Oklahoma School Psychological Association
The Oklahoma School Psychological Association position is that identification of and service delivery to children identified as having a Specific Learning Disability (SLD) should be based on the outcomes of multi-tiered, high quality, research-based instruction. Such instruction best occurs in the least restrictive environment and is accompanied by regular data collection. School psychologists have long had a prominent role as members of school teams that identify students exhibiting SLD. Accordingly, OSPA is dedicated to promoting policies and practices that are consistent with scientific research and that yield optimal student outcomes.
On a school-wide basis, school psychologists consult with teachers concerning evidence-based instruction, interventions, periodic screening of pre-academic and academic skills as well as social–emotional competencies, and serve as problem solving team leaders.
When students struggle with the general education curriculum, school psychologists collaborate with general and special education teachers and support services personnel to design and implement effective, evidence-based strategies, and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions with regular progress monitoring.
Dyslexia in the Schools
As School Psychologists, we have the responsibility to advocate for high-quality education for all students. This responsibility includes properly identifying and providing appropriate services to those students with unique educational needs, which is not always an easy task. In the case of children with specific learning disabilities, we not only have the ability to identify the disability, but also design effective research-based interventions proven to reduce some of the challenges facing these children. There has been recent debate and confusion as to the role schools play in identifying and remediating specific learning disabilities, including dyslexia, and OSPA wishes to provide information to summarize the current literature on dyslexia and clarify misunderstandings
School Based Mental Health Services
The Oklahoma School Psychological Association advocates for the provision of coordinated, comprehensive, culturally competent, and effective mental health services in the school setting which include prevention and early intervention services as well as therapeutic interventions. These services should emphasize competence enhancement, prevention of mental illness, education, early intervention, and coordination of intensive interventions to adequately address student mental health needs
OSPA recognizes that it is cost-effective and efficacious to deliver mental health services in the schools to children, adolescents, families, and communities. Consequently, OSPA supports increased federal, state, local, and private funding for mental health services in the schools. OSPA also supports school reform that eliminates barriers to students’ learning and includes school psychological services as an integral component of effective schools.
Appropriate Academic Supports
The Oklahoma School Psychological Association is committed to ensuring that all children receive an appropriate public education, irrespective of race, culture and background, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or educational need. OSPA maintains that all students learn best in inclusive environments in which high quality, science-based instruction is implemented.
Assessment and intervention activities must always link directly to the needs of students. Furthermore OSPA believes that all children learn best in inclusive environments that provide high quality instruction to all students, and that access to appropriate academic support services should not require that students be assigned to categorical special education groups. School psychologists play important roles in implementing this model, including leading school teams and facilitating the design and delivery of multi-tiered, problem solving systems of academic support to all students.
The Oklahoma School Psychological Association promotes effective mental health and educational services of all youth. To effectively accomplish this task, OSPA is firmly committed to increasing the number of culturally and linguistically diverse school psychology students, practitioners, and trainers in school psychology programs. OSPA believes that efforts to recruit culturally and linguistically diverse school psychologists can take many forms. Essential actions include, but are not limited to, the use of established recruitment procedures known to be successful with culturally and linguistically diverse individuals, membership assistance in recruitment efforts, the development of graduate programs in geographic regions with large numbers of culturally and linguistically diverse residents, and the use of research to develop more effective recruitment strategies.
OSPA is firmly committed to the recruitment of greater numbers of culturally and linguistically diverse individuals into the profession of school psychology. Culturally and linguistically diverse school psychologists are needed to serve the mental health and educational interests of all youth and to train the practitioners of tomorrow. OSPA believes that most effective strategies for recruiting diverse faculty and students are those that remove barriers from the path of prospective students and involve both association members and school psychology graduate institutions.
Response to Intervention
The Oklahoma School Psychological Association (OSPA) supports the changes in 2005 revision of IDEA. Specifically, OSPA supports the inclusion of proposed modifications within IDEA (2005) regarding identification of students suspected of having learning disabilities. In this revision, IDEA allows for alternative assessment procedures to identify specific learning disabilities in children, and OSPA supports the use of Response-to-Intervention (RTI) as a major component of this model.
With the introduction of RTI and the increased focus on early intervention in IDEA legislation, many school psychologists will likely need to apply problem-solving consultation skills, alternative assessment procedures, and skills in measuring student response to intervention accurately and adequately. Armed with a sound knowledge base, school psychologists have the skills necessary to collaborate with parents, teachers and school staff to adapt a particular intervention to meet the needs of a particular student body. Additionally, school psychologists can measure student outcomes reliably and validly in order to answer the question, “did the selected intervention produce the desired effects for a particular student body (or a particular student)?” Finally, by virtue of their training and experiences in assessment, consultation, and intervention, school psychologists will take a leadership role in developing and implementing RTI policies and procedures at the local level.