… at all. Even you seem pretty burnt out sometimes. The way I do things, there is no stress. I don’t worry and I enjoy myself a lot more than a lot of the people around me, especially my family. Maybe you guys got it all wrong. Maybe you need to be more like me. ”
Continue reading *The views expressed by our authors are personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect the views of the CCPA