Applied Behavior Analysts engage in the specific and comprehensive use of principles of learning to address the behavioral needs of school-age children. They provide Functional Behavioral Assessments (FBA's) and design, implement and evaluate systematic environmental modifications for the purpose of producing socially significant behavior change.
Audiologists specialize in identifying, diagnosing, treating and monitoring disorders of the auditory and vestibular system. They evaluate school-age children for hearing loss and the ability to process speech sounds in the presence of background noise and help to design and implement school hearing programs.
Educational Specialists are professionals who specialize in educating children in a wide variety of educational settings. They may provide advice and support to a child's educational team or evaluate a child’s readiness for a certain type of educational approach. The educational specialist may be a master teacher or other related professional who has extensive experience in the education of school-age children.
Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) is performed by a behavior analyst so that a positive behavior modification plan can be implemented as part of a student's Individualized Educational Program (IEP). A functional behavioral assessment looks beyond the behavior itself and focuses on identifying the significant, pupil-specific, social, affective, cognitive and environmental factors associated with the occurrence (and non-occurrence) of specific behaviors. This broad perspective offers a better understanding of the function (or purpose) behind a student's behavior and is extremely useful for addressing a wide range of problem behaviors. Functional behavioral assessment is a problem-solving process that relies on a variety of techniques and strategies to identify the purpose of a specific behavior and to help IEP teams select interventions to directly address problem behaviors. It should be integrated, therefore, throughout the process of developing, reviewing and revising a student's IEP.
Neurologists are physicians who work to diagnose and treat neurological problems in children. Pediatric neurologists treat neurological disorders that are common to children including epilepsy, neuromuscular diseases, such as cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injuries, headaches, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other unique neural problems.
Neurodevelopmental Pediatricians are board-accredited pediatricians who have also received sub-specialty training in diagnosing and treating autism spectrum disorders and are certified in developmental-behavioral pediatrics.
Occupational Therapists (OT's) complete assessments to determine the services, supports, modifications and accommodations that are required for a student to be prepared for and perform important learning and school related activities. They are particularly skilled in facilitating access to curricular and extra-curricular activities for students and play a critical role in training others to educate students with diverse learning needs. They reduce barriers that limit student participation within the school environment, utilize assistive technologies to support student success, support the needs of students with significant challenges and recommend equipment for schools and ways to modify existing buildings and curriculum to allow access for all.
Physical Therapists (PTs) evaluate school-age children who require help to restore function, improve mobility, relieve pain and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities. They test and measure strength, range of motion, balance, coordination, posture, muscle performance, respiration and motor functioning and develop/implement individual educational programs by describing treatment strategies and anticipated outcomes. They also teach children to use assistive and adaptive devices and consult and practice with a variety of other special education professionals.
Psychiatrists are physicians who specialize in the diagnosis and the treatment of disorders of thinking, feeling and/or behavior affecting children, adolescents and their families. Initially, a comprehensive diagnostic examination is performed to evaluate the current problem with attention to its physical, genetic, developmental, emotional, cognitive, educational, family, peer and social components. The child/adolescent psychiatrist then arrives at a diagnosis and diagnostic formulation which are shared with the patient and the family. The child/adolescent psychiatrist then designs a treatment plan which considers all components and discusses these recommendations with the child/adolescent and family.
School Psychologists are highly trained in both psychology and education and specialize in performing psycho-educational (and sometimes neuropsychological evaluations) for school-age children. School psychologists are trained in data-based decision making, consultation, collaboration, effective instruction, child development, student diversity, school organization, prevention, intervention, mental health, learning styles, behavior, research and program evaluation and must be certified and/or licensed by the state in which they provide Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE's). They may also be nationally certified by the National School Psychology Certification Board (NSPCB) and practice in states which accept the NCSP certification.
Speech-Language Pathologists are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of speech, voice and language disorders and provide assessments for school-age children with disorders that affect speech, language, cognition, voice, swallowing and communication. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and Speech-Language Therapists (SLTs) work with children to improve speech (articulation, intonation, rate, intensity, voice, resonance and fluency), language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics and pragmatics), receptive and expressive language and non-verbal communications (facial expression and gestures). Common treatments range from physical strengthening exercises, instructive practice, use of audio-visual aids, strategies to facilitate functional communication, sign language and use of picture symbols or augmentative communication.
Vision Specialists in the United States are either optometrists or ophthalmologists. An optometrist is a Doctor of Optometry (OD) who diagnoses and treats visual health problems and sometimes specializes in vision therapy. An ophthalmologist is a Doctor of Medicine (MD) who specializes in surgery and diseases of the eye. A small number of ophthalmologists work with or refer to vision therapists who offer a broad group of techniques aimed at correcting and improving binocular, oculomotor, visual processing and perceptual disorders which may adversely impact the educational progress of a school-age child.