Being a parent isn’t easy. Parenting a child with learning and/or attention problems is even more challenging because you may be involved with a variety of professionals during your child’s education. Here’s a brief list of some of them and an explanation of the services they provide.

Attorney: provides legal assistance to parents about issues pertaining to federal and state special education laws and regulations.

Advocate: represents parents in legal issues related to special education but may not have legal training.

Audiologist: assesses for degree of hearing loss and advises on devices for hearing amplification.

Child psychiatrist: specializes in the assessment and treatment of behavior and emotional aspects of infants, children, and adolescents; medical doctor who can prescribe medication.

Clinical psychologist: provides non-medical diagnosis and therapeutic treatment of emotional and behavioral problems for individuals or groups.

Developmental behavioral pediatrician: focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of developmental disorders in children; medical doctor who can prescribe medication.

Educational psychologist: administers psychological and educational assessments, prepares written report that interprets test results and behavior, and consults regarding education and behavior.

Educational therapist: assesses educational needs; develops and carries out programs for school-related behavior and learning problems, especially LD. Usually a private practitioner.

Neurologist: specializes in diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the brain and nervous system; medical doctor who can prescribe medication.

Neuropsychologist: assesses brain functioning and its relationship to learning and behavior through psychological tests.

Occupational therapist: assesses for and provides training to improve muscular strength, motor, or sensory coordination and functioning.

Pediatrician: specializes in the primary care of infants, children, and adolescents; medical doctor who can prescribe medication.

Ophthalmologist: A medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of eye defects and disease. Can prescribe corrective lenses and perform eye surgery.

Optometrist: A licensed doctor who is trained to examine the eyes for visual defects and impairments, and to prescribe corrective lenses and provide other types of treatment.

Resource teacher/resource specialist: Job title used in some states or school districts for a special education teacher who is trained to provide educational assessments, instructional planning, ongoing evaluation of students, and to consult with general educational teachers regarding the needs of special education students.

School psychologist: A psychologist who is specially trained to address students’ needs in the public school setting, including psychoeducational evaluations, planning and evaluating services, and acting as liaison between students, parents, teachers, and administrators.

Social worker: provides counseling for individuals and families.

Special education teacher: A teacher trained to provide specially designed instruction to students with disabilities, and to adapt and develop materials to match the special needs of each student.

Speech and language therapist: provides assessment and training to improve communication skills.

Tutor: provides instructional support in academic areas; no specific training requirements; may or may not be a credentialed teacher.

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