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Question
Posted by: Wow | 2012/03/13

Private schools and psychologists

I am disturbed by the rate at which kids in private schoos get referred to psychologists, specifically where my children are. amost every parent I''ve spoken to has had the school suggest some sort of therapy. My recent experience is a recommendation to see a psychologist because my kids handwriting is untidy. The school also insists I must use a specific psychologist that works hand in hand with them. They say she writes good reports that the school can work with. Where is the confidentiality in all this. Can medical professionals just give such a report to the school. They say they''ve ALL the psychologist in the area and the one they are referring my to is the ONLY one that does a good job.

I smell a rat...there is no way so many kids in one school need psychological intervention that only one psychologist can do. This special psychologist is not even in the same surburb as the school, so it''s nt about convinience.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

I'm sure this is, indeed excessive. Except in rare cases where there might be neurological problems, sending a kid to a psychologist for untidy handwriting is ridiculous. The school has ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to "insist" that you take your child to see any shrink, let alone one they select, and for any shrink or doctor to work too closely with a school would be unprofessional and unethical.
Confidentiality is absolutely required, and no health professional may send ANY report to the school without the consent of the parents. Maybe they mean what WHEN a report is sent to the school, they find that shrink's reports easier to understand and work with.
I wonder whether the professional board for psychology within the HEalth professions COuncil would be interested in what sounds like far too close and cosy a relationship between one single shrink and a school that sounds far too eager to send p[rofitable business his way.
If my child had problems, I'd be anxious for them to see a different psychologist to get a fresh opinion, and the goal is to help the child and satisfy the parent, not to make the school happy.
As Purple raises, in my experience some schools have a ridiculous relationship with OT, and send kids to an OT who is not qualified to make paediatric diagnoses ( physical or psychological )
Its OK for a school to recommend a couple or more psychologists who they have found to be capable and to have helped children in their experience. But its cheeky and imporoper for them to either insist on a referral, or insist that only one psychologist in the region is capable. That smells of kickbacks or other unsavoury practices.
And by the way, my handwriting is still atrocious, and it has never caused me a second of problems in my long life.
Teachers should teach, not diagnose or make clinical referrals, nor act as commercial agents for anyone else.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Deborah Hubbard | 2012/03/16

In my distant youth, every school report (government school) contained a remark by one teacher that I was in urgent need of speech therapy. Nobody else thought any such thing. At last, my mother phoned the school and asked if they ever recommended ST  they said they didn''t. Smelling a rat, and suspecting that the teacher herself was moonlighting as a sibilance eradicator, my mother said that if that was so, there was no point in advising me to have it. The comments stopped.

Fast forward to me, teaching at a church-run private school. It had a school psychologist available for consultation, though many girls preferred the chaplain if what they really wanted was a chance to miss a class. Cynical, me? Surely not! But the school psychologist was a different matter, and I have seen girls (who undoubtedly had problems and needed help) actually crawling behind the shrubs in the school garden in order to reach her office without being seen doing so by their friends. Surely an atmosphere that toxic couldn''t be doing the girls any good?

Reply to Deborah Hubbard
Posted by: Purple | 2012/03/15

yes, there are some ver good governemnt schools. Likewise, if we were zoned for a decent one or could realistically move to an area with a decent one I would too.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Wow | 2012/03/14

I''m busy looking for a good public school in my area. people tell there are still a few around...

Reply to Wow
Posted by: Gracie | 2012/03/14

Strange, my son is also in a private school and is seeing a child psychiatrist. As for the handwriting, I cannot see how that can be reason enough to send a child to a psychologist! I sometimes think the teachers in private schools are too eager to pass a child on to a therapist because they are too busy raking in the $$$$ they get paid to worry too much about the kids in their classes! If the public schools in our area were not sub-standard, I would take my child out of the private school and put him in a public school and would save almost R20k a year!

Reply to Gracie
Posted by: Wow | 2012/03/13

Thanks for the input. I was also critisised for bad handwriting through out school. I really don''t believe this in an issue. My child is in Grade 2, I don''t think her hndwritingis supposed to be perfect at this stage.

Reply to Wow
Posted by: Purple | 2012/03/13

We have a similar problem at our school (also private).

At our school everyone is referred to OT and the woman is conveniently on site. When my son was referred for various non issues I just told the teacher that OT was a money making racket and he wouldn''t be going. Unsurprisingly, none of these issues has esven been noticed by his teachers further up the school as he has progressed.

Our school does have a private psychologist on site, she''s there two afternoons a week, the rest of hte time she works from her other practice. We are however free to use any psychologist we want to. I sought out a consultation with her for my son a few years ago and was very happy with it. It is your right to use whoever you wish for your child, the schools recommendation is irrelevant. That said, untidy handwriting is not a psychological issue - quite frankly its not an OT issue either.

My son was referred to OT for untidy writing. As my writing is extremely untidy I ph oned my mother. She said that all my siblings and I were permanently in trouble for our writing until grade 4 where they stop fussing over hand writing. I just point out to my son now if his a looks like a u that it looks like he has spelt the word wrong. He is never going to be a tidy writer. Some kids are and some kids aren''t. When he did try hard to be tidier, I was then told he was taking too long. You can''t win with some teachers.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: Maria | 2012/03/13

A psychologist for handwriting? The appropriate professional would be an occupational therapist. And if the teacher is worth anything she should be able to give you some exercises to do at home. I think you are right to be concerned. And a psychologist is not allowed to share information with the school without the parent''s consent. You could lay a complaint with the Health Professional Council of South Africa.

Reply to Maria
Posted by: cybershrink | 2012/03/13

I'm sure this is, indeed excessive. Except in rare cases where there might be neurological problems, sending a kid to a psychologist for untidy handwriting is ridiculous. The school has ABSOLUTELY NO RIGHT to "insist" that you take your child to see any shrink, let alone one they select, and for any shrink or doctor to work too closely with a school would be unprofessional and unethical.
Confidentiality is absolutely required, and no health professional may send ANY report to the school without the consent of the parents. Maybe they mean what WHEN a report is sent to the school, they find that shrink's reports easier to understand and work with.
I wonder whether the professional board for psychology within the HEalth professions COuncil would be interested in what sounds like far too close and cosy a relationship between one single shrink and a school that sounds far too eager to send p[rofitable business his way.
If my child had problems, I'd be anxious for them to see a different psychologist to get a fresh opinion, and the goal is to help the child and satisfy the parent, not to make the school happy.
As Purple raises, in my experience some schools have a ridiculous relationship with OT, and send kids to an OT who is not qualified to make paediatric diagnoses ( physical or psychological )
Its OK for a school to recommend a couple or more psychologists who they have found to be capable and to have helped children in their experience. But its cheeky and imporoper for them to either insist on a referral, or insist that only one psychologist in the region is capable. That smells of kickbacks or other unsavoury practices.
And by the way, my handwriting is still atrocious, and it has never caused me a second of problems in my long life.
Teachers should teach, not diagnose or make clinical referrals, nor act as commercial agents for anyone else.

Reply to cybershrink

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