Continuing Education Course on Navigating the Educational and Psychological Assessment of the Special Need Preschooler Recently Updated at HealthForumOnline

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HealthForumOnline (HFO) has updated its online continuing education (CE) course, Navigating the Educational and Psychological Assessment of the Special Need Preschooler, in their library of over 105 online CE courses for mental health professionals. This online CE course provides information on the early detection of difficulties and special challenges that can help guide preschool children and families toward appropriate interventions and ultimately, toward better adjustment for both the child and the system.

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Special need students often require integrated and coordinated care between medical providers, mental health practitioners and educators for appropriate diagnosis and the application of efficacious psychological treatments.

HealthForumOnline (HFO), a nationally-approved (APA, ASWB, NBCC) provider of online continuing education (CE) for mental health professionals is pleased to announce a recent update to our CE course entitled, Navigating the Educational and Psychological Assessment of the Special Need Preschooler. Keeping this course content current is important because early detection of difficulties and special challenges can guide children and families toward appropriate interventions and ultimately, better adjustment for all.
The spectrum of neurodevelopmental, psychological and/or behavioral disorders affecting preschoolers is vast (1). In addition to Autism and Emotional Disturbance, disabling conditions include medical disorders that impact development, such as seizure disorders or genetic disorder, and/or disorders acquired through environmental factors, like Fetal Alcohol Syndrome or Traumatic Brain Injury (2).

At age 3, children with these identified disabling conditions can begin transitioning into public school programs. Federal and state laws define school-based eligibility criteria for services to these children. Specifically, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Education for All Handicapped Children Act provide regulations for every disabled child and specifies their entitlement to a “Free and Appropriate Education” and to have their needs served in the “Least Restrictive Environment”, which may include mainstreaming for a portion of their school day and/or full time inclusion in a regular classroom with use of a one-one aide to assist the child (3). In addition, parents are ensured the right to receive prior notice of meetings and written consent for assessment, appeal procedures regarding the results of assessments and for the determinations presented in the Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting under IDEA.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, total enrollment for special education in the U.S. has climbed from 11.6% in 1991-1992 to 13.1% in 2009-2010. When we shift our focus exclusively to preschoolers receiving services under IDEA (eligible children aged 3-5 years old), 389,751 children were documented as receiving services in this age group in 1991 compared to 730,558 in 2012; indicating the number of eligible preschoolers in the system have almost doubled in a decade.

Of the children receiving special education services nationally, many receive services outside the regular classroom, including psychological services, behavioral therapy, occupational and physical therapy, inclusion services and so forth. Special need students often require integrated and coordinated care between medical providers, mental health practitioners and educators for appropriate diagnosis and the application of efficacious psychological treatments (e.g., 4). Further, mental health providers can identify and treat stress reactions among parents with acute and/or chronic stress related to their child’s health problems.

Toward that end, empirical updates to this online CE course focus on the range of disabling conditions identified in 2 to 3 year olds. The latest research across a wide range of disabling conditions, assessment criteria, evaluation tools administered, diagnostic findings, eligibility criteria for services, individualized interventions and the reevaluation process are discussed. A multi-agency approach to services is reviewed including medical response, mental health services, and auxiliary services. In addition, attention is paid to the parent’s reaction and coping style from the initial diagnosis to placement.

Psychologists, social workers, counselors, and other allied health professionals can chose from HFO’s 20 categories of continuing education (CE) topics related to health psychology and behavioral medicine containing over 105 online CE courses that are fast, convenient and cost-effective. For a complete listing of titles in our online CE resource library, visit HealthForumOnline.com.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2016). Watch Me Thrive. National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities- Child Development.
Atlanta, Georgia.
2. American Psychiatric Association (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 5th Ed. DSM-5. Arlington, Virginia: American Psychiatric Association.
3. Education for All Handicapped Children Act (1975). Public Law 94-142, si 20 USC 1400 et seq. 34 C.R.F. Part 300, Title 20.
4. Jia, R., Lang, S., & Schoppe-Sullivan, S. (2016). A Developmental Examination of the Psychometric Properties and Predictive Utility of a Revised Psychological Self-Concept Measure for Preschool-Age Children. Psychological Assessment, 28(2), 226-238.

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Michelle Rodoletz, Ph.D.
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