Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Disabilities and Counseling Services

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Disabilities and Counseling Services

Article excerpt

The foundation for any discussion of counseling services is an understanding of the basic types of disabilities and counseling services that exist. There are thirteen categories of disabilities recognized by the Department of Education as being covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Act, the nation's special education law.

Parenting children through the highs and lows of growing up in the twenty-first century can be daunting under any circumstances. For parents of children with exceptionalities, that process can be even more complicated. Given the scope and wide variety of disabilities that exist, it can be overwhelming to navigate and determine which types of counseling therapies would be useful, what types of outcomes should be expected, and understanding how to make the best decision and best advocate for you and your child while receiving counseling services.

WHAT TYTES OF DISABILITIES & COUNSELING SERVICES EXIST ?

The foundation for any discussion of counseling services is an understanding of the basic types of disabilities and counseling services that exist.

There are thirteen categories of disabilities recognized by the Department of Education as being covered by the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), the nation's special education law. (20 U.S.C. [section] 1400 (2004)).

These categories include:

1. autism

2. deaf-blindness

3. deafness

4. emotional disturbance

5. hearing impairment

6. intellectual disability

7. multiple disabilities

8. orthopedic impairment

9. other health impairment

10. specific learning disability

11. speech or language impairment

12. traumatic brain injury

13. visual impairment (including blindness)

(34 C.F.R. [section] 300.8, https://sites.ed.gov/idea/regs/ b/a/300.8, containing regulations for implementing the IDEA).

Basic counseling services can be a benefit to children diagnosed with one or more of these disabilities. Types of counseling include individual counseling, group therapy, and family therapy. Mental health counseling can address both short-term, acute concerns that arise in a child's life, and it can provide long-term, ongoing support to children and families navigating life with a disability. Finding the counseling paradigm that will work for a particular child involves consideration of many different factors.

IS COUNSELING APPRORIATE?

This is a common question. The very short answer is, one will find it worth one's time and effort to schedule an appointment with a mental health professional whether that someone is in acute mental distress, or experiencing mental health issues that negatively impact his or her day-to-day functioning, or if he or she has been referred to therapy by another professional, such as a medical doctor, school personnel, or member of the clergy,

Well-qualified mental health professionals will be able to help potential new clients assess whether counseling would be beneficial. Many times, the therapist will use the first session to learn about the presenting issues, make an initial diagnosis from the DSMV, and determine if therapy is appropriate or if a referral is needed. There are some things that counseling therapy cannot fix, so an open and honest discussion between the client and therapist about the things the clients would like to work on ensures that everyone is on the same page about the scope of the treatment plan. It allows the therapist to honestly assess the viability of therapy in each individual case.

Another consideration in determining whether to seek counseling is whether your child is receiving services through the school. Just as there are IEPs (individual education plans) for so many areas in school, there is also the option for the school to recommend counseling services through a counseling IEP. In general, counseling IEP's are put in place to assist the student with being successful in the educational setting. …

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