What is a School Psychologist?

Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, R. Psych.
Wishing Star Founder

Several years ago, I was asked by a school district to assess a 12-year old boy who was struggling with reading and writing. This student was a lovely and sensitive child who worked hard and clearly wanted to do his best during his assessment.

I met with his teacher and parents after the assessment to review the results and what they meant. The data revealed that he was incredibly bright and learned in a manner unique to that of his peers. As a result, conventional approaches to reading and writing instruction hadn’t been meaningful to him, and his skills were really far behind those of his peers. In fact, he could barely read and write.

After the meeting with his teacher and parents, I asked if I could please have a chance to meet with this boy and explain to him about his amazing brain. As I shared with him how bright he was and how he needed to be presented information in a totally different way in order to learn, I noticed that his eyes filled with tears, which were soon streaming down his cheeks. I stopped and asked him if he would feel comfortable enough to tell me where his tears were coming from – not knowing him well, I was not sure if I had overwhelmed him or what was behind his tears. His answer is something I will never forget.

He took a couple of deep breaths to find his voice that was full of emotion, and said that his tears were tears of relief. He said he felt like he had been understood as a learner for the very first time ever, and that he had always thought he was a “just stupid.” He said that to be told he was smart and simply needed to learn differently was something he could never have imagined someone saying to him.

So, if you want to know what a school psychologist is, there’s your answer. We are people who care deeply about the developmental process for children, and move in both definable and intangible ways to try our very best to do right by children, parents, and families.

As for that beautiful boy, not only is he smart, but he lives on in my mind and informs my every moment as a school psychologist – with every child, teacher, and parent I have the privilege of working alongside. Imagine if he knew the reach of his brilliant self!!

Happy School Psychology Awareness Week!

Keep Calm and Call a School Psychologist

Keep Calm and Call a School Psychologist

This blog posting is not a form of psychological counselling, advice, therapy, or assessment and should not be used as such by any individual. This blog posting is provided only as an article intended to encourage thought and discourse. For specific psychology related services, please contact an appropriate healthcare provider.