News and Notes from The Johnson Center

Counseling for Special Education Professionals

JCCHD | Wed, July 11, 2018 | [Autism Treatment][Community][Healthcare][News]

Special educators and related school professionals play a special and important role in the lives of their students. All committed educators and paraprofessionals care deeply and invest an incredible amount of time and resources into the support and education of their students. Special educators often have to go an extra mile or two, coordinating the teaching team that may include the general education teacher, paraprofessionals, behavior specialists, speech and occupational therapists, and more. They may have increased communication with families and must meet an often-staggering level of additional requirements.

It is no wonder that there is a critical shortage of special education teachers and paraprofessionals. In a recent report, 47 states reported shortages of these professionals. Though this challenge isn’t new, it is especially important given that the number of students receiving special education services has been increasing.

Though there are many schools of thought and programs on how best to train, retain, and support special education professionals, many of these plans are missing one critical component: counseling support.  Special educators take on an immense emotional burden with each new school year; they must teach to a classroom or body of students with unique and differing needs and may carry these significant emotional challenges home with them at the end of every day. 

Special education professionals often report they feel isolated and a lack of shared ownership for the progress and success of their students. They also express concern about the ambiguity of their teaching roles and having less direct instructional time; they are often teaching with general education teachers, co-teachers, specialists and consultants; at the end of the day, who is responsible for making sure the programs are implemented correctly, data is collected, goals are being met, and the child is appropriately and meaningfully taken care of?

Special educators deserve the support and guidance to not only get appropriate training and tools, but to also get the emotional support they need to effectively do their jobs well. This is the reason The Johnson Center for Child Health & Development has created a Special Educator Counseling Program tailored specifically to the needs of Special Education Teachers, Paraprofessionals, and related specialists (Speech, Behavioral, and Occupational Therapists).

These education and therapy professionals often need a sounding board and safe space to discuss their professional and emotional needs and concerns and to learn how to create an effective strategy for handling the stress of their position.  Counseling can also include the development of interpersonal and communication strategies that can assist in parent/teacher relationships and relationships between the teacher or specialist and school leadership.

This counselor and teacher/specialist collaboration can be a meaningful and valuable relationship that can prevent burnout, improve job satisfaction, and build new skills to improve professional development and student success.

At The Johnson Center, we firmly believe in the value of counseling services for special education professionals and we are proud to offer services from clinicians who are experienced and dedicated to serving the needs of our community. It is our goal to ensure that appropriate support is available to anyone in need, regardless of financial circumstances. Assistance seeking insurance reimbursement, grants, and a sliding fee scale are available for anyone in need of support.

special ed counseling

For more information about The Johnson Center’s psychotherapy services for educators and special education professionals, contact us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or at 512.732.8400.