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Collaboration With Student's Physician And/Or Mental Health Provider

Why should I do it?

  • Provides valuable outside perspective, ideas, strategies, understanding, interventions, etc
  • Provides additional support for school staff
  • Injects knowledge and information from an additional professional discipline
  • Increases the scope and reach of the behavior team
  • Provides more of a wrap around approach, involving all domains of the student’s life and supports
  • Provides increased consistency between home and school
  • Prevents student’s from telling different stories to different people as a way to avoid issues
  • Helps the school deal with issues that may be beyond the scope and capacity of the school to appropriately address, like suicidal threats

When should I do it?

  • When a student has significant mental and health issues that affect their school functioning
  • When a student has issues that are beyond the scope and capacity of the school, like suicidal threats and comments, severe anxiety, etc
  • When a student’s therapist requests to communicate with the school or provides suggestions for how the school could intervene
  • When a student takes medication for a mental health issue
  • When school interventions seem ineffective and consequences and rewards do not seem to impact the student’s behavior
  • When the student’s behavior requires more extensive intervention than the school can provide
  • When students seem to be telling different stories to different people as a way of avoiding issues or pitting home and school against one another
  • When a student seems to respond best to their therapist or outside counselor
  • When a family has a family therapist or case worker involved
  • When a student’s medication seems to be affecting their ability to function in school
  • When a student has severe ADHD
  • When a student has a serious mental health issue, like Bipolar Disorder, Major Depression, etc

How do I do it:

  • Speak with the parent about the need for communicating with the student’s therapist or physician
  • Have the parent sign a consent form for the school to contact and interact with the therapist and/or physician (sometimes two consent forms may be required, one for the school to release information and another for the school to request information)
  • Keep a log and notes of all communications with the therapist or physician
  • Invite the therapist or physician to behavior meetings
  • Request strategies, interventions, suggestions, tips, etc from the therapist or physician, getting the information sent in written form when possible
  • Explain to the therapist or physician specifically how the behavior or issues affects the student in school and prevents them from being successful
  • Relay to the therapist or physician exactly what behaviors or issues are observed in school and what interventions are utilized
  • Relay to the therapist or physician any observations about medications, apparent side effects, etc
  • Explain what the school’s goals are for the student and what barriers need to be overcome to achieve them
  • If a teacher or other staff member is uncomfortable with speaking to the student’s therapist, have the School Counselor, School Social Worker, or School Psychologist speak with the outside therapist